Following on from
Kate Stevens lived one door down from Dorothy Hall so was a little bit further from 21 William Mews but still pretty close. Her statement was taken later than Mrs.Hall’s and differs at certain key points.
“I am married, and the wife of John Leslie Stevens, a chauffeur. I have been living here for about two years. Just oer a year ago Mrs.Barney moved into 21 William Mews – she had a fair man living with her. He was always there and went out first thing in the morning, sometimes he would go out with her in the car, or for a walk. he was there some time and then we missed him. There were no quarrels with him. it was about when she went away last summer that this man left off coming.”
“A man who Mrs Barney called Michael went and stayed with her – I noticed him first towards the end of the year. My attention was called to him when I saw her smack his face. A man came running up the Mews from 21 saying “Where are you going?” then Michael running after them as well, then Mrs. Barney and she smacked Michael’s face and said “I hate you, I hate you”. Two policemen came along while Mrs.Barney and Michael were quarreling, after this all three went back together. I saw Michael and Mrs.Barney the following morning going out in the car together, and I saw they each had a black eye.
She used to have cocktail parties very frequently – on an average once a month, sometimes oftener. It was after these that they seemed to quarrel.
About two months ago Michael broke a window to get into the flat - it was about ten o clock at night. Mrs. Barney told a policeman that someone had broken in. I saw Michael run up the Mews away from the flat and I later heard Mrs. Barney say to Michael that she would send for his mother.
The next day a lady, who I believe was his mother, came to that address and Michael walked up the Mews with her and shortly after this Michael and Mrs.Barney were away from the Mews for about a fortnight. I heard that Michael’s mother offered to take him to Switzerland to get him away from her.”
New Victoria Cinema
“The first time I heard a pistol shot from 21 William Mews was one night after I had been to the New Victoria Cinema, I cannot remember the picture, I got home about half past eleven at night. there was a party at 21, I heard her radiogram. About three o’clock in the morning I woke and heard Mrs. Barney quarrelling – I jumped out of bed and went to the window. I heard a pistol shot from No. 21 which frightened me. There was a party there when the shot was fired in the house _ I could see nothing as the curtains were drawn. I know there was quarrelling because I heard raised voices outside between the guests.”
“About three weeks ago there was a dispute at 21 about a taxi being damaged – I don’t know what it was about – this was during the night, and I first noticed Michael running from the house, I heard Mrs. Barney shouting there – I don’t know if she was at the window or the door, I heard her say “Smile, Baby, Smile for the last time.” and then I heard a shot from come from 21. Michael was near Mrs. Hall’s at No. 10. I heard Michael say to Mrs. Hall “What would you do with a woman like that?”. Mrs.Hall sais “I should not stop with her”. Michael then went up to a van in the Mews and stayed there.
About a fortnight ago, about ten o’clock at night, there were two men and a lady went to 21, she and Michael were in the house – I saw them. I do not think she wanted them there as I heard her say something about going to the police. When these two men and woman came along she shut the door and just afterwards there was a shot which seemed to come from the bedroom and afterwards there was dead quiet. I heard them say they were going for a ladder and see what had happened and they went away, but I did not see them come back. I do not think I did see Michael that night.
For about three days the windows were not opened and I thought they were away but at the end of that time I saw Mrs.Barney go out.
I heard nothing from 21 from that time until the other night, the night of a cocktail party at no. 21. They started going in about six o’clock and the party continued until about 11 o’clock.”
“During the evening I saw Michael go up the Mews with, I believe, Miss Carstairs. He came back later on with her in a taxi. About half past three the morning of tuesday, our dog barked – I could not sleep so I got up and I heard shots, two as I was getting out of bed and another later I got out of bed and went to the window – I heard shouting coming from No. 21 then I heard a final bang – a shot from 21. I said to my husband “I bet that’s killed him”. I heard her shouting “Come back Michael I love you.”. She kept shouting ” I love you Michael, come back.”
I got tired of hearing this and went back to bed.”
Sir Patrick Hastings had little trouble pointing out the inconsistencies between the two women’s accounts of the night of the fatal shooting. Kate Stevens was clearly wrong about the number of shots fired. However, was she in error otherwise? Well, she probably mistook Joe Carstairs for Ruth Baldwin (although this does suggest that Carstairs did sometimes attend Elvira’s parties). Her accounts of the earlier incidents, if we allow that she interpreted any banging and crashing as a gunshot, seem reasonably convincing. She had no reason to lie – despite Hastings suggesting that a rivalry with Dorothy Hall led her to try and “outdo” the other’s evidence. What is certainly true is the fact that if this is even a roughly accurate account of recent events chez Mrs. Barney then those friends of Elvira’s who minimised the level of the rows between Michael and Elvira (as all of them did) were being, to say the least, overly protective.