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However, what makes the Ross case most striking is that close examination of the evidence reveals that he was an innocent man. Up until his last breath Ross was steadfast in proclaiming his innocence. Morgan spent twelve years of his life researching and writing Gun Alley because he was confident there were two principal victims of this crime, Alma Tirtschke and Colin Ross.

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When reading the book it becomes evident that Morgan left no stone unturned: he scrutinised documents that had been sealed since the murder; he interviewed descendants of the Ross and Tirtschke families; he uncovered letters that had been sent to Ross on the day of his execution; and he even located the actual forensic evidence that was used to convict Ross.

After Morgan had examined the evidence used to secure a guilty verdict against Ross, he became convinced that the wrong man was sent to the gallows.

Gun Alley Murder

Morgan then decided that the next step was to re-examine the hair samples that implicated Ross in the murder. Modern-day experts found that the hair samples did not match those of the victim.

Therefore, the first case in Australian criminal history to use scientific evidence to secure a conviction got it wrong. Investigators needed to produce results in order to save face. Morgan argues that this resulted in a miscarriage of justice because Ross was tried in an atmosphere of public frenzy.

They were nervy, thankless days. That accounts for why the evidence relied on by the prosecution merely consisted of inconsistent and absurd witness testimonies. Ross had evidence suggesting his innocence, such as a watertight alibi, but this evidence was ignored. Morgan outlines a scenario with supporting evidence of the person he believes raped and murdered Alma. Throughout Gun Alley Morgan confronts Australia with an innocent man who was executed.

Ross believed that one day his name would be cleared. Morgan wrote the book from the eyes of the victim, Ross, the families and the detectives involved. This book was written as a recreation of the murder and the investigation leading to the arrest and execution of Colin Ross.


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It should not come as a surprise that they were under pressure to close the case. The book explains in detail how the investigation and the ensuing trial continued. For me, the book gained speed and peaked my interest when the case went to the Court of Criminal Appeals. To be considered, the appeal had to be based on.

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We read about the inadequate summing up of the judge and the inconsistency of the prosecution. If the killing was accidental the judge should have instructed the jury to render a verdict of manslaughter. If the killing occurred while committing a felony such as the rape of a child the instructions should have been for murder.


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As if being railroaded was not enough, the authorities also managed to botch the hanging. Here you can find how execution by hanging should take place. Army manual.


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  5. It fractured his second cervical vertebra. His diaphragm contracted, he tore his windpipe, and struggled between min before death finally granted him mercy. The authorities had experimented with a four-stranded rope instead of just three strands. The four-stranded rope had never been used in executions. She also explains how her words were categorically ignored and dismissed by family members. I believe Morgan is right. The way Alma behaved on that fateful day clearly indicated she knew who was following her. She tried to take detours but an adult predator outsmarted her.

    It is to date the only posthumous pardon for a judicial execution in Australia.

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    Gun Alley: Murder, Lies and Failure of Justice

    At times there are too many details in a chapter making it difficult to follow. There is no clear last timeline in the book so the reader sees the crime unfold as it most likely happened. The timeline in the book is only described. However, to fully absorb what the author discovered it should have been outlined in simple columns.

    Gun Alley Murder

    The book starts slow and takes its time to pick up speed. But when it does you are fully invested in this most tragic case. Highly recommended reading for all interested in cold cases, miscarriages of justices, and true crime aficionados.