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The ‘green bicycle’ case

19 June 2020

June 18th, 1920.

[One of Sir Edward Marshall Hall KC’s most celebrated murder trials had concluded:]

THE acquittal of Ronald Light of the charge of murdering Bella Wright was received apparently with emotional enthusiasm by persons present in court and waiting outside. That to some extent is explained by the snapping of the tension created by the long inactive waiting for the jury’s verdict. Chiefly it appears to be an endorsement of the jury’s finding. Mr Light had given his evidence in a manner that carried conviction of its truth and sincerity. It was, indeed, a confession of folly and weakness such as has seldom been volunteered in public. Nothing short of the desperate circumstances in which it was made would have called it forth. The newspapers referred to the trial as “drama”. For once the expression was justified, for, as with true drama, those who followed the evidence were made to feel, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Ronald Light has been acquitted of the charge of murdering Bella Wright, but by his own folly he came very near the gallows. The moral of it all is so plain as to need no emphasizing, but how far young men will be deterred from making casual acquaintance with unknown young women cannot safely be conjectured.


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