On 5th July, 1919, Bella Wright was found dead beside her bicycle and a police officer noticed a bullet wound in her head. Bella had been last seen in the company of a man riding a green bicycle who then disappeared. In 1920 the case was reopened when a green bicycle was fished out of the River Soar. What followed was a sensational trial which was publicised around the world. The owner of the green bicycle was Leicestershire born Ronald Light, who had been an officer in the army and was working as a teacher at a Cheltenham college. Ronald Light was defended by one of the foremost barristers of the day and was acquitted of murder. Bella was buried in an unmarked grave in Stoughton Church cemetery.
In the 1980, local historian, Mr. Macintosh wrote a booklet about this case in order to raise enough money to buy a headstone for Bella’s grave. The conclusion to this booklet was ambiguous – maybe Bella was shot by a stray bullet. However, Mr. Macintosh was certain in his own mind that Bella had been murdered and that the trail was a miscarriage of justice where a clever lawyer ran rings around the evidence of Bella’s relatives and did not call for evidence from Bella’s factory friends or present evidence from Ronald Light’s army background.
Now a new book by Antony Matthew Brown called The Green Bicycle Mystery has been published with new evidence. The new evidence is a confession from Ronald Light to a police superintendent called Levi Bowley, that he had accidentally shot Bella Wright. Superintendent Bowley typed up the conversation but was unable to use the statement as evidence, so it was placed in a safe. For the first time the document is published in full. Maybe this document is not genuine or maybe Ronald Light wasn’t telling the truth?