A big obstacle to the case for the defence was the fact that Elvira had fired the gun on May 19th as well as on the night of the fatal shooting (may 30/31). However, because the witnesses were inconsistent in their accounts of that earlier incident, it actually worked in Patrick Hastings (and Elvira’s) favour. What was not mentioned in court was the awkward evidence of an even earlier occurrence ¬†regarding Charles Graves. This also involved Elvira brandishing the same gun and threatening either murder or suicide. Had the court been aware of this then the “one off” nature of the defence would have looked even more threadbare.

There are three reports of this event, the date of which is uncertain but appears to be before her marriage to Charles Barney (1929). One is in the notes to the DPP where it is alleged that the gun was fired – why this was not taken up is a mystery. The other two are in the later reminiscences of Viva King and Charles Graves. Graves felt that what happened to him confirms Elvira’s innocence whereas King, while asserting her close friendship to Elvira, is much more damning.

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