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Bringing Green Bicycle Murder case back to life

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It was a notorious murder trial which divided opinion when it was held at Leicester Castle almost 100 years ago.

Yesterday, the historic Green Bicycle Murder case was brought to life in the same court room by performing arts students who re-enacted the story.

As it would have been back in the 1920s, such was the interest in the case, the venue's old Victorian courtroom was filled with dozens of visitors, as the De Montfort University students played out the trial of Ronald Light.

The ex-soldier and maths teacher was cleared of the murder of 21-year-old Bella Wright, thanks to renowned defence lawyer Sir Edward Marshall Hall, despite overwhelming evidence against him.

Yesterday, the courtroom once again echoed with the sounds of the trial as six students, all in their third year, took part in the performance.

Joshua Williams, 21, of Melton, who played Sir Edward, said it had been an interesting role to take on.

"He was a really high-profile lawyer at the time and this was one of his biggest cases," Joshua said.

"It is interesting because this was a case where everyone said he wouldn't be able to get him off, but he managed to do it."

Despite playing Sir Edward – who was nicknamed "the great defender" – Joshua said it was his opinion Light had got away with murder.

"I personally think he was guilty," he said. "I feel a bit guilty getting him off, to be honest.

"We've done a lot of research into this and from everything I've seen, I think it's a miracle he managed to get away with it."

The Green Bicycle murder trial centred on the death of Bella, from Stoughton, in the summer of 1919.

The re-creation of the trial, which took place the following year, involved painstaking historical research from the students, who accessed records of the actual speeches used in the hearing.

Visitors, who were assigned various roles – including rival reporters for the Leicester Mercury and Leicester Chronicle – witnessed the prosecution and defence lawyers in action and heard evidence from the defendant.

However, the re-enactment ended with the judge's summing up – leaving people to weigh up the evidence and come to their own conclusions as to whether Light was guilty.

Michael Stephenson, 22, who lives in the city centre, played the defendant.

"The atmosphere in the courtroom was definitely noticeable," he said. "It did have the feeling of a real case and I definitely felt like there was a lot of eyes on me."

Katrina Blackett, 26, who lives in the Jarrom Street area of Leicester, took on the role of the judge, Sir Thomas Horridge.

She said she was pleased with the performance.

"I was pleased with how it went," she said. "There was a realness to it."

Daniel Daley, 22, who lives in the city centre, played prosecuting lawyer Henry Maddocks. "It's been really interesting and enjoyable," he said.

"I didn't know much about the trial before, so it's been really interesting to find out about it.

"It's been a great turn-out as well, we didn't expect to see so many."

Bringing Green Bicycle Murder case back to life


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