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Post by koimaster » June 23rd 2021, 11:01am

While the idea of watches and homicide might not usually be connected. Unfortunately, we do live in a world where that is a reality, and no we’re not talking about Rolex robberies in London. We mean wristwatches being used to help solve crimes. Now there’s two main periods, if you will, in which watches have been able to help identify a victim’s murderer. There’s the case of mechanical watches, for a variety of reasons, helping point a finger. And then there’s the more recent examples of smartwatches leading the way.

Going back as far as the 19th century, clocks have been used as evidence in murder trials. There’s the famous trial of Ira Stout who was executed in 1858. This is a peculiar murder case, if there is such a thing. It involved Frederick Douglass, incest, and of course a pocket watch. Ira was born in 1935 and grew up with a father who went to prison for his involvement in a forgery scheme that even reached Canada. The young man also had a younger sister, Sarah. After Ira’s own stint in prison for burglary he moved to Rochester to be with the rest of his family there. His sister, he found, was married already to a man named Charles Littles, an attorney. Now Ira was obviously affection towards his sister, and that was not helped by the fact that she had a troublesome marriage with Charles. Thus, Ira conspired to murder his brother-in-law, failing twice before successfully luring him out to an area near the Genesee River with the help of his sister Sarah. Once there, Ira immediately struck Charles with a mallet in the head, killing him and then tried to dump the body into the river below. It might sound like the perfect 19th century murder, but the body actually got stuck on a ledge where it was in plain sight for anyone to see. So, Ira, forced to climb down and move the body, fell while doing so and broke his arm. His sister then, trying to reach her brother, fell herself broke her wrist! This is how they left a key piece of evidence behind, Ira’s glasses! While that was key for convicting him of the murder, what’s most interesting to us is the allegations that another piece of evidence introduced in the trial was Charles’ pocket watch. The pocket watch was used to indicate the time of the murder as it was stopped at 8:40 pm. ... ses-part-i

Continuing with our story of watches, clocks, and homicide, we arrive at some more modern examples of horology intermixing with crime solving. In the last article we spoke of mechanical timepieces, going as far back as the 19th century, being used to help solve crime in relatively simple ways. This time around, they’ll be a bit more influence from the technological side of watches…

The first case keeps us local, in Canada, but it is an old and relatively well-known occurrence. Albert Johnson Walker was a Canadian financier who hailed from Paris, Ontario and set up his own financial advisory firm with multiple branches in the province. However, while his clients thought he was earning them money, he was in reality defrauding them, fleeing to Europe with $3.2 million in 1990 and passing himself off as a wealthy American entrepreneur.

Walker in said to have settled in London for some time, meeting Elaine Boyes and her boyfriend Ronald Platt, with whom he starting a business relationship – having them work for him. A few years after his initial departure from Canada, he was charged with several counts of fraud. During this time, he had grown closer to Ronald as he and Elaine had helped Walker with several business deals. When Ronald went off to Canada for work, Walker stayed behind and stole his identity, living as Ronald Platt in Essex. After years on the run, Walker decided to murder his once-friend Ronald, rather than have him discover that he had stolen his identity, when Ronald decided to move back from Canada. Walker invited Ronald out boating one day, and once they were far enough away hit him over the head and tied him down to the anchor, throwing him overboard! Where does horology come into play? Well, the body of Ronald Platt was found weeks after his murder in 1996 and was beyond identification after washing up, police decided to use his Rolex Oyster Perpetual to identify the body, as the unique serial number could be traced back to the owner. Thus, after contacting Rolex and getting more information, Ronald Platt was identified as the dead man. Moreover, police were also able to use the Rolex to estimate Platt’s time of death, all of this pointing them in the direction of Albert Johnson Walker. Walker was therefore convicted in 1998 and sentenced to life in prison. ... es-part-ii


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