Nevertheless, the next night, after supper with Julia, William set out. He was not familiar with any R. M. Qualtrough or Menlove Gardens East for that matter but figured it should not be too difficult to find. By six minutes after seven that night, he was on the tram, making the sixteen-minute journey from Anfield to Menlove Gardens North, presumably where Menlove Gardens East should be, too. He asked each station conductor if they knew where the stop was, and if they could instruct him as to when he needed to disembark. Around the same time, Julia was seen accepting a milk delivery back home in Anfield. None of the train staff knew of Menlove Gardens East so William decided to get off in Menlove Gardens West. On foot, he searched for the address Qualtrough had provided, checking with residents, a newsstand, and even a policeman. His search was fruitless, there was no Menlove Gardens East; only Menlove Gardens, North, South, and West. To add insult to injury, no one in the area had ever heard of an R.M. Qualtrough. Cold, tired, and exasperated he returned home.
Sitting at his kitchen table under the watchful eye of the police it was now a little after nine in the evening.
A search of his home revealed four British pounds (or about three hundred fifty dollars today) missing from the kitchen collection tin; which sat seemingly undisturbed where it always had, on the counter. No other valuables or money was missing. Over the next two weeks, police continued searching for the murderer who viciously beat Julia’s head to a pulp. Williams’ alibi was easy enough to follow up. He had been seen by numerous people on his search for Menlove Gardens East. The Johnstons had seen him trying to get into his locked home. Before that, a typist named Lillian Hall reported seeing him around eight thirty-five that night on Richmond Road, just a few blocks from his home. The ticket inspector and tram conductor testified to his boarding the train just past seven. Statements from the neighbors and the milkman placed Julia at home and alive around six forty-five in the evening.
According to the timeline, if William had murdered his wife, he would have had only fifteen minutes to brutally beat her, clean up, and make the seven o’clock train. Physical evidence didn’t support that theory either. An inspection of the drains showed that they hadn’t been used that night, meaning the assailant would have had to leave the home covered in the blood of his victim; not to mention locking the doors as he made his getaway. The only clue that didn’t quite fit was the telephone call from R.M. Qualtrough. Police traced the call and found that it was placed from a phone booth just four hundred yards from the Wallace’s home, right near the tram boarding station.
With little to go on, a missing four British pounds from the tin and a bedroom drawer that was slightly disheveled, it seemed as if the police were on a wild goose chase. At the time of Julia’s death, a serial burglar, known as Anfield Housebreaker, was terrorizing the area. However, the previous rash of break-ins didn’t match the scene at the Wallace’s. There were no other immediate suspects on the police’s list. Unfortunately, this didn’t bode well for Mr. Wallace.
The department handling the case, the Merseyside Police, was extremely short-staffed. This resulted in many positions being filled by officers or other persons who were very ill-equipped to do so, in terms of knowledge, experience, and status. The crime scene photographer was a journalist from the Liverpool Daily Post, and the coroner a forensics expert from Liverpool University. Based on photos and examination, the time of death was originally determined to be around eight in the evening, solidifying the fact that William couldn’t have murdered his wife due to his galivanting all over Menlove Gardens.