The story of Steel's return from home - and the cops cars, as Eddie Hannon told it.

This is the story that helped put Steel in prison. It fooled the police, it fooled the judge at trial. He even explained to the jury that it was a reasonable story. So what exactly was it - and why was it so wrong?

Bear in mind that when Hannon came out with it he was being interrogated by the police who were planning at that time to include him in the murder charge along with Steel.

Hannon was arrested at 11: 45 am on Tuesday, April 24th.

At some stage during that day he made a statement in which he said:

"When I was working in the garden I noticed a couple of police cars being driven up and down the road.

Just at that time I looked up and saw Tony walking through the garden gate at no 8. I know there was a police car parked somewhere nearby because I saw one stop and park. Tony’s first words to me were "what’s up?" I said "I’ve just come out of that house and the lady there is upset. .. she’s crying and they’re talking about somebody being attacked. Tony said " I’ve seen some cop cars up on the avenue."

Because it was time for our tea break we both collected our tools and walked back to the park."

This is the origin of the "cop cars" story. Steel appeared to confirm it.

Also during the day of 24th April, Steel made a similar comment. In the second interview Steel had with the police, which began at 8:32pm on that day, the exchange went:

DCI Mitchell: Did you go to the house and ask for Eddie?

Steel: No, but he came out there was relations in crying.

DI Mould: Did Eddie say why the people were upset?

Steel: He said a lass had been killed.

DCI Mitchell: Did you ask who had been killed ?

Steel: No he just said something had happened.

DCI Mitchell: Did you not ask what had happened?

Steel: No, but there was police cars flying about.

Hannon had been in police custody for more than eight hours when this interview with Steel began.

The story next appeared, in part, and amended as to the timing, when Steel was interviewed by James Hobson:

Hobson: When did you realise this ?

Steel: Well, next day, no, that afternoon, we were working in the garden near her what’s it, her mother in law’s house. All the police were about and I knew then."

Note that Steel’s version of this had the events in the afternoon.

At the trial, Hannon repeated the cop cars story:

Q: At the time he returned, did you notice any vehicle or vehicles in the vicinity?

Hannon: Yes, there were a few cop cars there.


Q: Did he say anything to you?

Hannon: He said "What is going on? What is up here?

Q: Referring to what?

Hannon: To the police cars I suppose.

Q: How close was the time of Tony Steel’s return to the time when you would normally go off for you morning tea break?

Hannon: He came back about a quarter to ten and we would set off maybe ten or just after back in.

Q: So you set off back in. Do you mean back to the Depot’

Hannon: Yes.

Q: So, he arrived back, I think you said, about quarter to ten or a bit after’

Hannon: Yes. About a quarter to ten.

As we have seen, the judge repeated Hannon’s evidence:

"You remember the Crown say if you put the thing together and what they did in the time they left the Depot, they left well before quarter to ten. Hannon stayed, no dispute thus far, the defendant went to Langdale Road and there is no dispute either that he did not get back to Delius Avenue until about quarter to 10, by which time, do you remember, the expression was the cop cars were about. No doubt they were because by now that unfortunate girl had been discovered."

The problem with the story as the judge told it to the jury, and as Hannon told it, is that the police did not know the identity of the girl in the field at a quarter to ten - so there could hardly have been any cop cars driving around the estate, and Eddie Hannon could hardly have seen Mrs Best crying as he claimed, because at 9:45 she did not know that Carol had been attacked.


Identification by clothing

Actual identification

Exactly how Eddie Hannon was wrong

Other explanations

Click HERE to return to main Hannon "cop cars" page.