jessica, the bust and a higher level
Gerry Feltus interviewed Jessica in 2002 and wrote that they had a lengthy conversation, although he thought her evasive and unwilling to share anything she might know about the case. She claimed not to remember Alf Boxall and said that none of her family knew anything about the Somerton Body mystery. Jessica said she did not have a copy of The Rubaiyat and questioned Feltus about its significance.
Prosper Thomson died in 1995.
Jessica Thomson died in 2007.
Robin Thomson, who became one of Australia’s most celebrated ballet dancers, died in 2009.
The taxidermist Paul Lawson, who created the bust of the dead man, was interviewed on an Australian ABC TV programme in 1978 and described Jessica’s reaction to seeing the plaster bust when she was brought into Lawson’s laboratory by the police. Below are extracts from his description:
‘Detective Leane brought Mrs Thompson (Jessica) into my lab.’
‘Detective Leane stood over there (gesture) and the other two detectives over there (gesture).’
‘I took the covering off the bust cast, stood back, and Jessica took one look at that bust and then looked down, and she didn’t look up at that (gesture) again, for the whole of the interview.’
‘Detective Leane was asking her questions, but they (the answers) were all no, no. Everything was no.’
Jessica and Prosper’s daughter, Kate Thomson, was interviewed for the Australian television programme 60 minutes in 2013. She recalled her mother saying she was surprised that she could still remember some Russian. Thomson also quoted her mother as saying that she lied to the police and that the Somerton mystery was known only to ‘a level higher than the police force’.