Bicycle Diaries: Green bicycle murder

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19.7.08

Green bicycle murder

Saturday
5 July 1919

89 years ago today, Bella Wright was murdered in rural Leicestershire, a county in central England. The body, with her bike lying beside it, was found just off the road outside the small village of Little Stretton. Local authorities first assumed she had fallen from her bike. So they moved the body to a nearby chapel where it lay overnight. The following morning a more thorough investigation revealed that she had died of a gunshot wound.

Unfortunately, in moving her, they had destroyed valuable forensic evidence. The case was never been solved. Subsequently, The Green Bicycle Murder has become one of England's most celebrated unsolved crimes. This is largely due to the unexpected acquittal of the chief suspect, former schoolteacher and WWI veteran, Ronald Light.

No other suspect has ever been discovered. So many still believe that Light did indeed murder Wright. Recent research reveals character traits that point to his potential for killing. Or at the very least, perhaps Light accidentally shot Wright while hunting birds in an adjacent field. Sir Marshall Hall, the accused's defense lawyer, admitted as much in court.
Imagine a girl cycling along a lane highly flanked by a hedge. In a nearby field a man or boy is out shooting birds with a rifle or revolver at some distance. He takes aim at a large bird upon a gate between the field and the lane. The bird is hit; but the bullet continues on its flight, or perhaps ricochets into the lane. Tragically, the girl is struck by the bullet. The man with the gun may remain sadly unaware of the terrible result of his actions.

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