The Green Bicycle Mystery. Part Five: The Persistence of PC Alfred Hall

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In the previous “Green Bicycle Mystery” article, we explored farmer Joseph Cowell’s grim discovery. PC Hall arrives at the scene and carries out a quick examination of the scene. The body is moved as it is night time and Dr Williams concludes that Bella has maybe died from a seizure.

PC Alfred Hall has a gut feeling that there was more to the case. He decides to carry out another examination of the crime scene in daylight.

Who was PC Hall?

PC Alfred Hall worked at the station in the Leicestershire village of Great Glen.

He’d been a policeman for over nine years and he’d only recently returned to his position after serving in the great war as a British soldier in France. Upon his return, he slipped straight back into his occupation as a “Bobby”.

PC Hall becomes almost obsessed with the “Green Bicycle Mystery”. He wrote to the local police magazine for many years explaining every detail of the case. This was to stop the case from going cold and to keep the public interested. He also had written a poem on the events of the case some years later.

A gut feeling.

As mentioned in the previous article, whilst riding his bicycle home from the makeshift morgue that night, PC Hall was thinking hard about the body that was found.

He doubted that a young and a healthy-looking young woman would haemorrhage and fall. There was also no evidence of a crash or any violence on the road. Also, why was there so much blood?

PC Hall decides to check the scene again at sunrise.

PC Hall examines the scene.

The next day, Sunday the 6th of July, PC Hall woke up bright and early, it was 0600 and the weather was looking very mild for the first time that month.

Alfred Hall hopped on his bicycle and rode out to the road once again to examine the scene in the light of day. He was sure he was missing something important.

At the same time, Bella Wrights mother, Mary-Ann woke up to find that her daughter had not returned home from her ride the night before and made her way to the Post Office in Evington to report her missing.

The police were, as yet to identify Bella as the girl lying lifeless in the village chapel.

When PC Hall arrived at the scene, he slowly walked backwards and forwards, up and down the road, looking out for any clue that might help him to piece together what may have led to Bella falling from her bike.

The scene was becoming more contaminated by the hour as the road was open to traffic and the air was damp overnight with a hint of rain. Also, the scene was very much disturbed due to the herd of cows Jospeh Cowell had marched down the road the evening before.

The road had a very soft incline that looked as though an accident was unlikely.

PC Hall, however, did spot a track of bloody bird prints that led from the spot of Bella’s death towards a loosely tied wooden gate. There was also blood on the top of the gate post.

Other than this he couldn’t find anything else of use and returned home for lunch at around 15:00. He stopped off to report his findings to the County Constabulary on route.

PC Hall is still not satisfied.

After his lunch, PC hall was still not satisfied that the death of Bella was an accident and went again to the scene to look for more evidence. It was now 18:00.

Once again he paced up and down the road, even on his hands and knees at some parts, running his fingers over the rough ground for anything.

His persistence finally paid off. A little over 6 yards from the bloodstain where Bellas body had been found, he discovered a spent bullet. It was half wedged into a cows hoofmark in the road.

He dug it out with his fingers and inspected it. Making an educated guess, using his experience in the armed forces, he was certain the bullet was a .455 round. From either a pistol or a rifle.

He even hazards a guess that it was from a Webley Revolver. A common revolver smuggled back by soldiers after the war.

The policeman immediately rushed off to inform Dr Williams about his discovery. He again returned to the scene at 19:30 but this time with Joseph Cowell.

The pair found nothing new on the road but did find a freshly flattened track in the long grass leading from the wooden gate into a nearby field.

The men followed it till the next turnstile but didn’t find anything in particular. Although they did notice a dead crow covered in what looked like blood. Hall didn’t think this was connected.

How did they miss that?

After reporting his finds to his Sargeant, PC Hall wanted to re-exam the girl’s body with Dr Williams again. The doctor was obviously irritated by the intervention of a lowly rural constable. He said that he may look in at the chapel if he was around the area the following day.

Untroubled with the answer, the young policeman informed the doctor that he would get a new doctor into exam the body if he wasn’t there in the next hour. The doctor soon changed his mind.

When the pair was in the disused chapel, PC Hall started to clean the blood from Bella’s face. There appeared a small hole under her left eye above her cheek. After removing her blood-soaked hat (funny it wasn’t removed before?) the pair discover a large hole on the back of her head. The exit wound.

Later, the post mortem confirmed Bella was shot, and the coroner’s inquest brought in a verdict of “wilful murder by persons unknown”

The police investigation began.


View part six of the case, “The Investigation”, here.

You can view all the “The Green Bicycle Mystery” articles and the map of all locations mentioned by clicking here.


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Article Sources: DMU exhibition, The Green Bicycle Mystery by Antony M. Brown


If you are interested in the “Green Bicycle Mystery” then we recommend the following book (Click on the images or links below)

The Green Bicycle Mystery (Cold Case Jury Collection 1)

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Thomas is fascinated by the city's long and varied history. He also hates to discuss himself in the third person but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.
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