Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Hanged For The Word If (Chris Phillips, 2020)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Hanged For The Word If (Chris Phillips, 2020)






    https://www.hanged-for-the-word-if.o...he%20execution
    To Join JTR Forums :
    Contact [email protected]

  • #2
    Thanks to Howard for starting this thread and to Joe Chetcuti for originally getting the ball rolling (albeit a bit sooner than I had planned!).

    For nearly a decade Tracy (and Neil) I'Anson and I have been in a contest to see who could take longer to complete their book. I am happy to say I have won, though only by about three weeks. But to be serious, Tracy first brought this case to my attention and I should like to thank both her and Pat Marshall for a lot of help with the research over the years.

    The subject of the book is the murder of Lily Volpert in Cardiff in 1952 and the subsequent conviction and execution of Mahmood Hussein Mattan, a former Somali merchant seaman who had settled in Cardiff and married and started a family there. In 1998, his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal. This miscarriage of justice had one particularly shocking feature. Mattan was convicted primarily on the evidence of a single witness, who said he had seen him apparently leaving the scene of the crime at around the time of the murder. But just before the appeal hearing it emerged that this witness had earlier identified a different man as the one he had seen. The police were well aware of this but concealed the fact from prosecution and defence alike.

    This is one of only three cases in the UK in which a conviction was quashed after someone had been executed (the other two being those of George Kelly, hanged in 1950, and Derek Bentley, hanged in 1953). In a similar case, Timothy Evans, also hanged in 1950, received a posthumous pardon, though his conviction was never formally quashed. But though each of these other cases has been the subject of at least two books, the longest treatment of Mahmood Hussein Mattan's case has been an 80-page work in Welsh by a retired police officer, which ends by suggesting - quite against the evidence, in my opinion - that Mattan was probably guilty after all.

    So this has been a neglected case, and in view of what happened I thought it deserved an attempt to tell the story as accurately and fully as I could.

    Although in legal terms it is a historical case, much of the research effort has been directed at simply getting access to the relevant records, many of which remained closed to the public when I began to research it in 2011, despite those records being nearly 60 years old. Access to most of the records was obtained through Freedom of Information requests, though often the full procedure of internal review, complaint to the Information Commissioner and appeal to the Tribunal had to be followed through. Fortunately South Wales Police offered access to their records outside the FOI framework, subject to certain conditions on the use of information about people who might still be living. That took a long time, but on the whole was well worth waiting for.

    As well as being important and neglected, I find it a fascinating case. In one of its aspects it is a whodunit, with four men having given cause for suspicion at various times (the four men are: (1) Mattan himself, (2) the witness who claimed he had seen Mattan, (3) the man the witness had really seen and (4) another Somali seaman who was implicated many years later). It is still an unsolved whodunit and will probably remain so, though I should make it clear that I think the evidence is strongly against Mattan having been involved. But more important for me was another aspect, which was how it came about that Mattan was convicted of murder and executed. In other words, how the police constructed a case against him that seemed so convincing in 1952 but in 1998 was not even defended by the Crown. That is something that I hope does come out more clearly in this treatment than has been the case previously, partly with the help of new information from the police records.

    More information about the book, including free samples, and guidance on how to buy a copy (either printed or PDF) is available here:
    https://www.hanged-for-the-word-if.org.uk/

    For those who don't want to buy a copy but would like a free ten-minute summary of the whole thing, there is an overview here:
    https://www.hanged-for-the-word-if.org.uk/overview.html

    Comment


    • #3
      Congratulations, Chris
      I have just bought (very cheaply!) and downloaded the ebook and looking forward to reading it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yeah, they don't call me Jump-The-Gun Joe for nothing, heh heh. Actually, I saw your excellent book displayed on the Waterstones website yesterday (at a very reasonable price, I may add) and I wanted to spread the good news. I'm glad Howard has now created a better thread than the one I initiated.

        The "Notes on Sources" section at the back of your book is a story in itself. It's a testament to perseverance really. It took plenty of patience to deal with the National Archives and the Freedom of Information issues. It is gratifying to see that you finally obtained all the documents that was needed to publish this book. This gives encouragement to other researchers who might find themselves in a similar position in the future.

        I have emails that are over four years old where I chatted with Chris about his research on this subject. It's good to know that it has all come together successfully.

        I've been reading the book, and as anticipated, it is written with great efficiency. Those who know Chris come to expect top quality in his work.

        Congratulations on this accomplishment, Chris. You've done very well to respect the family involved, and that shows you as a man of good character.

        Comment


        • #5
          Congratulations, Chris! Tracy spoke of you when I interviewed her. This is a must buy!

          Sincerely,

          Mike Hawley

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Michael Hawley View Post
            Congratulations, Chris! Tracy spoke of you when I interviewed her. This is a must buy!
            Thank you for that comment, and thanks also to Debs and Joe for their kind comments.

            Though I would say - I am reasonably satisfied that I've written the kind of book that I like to read. That is, there's a lot of detail and documentation and discussion. But that may well mean too much detail and documentation and discussion for the average reader. It does run to more than 350 pages.

            So I am very conscious that it won't be to everyone's taste, and probably people should have a look at the sample chapters on the website before buying.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think this book will push everything else out of the way for me for a while. First Swanson, then Jacob the Ripper, now Hanged for the Word If...2020 hasn't been a lost year after all. Congratulations Chris.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ordered just now...as John M says, 2020 really does begin to appear a good deal better!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cogidubnus View Post
                  Ordered just now...as John M says, 2020 really does begin to appear a good deal better!

                  Many thanks to you and Debs for being the first purchasers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yes, congratulations Chris. Now if you can please sign and send a free copy to me, it would be very much appreciated.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just ordered a copy, Chris. Looking forward to reading it.
                      To Join JTR Forums :
                      Contact [email protected]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                        Just ordered a copy, Chris. Looking forward to reading it.

                        Thanks very much. I hope it doesn't disappoint.


                        Scott


                        Thanks for your kind words. I believe your free copy should be in the special gift pack when you receive your Lifetime Achievement Award.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks very much. I hope it doesn't disappoint.

                          Since you wrote it, disappointing anyone is impossible.
                          To Join JTR Forums :
                          Contact [email protected]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Neglected to say that I was surprised to learn Cardiff had such a cosmopolitan ethnic makeup beginning at the end of WW1.
                            To Join JTR Forums :
                            Contact [email protected]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've read the first 45 pages so far, and I can understand why the book was coordinated to have many short chapters in it.

                              This was a murder case that required a careful look into the sequence of events that transpired over a time frame of about 30 minutes or so. A number of people found their way into the murder site shortly prior to the crime, and each of their statements had to be carefully assessed. To get an accurate picture, I can see the necessity of presenting this material on a short chapter by short chapter basis. Well done, Chris.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X