Join the jury to solve the Green Bicycle Mystery
Published on Friday, August 16, 2019
ONE of Leicestershire’s most enduring mysteries will be revisited this weekend, with re-enactments, presentations and a rare visit to the city’s original courtroom at Leicester Castle.
The Green Bicycle Mystery is the tale of a young Leicester millworker, Bella Wright, who was found dead beside her bicycle on a summer’s evening in 1919.
On Saturday (17 August), people are invited to join ‘Bella’s Ride’ – a free, guided 10-mile ride from Evington House, in Evington Park, at 1pm. The ride follows the route and key locations of the fateful final ride of Bella Wright, whose body was found near the village of Stoughton.
Shortly beforehand, she had been seen riding away from Gaulby with a well-dressed gentleman who rode a green bicycle.
Following a much-publicised search, Ronald Light, an ex-army officer and owner of just such a bicycle, was arrested, tried and then acquitted of Bella’s murder. Light’s acquittal has been disputed ever since.
On Sunday (18 August), cyclists are invited to re-join the group for a ‘case ride’ leaving Town Hall Square at 1pm. Here, they will discover Leicester locations relevant to the case and police investigation that unfolded 100 years ago.
The ride will culminate with a rare chance to experience Leicester Castle courtroom, location of the original trial in 1920, with legal expert Jeremy Robson.
Character actor Neil Donoghue will be present in the role of Ronald Light, and riders are encouraged to play their part as jury and witnesses to decide for themselves if Light concealed the true nature of events on the day of Bella’s death.
Leicester City Council is working with De Montfort University Heritage Centre, British Cycling, Leicestershire Police and relatives of Bella Wright to rediscover the story through the case centenary this year and next.
The events are organised as part of the city council’s Ride Leicester festival 2019, a two-week celebration of all things to do with cycling, which runs until the end of August.
Event organiser Jan Hudson said: “It’s a fascinating and evolving story. New evidence is still being discovered. The characters and scenes relevant to the case at the end of the First World War can still be relived. It’s a unique, immersive whodunit that is said to have inspired Agatha Christie.”
Ride Leicester ride leader Peter Simmonds added: “These are always popular social rides – fun, friendly, inclusive and no-one left behind. The riders, as jury, are then invited to judge for themselves if Ronald Light on his green bicycle was responsible for Bella Wright’s death.”
Elizabeth Wheelband from De Montfort University’s heritage centre said: “The DMU Heritage Centre is pleased to support this fantastic event, it’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself the case. We’ll also be opening our temporary exhibition in the centre from 4pm-5pm on Sunday for visitors to see objects relating to the Green Bicycle Mystery and learn more about the main individuals involved.”
Sign up for rides at www.letsride.co.uk
Find out more about De Montfort University’s Heritage Centre at www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/heritage-centre