Case of the Month: Julia Wallace. One of the most famous unsolved homicides in UK history is the murder of Julia Wallace. Her case inspired many movies, books, and television programs.
Julia Dennis married William Wallace in March of 1914. She was older than Wallace. By how many years exactly is not clear to me. According to Wikipedia, there is evidence pointing to an age difference of seventeen years. However, it does not exactly state what type of evidence was found. The significance of the age difference might be part of the murder motive and the mode of operation. However, that would only be part of the “why.” The reason why Julia had to die is not clear to me.
From what I read, there were no hidden inheritances or any other major financial incentives from William’s point of view for this murder. If you know of any, please do let me know.
The foremost reason why Julia’s murder is so famous is because of the chilling crime scene. The front and back door were closed. The windows were closed. Once entry was made, Julia was found beaten to death on the living room floor. The person who beat Julia to death must have been covered in blood. Wallace’s suit from that night was spot clean. The drains in the house did not expose any traces of recent use e.g. a blood-covered killer had not recently used their bathroom or kitchen to clean him/herself.
Police found a mackintosh (raincoat) underneath Julia’s body. That mackintosh did not belong to Julia. This could be the answer to the mystery especially if the raincoat has been properly preserved. An examination of the raincoat with the M-Vac could tell us more about the person(s) who wore that raincoat by testing the armpits and the collar area for touch DNA. It would once and for all settle the question whether that raincoat came from the Wallace’s house or, whether it was brought in by the attacker.
How the murderer had entered and left the house is a beloved setup for movie makers and of course, for authors. A closed house or room. No signs of forced entry. All windows closed. Can you imagine the scene? A mansion in the country side. Uncle Henry disappeared after dinner. The guests get restless and start searching the mansion. Split up in groups they come to one conclusion, Henry has to be in the locked study down the hall. After a forceful entry is made by a few but witnessed by the entire group, uncle Henry is found dead inside. Was it a suicide or a cunningly executed murder?
Remember the Murders in the Rue Morgue? That is what the Wallace case instantly reminded me off. There must have been another entry point. If not, the attacker left and locked the house. That scales down the list of suspects to all who had a key to the Wallace home.
There are reasons why others could have committed this crime. Information can be found here and here. The author P.D. James has her own theory that can be found here. Her position is very understandable especially if you consider that William made a bit of a show in front of the neighbours that he could not get in the house. When he tried again with them watching, the door did open. Then they all found Julia. This “show” could mean he needed witnesses to say he entered with them or, it could have been genuine. William’s motive to get rid of his wife is still not clear to me.
What do you think happened to Julia? And, do you think the M-Vac could make a difference here too? The M-Vac is making a difference in many cold cases all over the USA. It might make a difference in the Wallace case as well.