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William Husband and Dolly Lax said he had arrived at William's house later than he had said. Faced with this, Hoolhouse made a second brief statement in which he said he must have got the time wrong.

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He had left home an hour later and had arrived at Wolviston at about 3. The pathologist had put the time ofMargaret's death at some time before 4pm and they now believed that Hoolhouse had deliberately lied about the time to cover the period of the murder. As a result, Hoolhouse was charged. Unfortunately, his defence barrister missed a good deal of evidence that would have shown his client might well have been innocent. The first piece of that evidence was that Percy Swales had seen a man standing in the field, near where Margaret's body would be found.

The man was certainly not Hoolhouse and the sighting was at 5.

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Then there was the matter of the scratches on Hoolhouse's face. When Margaret had been found, she was still wearing her heavy woollen gloves. The police had experimented with these gloves, trying to cause similar scratches on a volunteer's face. A secretary with long nails was unable to inflict the slightest wound. Even more conclusive was the footprint evidence.

BLIND JUSTICE. Miscarriages of Justice in Twentieth-Century Britain?

Henry Dobson had stepped around the body and his prints were clearly seen. Other prints, presumably from the killer, were underneath Henry's.


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Plaster casts of those prints had been made. They did not belong to Robert Hoolhouse. Finally there was the fact that no semen stains were found on Hoolhouse's clothing, despite extensive stains being found on Margaret's. The jury tookmore than four hours to decide that Hoolhouse was guilty and he was sentenced to death. Margaret Barker had travelled on the same bus as Hoolhouse on January They had a conversation during which Margaret noticed no scratches on his face.

The other witness was Doris Teale, who lived next to the Hoolhouses. She had seen Robert standing outside his house at the time he was supposed to be murdering Margaret Dobson. Neither witness was called by the defence. Last Updated:.

Was innocent man hanged? Order by Oldest first Newest first Highest scored Lowest scored. Loading comments This is another one of those examples that never happens in the UK; the execution of a man most probably innocent.

This was 21 year old Robert William Hoolhouse, executed for the rape and murder of 67 year old Margaret Jane Dobson, and how important evidence was never investigated by the Police and the defence Barrister not calling two extremely crucial witnesses. It was Tuesday, January 18th , when at 4. It was at 9. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed. The Police were summoned. Quickly, they heard of scratches on the face of Robert Hoolhouse.

He was arrested and questioned, but some inconsistencies in his answers led to him being charged. Soon, the Police believed they had a motive.

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BLIND JUSTICE. Miscarriages of Justice in Twentieth-Century Britain?

Hoolhouse and his father had worked for the Dobsons, which also gave them a cottage to live in, but were fired and so lost their home. This occurred FIVE years beforehand. If it had been ten to fifteen years beforehand, they would have had the plot to an early eighties slasher film! Hoolhouse also had spots of blood on his clothes but claimed that the scratches and blood came from an accident riding his bicycle.

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He said that he had been at home at 6 Pickering Street, Haverton Hill until He then stated he was at home from 4pm to 6pm. They then caught a bus to Billingham, visiting a cinema. There were no scratches on his face. Dolly and William said that Hoolhouse arrived later than he said on his first visit.

He believed he had got his times wrong, but to the Police believed this gave him the opportunity to kill Mrs Dobson.