John and Yoko Ono, join James Hanratty Sr. to protest the controversial execution of Hanratty’s son, in 1969.
On Dec. 11, 1969, Beatle John Lennon and Yoko Ono arrived at the Odeon theater in Kensington to attend the premiere of Ringo Starr’s movie, “The Magic Christian.”
They stepped out of their Rolls-Royce and unfurled a banner that read, “BRITAIN MURDERED HANRATTY.”
The banner referred to James Hanratty who had been tried, convicted, and executed for murder seven years earlier. John and Yoko were just two of thousands of people who believed he did not commit the crime.
Lennon became interested in the case after a chance meeting with Hanratty’s parents, who convinced him that their son had been railroaded. John and Yoko took on the challenge of clearing his name.
Lennon has been dead for nearly 38 years and many of his causes have been forgotten. But controversy still swirls over the Hanratty case, and the question of whether Britain hanged an innocent man. The murder that landed Hanratty, 25, on the gallows happened on Aug. 22, 1961.