7 WHERE DID HE DIE? Coroner Cleland, Professor Cleland and Professor Stanton Hicks.
Coroner Cleland – “Although he died during the night of the 30th November – 1st December, I cannot say where he died.
If the body of the deceased was not that of the man mentioned (seen on the previous evening), and if the body had been taken to the place where it was found, the difficulties disappear.”
Professor John Cleland – “The lividity around the ears and neck was perhaps surprising in view of his position, but it was explainable. It would depend on how much the head was supported, it may have been slight, perhaps no more than one’s head supported on a pillow.”
Professor Sir Stanton Hicks – ” …. If it (the poison) had not been self-administered, and the body brought there (Somerton Beach), that would remove any doubts as to the time at which death took place, as well as any other difficulties.”
The Witness – In 2003 Detective Sergeant Don O’Doherty produced a copy of a report he had submitted to the Officer-in-Charge of the (Adelaide) CIB more than four decades earlier.
The report stated that a witness had seen man carrying another man on his shoulders along the foreshore at about 10pm on the evening prior to the body being found on Somerton Beach
The man was walking south, near the water’s edge. He appeared to be well-dressed.
The witness was accompanied by another man and two sisters. Gerry Feltus found and interviewed the witness in the latter part of 2003 and found him reliable.
There was the report of saliva on his cheek (going in two different directions) that supported the body being moved. He was definitely repositioned.
Cleland Cleland and Hicks, all had their doubts. And all of them expressed these doubts in the only place that allowed them.
So picture Somerton Man as lying flat while his heart has stopped pumping and the lividity indicates this. His mouth is opened to insert a cigarette, saliva moves perpendicularly down his cheek, then he is moved again so that the saliva takes a downward turn. He is then propped up against the sea wall rocks. He has no money, clothes tags,or matches. Seems staged…..what is the message?
Given that he was repositioned, why the cigarette?
The man seen (by Lyons) lying at the bottom of the steps the evening before was observed to be smoking a cigarette … then there was another man seen (by Neill) standing at the top of the steps, watching the same man.
Some years ago Clive suggested the scene was staged, set up as it were, in preparation for the disposal of the corpse.
Although Strapps & his girlfriend, Neill, gave evidence at the inquest, the man who stood at the top of the steps remains a mystery. Seems the police never attempted to trace him, even though they had a description of his clothes, etc. And, if he had nothing to hide, why didn’t he contact the police and describe the scene he watched for 5 mins?
Perhaps he was the man seen later that night carrying a body along the foreshore …. if I was Alfred Hitchcock that’s how I would write it.
This moment with man carrying body waked up my child readings of Russian spy novel (about 1970). There was scenery of crossing border by two spies, one of them was poisoned by slow acting poison jus before crossing. Body of this spy was found several hundred meters from border and only sharp eyes of spy hunter saw too deep footprints on clay – second spy went on back of deceased. Something of this sort may be in SM case
Well, that’s a possibility Perhaps to Strapps & Neil, he was just another onlooker, but he was probably noting the SM’s position, his weight etc before darkness fell and he could return to the scene…
Hitchcock would have it that the man Neill saw looking at the fellow lying by the sea wall was in fact checking the position and disposition of the decoy.
“The Trouble With Harry”?
Some would have it that anything other than what has been long accepted as a possible answer to this mystery is seen as beyond consideration.