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18 Why were Cleland and Cowan asked to identify the deceased through his clothing sizes and not his fingerprints?

Detective Sergeant Leane, Detective Brown, Detective Canney, PC Sutherland, Detective Gollan, Police photographer Durham, Professor Cleland, Coroner Cleland and Senior Government Analyst Cowan – all these gentlemen knew of the decision not to fingerprint the hard-surfaced items found in an unclaimed suitcase left at the Adelaide Train Station on November 30th, 1948. A suitcase believed to belong to a man found dead on Somerton Beach on December 1, 1948.

Some of the items being: a pair of scissors, a knife, brush handle, square of zinc, three pencils, a glass dish, button, soap dish, a razor strop, tube of toothpaste, cigarette lighter, a sixpence.

There is no record of any of them questioning this lack of basic police procedure.

But of course we all know that this could not have possibly been the case: standard investigative procedures are set to be followed, the basics are always done and the results reported up the chain of command, particularly when the case is classified as a murder.

However this case was an exception to the rules and it was left to Senior Government Analyst Cowan and Professor Cleland to provide the necessary proof of identification that the case did indeed belong to the deceased, a task that involved handling the evidence: a task that rewarded the investigation handsomely when the Tamam Shud slip showed up in the deceased’s fob pocket.

This finding no doubt surprised PC Moss, who swore under oath the Tamam Shud slip was not where it was subsequently found by Professor Cleland when the policeman searched the deceased’s clothing on December 1, 1948.

And it was found in a fob pocket so well hidden in a commonly made pair of Crusader Cloth trousers the late Emeritus Professor Cleland, in his evidence at the inquest, stated he forgot where he found the pocket the first time only to find it in the same place when he looked the second time.

As witnessed by Senior Government Analyst Cowan, who was reported to be trying on the dead man’s slippers at the time, hoping for a fit similar to the dead man’s shoes.



10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Francis #

    If he forgot where he found it, how did it get back in there? Possibly the language used is very loose, but it does seem a wee bit on the stranger side.

    February 26, 2018
    • I don’t know what it takes to convince you that the whole investigation was orchestrated by someone at a higher level than SAPOL. In fact I refer you back to the comment Jessica’s daughter made when interviewed by 60 Minutes a few years ago.
      If all you can come up with, Francis, is that it is all a ‘wee bit strange’ then I feel like a teacher in front of a class of wooden heads. Give me someone who is capable of clear thinking, otherwise the discussion continues to go nowhere. Don’t take this personally, but I’ve been putting up with non-committal responses for far too long.
      Why are you here, Francis?

      February 26, 2018
      • Francis #

        Occasionally there’s interesting stuff here (e.g. aspects of the ballet angle seem reasonably plausible). Just because I remain unconvinced of high order conspiracy, doesn’t mean I’m closed to the idea it’s possible. To me it seems almost every TS buff has theories that they hone in to the exclusion of all others – but that doesn’t convince me that any of them are necessarily on the right track.
        IMO one of the biggest problems with a high-order conspiracy is that we need to simultaneously need to believe that this operation was run by some sort of super-spooks who could control the defectives and government analysts – yet weren’t competent enough to have it all dismissed as just some poor unknown dude that died.

        If we are to believe that some spy agency was pulling strings, and was important enough to be influencing the fuzz, then why did the Rubaiyat ever need to appear? Evidence that easily could have been ignored/missed etc is suddenly front and centre. How is it that we can miss fingerprints, for which almost every government player would need to be complicit, yet we can’t hide TS, the Rubaiyat or any link to Boxall. If we believe the puppetmaster idea then the TS was released absolutely deliberately. If this is the case, then the Rubaiyat itself was found deliverately, and the code was released deliberately – but to what end?
        I find that the ‘high powers’ theory seems to pick and choose what evidence (or lack of evidence) is important, but ignores other evidence where it points against such a narrative.

        More than happy not to come here if that’s what you prefer – I find a touch of irony that you encourage participation (you’ve previously asked specific people’s opinion, including mine) but then complain that people might not instantly agree with every idea you come up with. If my responses seem non commital, it’s because to me there’s insufficient evidence to commit to most of the theories I’ve seen. I would have thought objectivity and not jumping to conclusions would have been signs of clear thinking, whereas trying to shape the evidence to fit your theories shows somewhat clouded judgement. But I’m guessing like so many other things we’ll forever disagree on that one.

        February 27, 2018
        • Show me, Francis, if you will, where in any of the 19 posts on this site I have shaped evidence to fit a personal theory.

          February 27, 2018
  2. Byron Deveson #

    Francis, the answer to your major question is interference and sabotage from within the police forces and the intel agencies. Police forces, especially around WW2 often contained Marxist, and even outright communists. And so did the intel agencies. The Russians would not have had any trouble implanting agents. Just two examples out of many that are on the record. Guy Liddell managed to get into the London vice squad in the early 1920s, apparently on the basis of a suspicious Military Medal. From there it would have been easy to get the Philbys, Blunts etc. into useful positions by removing any competitors and other tricks. Our (New South Wales) cream of the cream detective, now convicted murderer, Roger Caleb Rogerson, came from a communist family and was a teenage Marxist. He rose rapidly through the ranks even though he was major heroin supplier by the mid 1960s. Nobody appeared to notice, or maybe some turned a blind eye, and maybe some who took notice were “fixed” one way or the other. I note that more than one senior police officer was found in a police station with his brains blown out in the 1960s and 1970s. May they got in Rogerson’s way? In the1970s Rogerson was responsible for six Croatians (“The Croat six”) being fitted up with false charges and they all went to jail for long terms. Allied Intelligence was soon hearing the Yugoslav secret police boasting of their success in Australia. Bottom line: Rogerson was either a witting agent for the Warsaw Pact intel, or he was a total fool, and a total bastard. I would question if he is a fool. IMHO Rogerson has probably also acted as an assassin for Warsaw Pact intel. We now know he is a cold blooded killer for cash.
    In the 1980s the Russians were still sending agents to Australia to “tombstone”, presumably because Australian passports were considered by many countries to be unfakeable. Check out the story of the “Romeo Spy” John Symonds. Symonds was a corrupt copper who was fed to the sharks by his corrupt superior offices. In an act of revenge he gave the KGB a list of corrupt officer, with details.
    In Australia he carried out such activities as “tomb stoning” in Randwick cemetery, and seducing women who could be of use to the KGB. Symonds later reflected that there were three sorts of policemen; those who were corrupt, those who were too dumb and never noticed the corruption, and those who noticed but turned a blind eye.

    February 27, 2018
  3. jestyn72 #

    Francis asks a good question. Why did the Rubaiyat have to appear? It could’ve been ignored.

    February 28, 2018
  4. jestyn72 #

    I remember your saying that the Rubaiyat was common in all households at the time. It’s true there was less photography in newspapers at the time but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fact. You’ve lost proportion of the actual importance of this case to those involved. An atrocious war had ended. Somerton Man was just a stiff on the beach. The police didn’t have to prove anything to the Glenelg readership.

    March 1, 2018
    • Less photography?

      Let me remind you, Jestyn72 (Ellen), of the trouble DS Leane went to when he took various items from the suitcase and carefully laid them out on a Mason’s folder at the station for the photographer, and the photographs of Brown and Leane standing over the suitcase and its spilled contents, and the individual photographs of the clothing, the shirts, the pencils, and another of the tools laid out on a table, the luggage ticket ….

      March 1, 2018
  5. What could be the reason why no fingerprints were taken off the items found in the suitcase?

    March 5, 2018

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