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Witness Statement Tampered With by Police

At the Appeal in 1973, the Prosecution called a surprise witness to the stand - Mr. William Potts Hall. The Defence Solicitors could not understand why this 19 year old boy was not called to give evidence at the trial in March 1967, especially as his statement would have supported the Prosecution's claim regarding the time that Stafford and Luvaglio left Peterlee on 4th January.

Mr. Cobb, the Prosecution Q.C., decided to surprise the Defence Q.C. Mr. Hawser, by announcing in Court that he was calling an important witness to the stand, who was not filed with the Court Papers or the Defence. He asked Lord Chief Justice Widgery, presiding at the time, permission to do this. Although Mr. Hawser (Defence) objected, Lord Widgery overruled him and gave Mr. Cobb (Prosecution), permission to call this witness immediately.

William Potts Hall entered the witness stand, took the oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Mr. Cobb read the police statement to Mr. Potts Hall and asked him if the statement was correct. Mr. Potts Hall replied, "No it is not correct. The date I saw a red E-Type was Saturday the 7th January, as I returned home from an evening out. I don't know why the police changed the statement, claiming that I saw the red E-Type on Wednesday 4th January".

A red faced Mr. Cobbs tried to retrieve the situation by asking the witness if, after all these years he might be mistaken about the date he saw the red E-Type. Mr. Potts Hall replied: "at the time I was a 19 year old, and a car enthusiast. I could not afford to go out in the evenings during the week, I only went out on Saturday nights".

Mr. Cobbs (Prosecution) apologized to the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery. Widgery asked Mr. Hawser (Defence) if he had any questions. Mr. Hawser replied, "I do not wish to embarrass my learned colleague any more than is necessary. I have no questions to ask".

This was a great pity, as obviously this proved that there was another red E-Type in the area - which was not the E-Type Stafford was driving, since his E-Type was sitting in the police compound in Peterlee since the 5th of January, two days before Mr. Potts Hall sighted a different E-Type on Saturday 7th January.

Below is the statement that the Police tampered with - changing the dates to support the Prosecution case. It is obvious to what extent the police were willing to go to frame Stafford and Luvaglio. They were absolutely determined to do whatever was necessary, including breaking the law themselves, a law they are sworn to abide by and defend, to achieve their desired result.





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