The Tamam Shud slip
It was while Professor Cleland was examining the trousers removed from the dead body that he found a small, tightly rolled cylinder of paper measuring about 35mm by 10mm tucked deep into the fob pocket. He stated in his deposition at the inquest: ‘In examining the clothes, in a fob pocket which was rather difficult to find, just to the right of the fly, I found a piece of paper.’
He extracted it with a pair of tweezers, unrolled it and saw it bore the printed words ‘Tamam Shud’.
On 19 April 1949, Professor Cleland informed Detective Sergeant Lionel Leane about his discovery of the ‘Tamam Shud’ slip of paper. Once Leane had possession of the slip he delegated the task of finding the meaning of the two words to Detective Len Brown. However, it was not until two months later that Brown met with success when a Mr C.T. Whiting of the Adelaide Public Library showed him a Persian-English dictionary compiled by Arthur Walleston. Brown immediately reported back to Leane that the two words meant ‘The End’.
Cleland believed that the unidentified man had killed himself, stating in his deposition: ‘I have come to the opinion, taking all the circumstances into account, that death was almost certainly not natural, and in all probability that some poison had been taken with suicidal intent. I came to that conclusion before I found the piece of paper bearing the words Tamam Shud. Bearing in mind that those words mean something like the end that supports my opinion considerably. I think the words were put there deliberately and indicated the intention that he was fed up with things.’