Force marks 'green bicycle murder' centenary
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1Leicestershire Police Chief Constable, Simon Cole, has honoured the 100 year anniversary of murder victim Bella Wright.
Her case is known as the Green Bicycle Murder because she was last seen riding her bike alongside an individual with a green cycle and her death is now the focus of an exhibition at De Montfort University’s (DMU) Heritage Centre.
Mr Cole opened the exhibition yesterday evening (Thursday 4 July) and was joined by a number of guests, including members of the city council and Bella’s family.
The Green bicycle murder is one of the force’s most notorious unsolved crimes, in which 21 year-old factory worker Bella was mysteriously killed after being shot in the head.
The crime was never solved, however folklore suggests a number of different theories for her death.
Former soldier, Ronald Light was arrested and charged with her murder, following the work of PC Alfred Hall. However, Light was later acquitted after his Barrister, Sir Edward Marshall Hall cast doubts over much of the evidence.
After his acquittal, Light told Superintendent. Bowley, of Leicestershire Police, that he had killed Bella by accident when his gun went off. However, a retrial in those days was not possible.
Today, (Friday 5 July 2019) is 100 years since Bella’s death which is being marked by a number of events including the exhibition which details her life and puts the case into a historical context such as, what life was like for a woman aged 21 in the 1920s.
The exhibition also provides a closer look at the case’s timeline of events, the trial itself and what happened after the trial. A number of key artefacts and pieces of history are on display including the green bicycle, PC Hall’s cape and trial documents, which have never been viewed by the public before.
Mr Cole said: “This is a sad story, with a remarkable trial. In its time it dominated the media, locally and nationally and even today people are still talking about it.
“In policing terms, you always think if that happened now, what would the outcome be? It is fascinating and I’m sure it would now have a different outcome.
“I am always keen to remember Bella. She was a young woman with her life ahead of her. This is her story.”
Neil Bell, a historical archivist for Leicestershire Police added: “We’ve worked closely with the Heritage centre at DMU for the last two years in order to build what we believe to be a fitting exhibition.
“It is open to the public from noon today through to February 2020 and I would absolutely encourage the public to come down and take a look at what has been put together.
“Between 5 July and 20 June 2020 (the time of Bella’s death, to the end of Light’s trial), we will also be holding a number of talks and events, details of which will be released in the near future.”
Curator of the Heritage Centre at DMU, Elizabeth Wheelband, said: “We have tried to make this exhibition more about Bella, about who she was and tell her story because it’s kind of been overshadowed by the trial. She was actually a very modern woman for her day so there’s lots about her life, about what she did and who she was.
“We have been very lucky to have been given access to these incredible documents which help to fill in a couple of the gaps about what happened after the trial and which shed a new light on what could have happened.”