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The Somerton Man’s body was carried to the beach on the night of November 30th.

There was no police conspiracy / cover-up.

There was, however, a lack of urgency that led to the exclusion of some facts that would possibly, if presented at the inquest, have changed the nature of the judicial enquiry and its eventual outcome.


Cleland’s delay in informing Leane of the finding of the Tamam Shud slip until the 19th of April, combined with Brown’s delay in obtaining a translation until the 8th of June meant the newspapers had only scant knowledge of the case’s development prior to the date of the inquest on the 17th of June.

Once the inquest was adjourned on the 21st of June the newspaper coverage was heavier but it wasn’t until the 22nd of July that chemist Freeman was alerted by an article and found the Rubaiyat in his car.

Had the police interviewed Harkness before the 17th of June, there is little doubt they would have had her subpoenaed to appear at the inquest.

Had Harkness declined to answer the same questions to the Coroner’s satisfaction she would have risked being charged with contempt.


Jessica Jestyn Powell Thompson Thomson Harkness got away with it, not by design but by good fortune.

header pic is a sunrise at Somerton Beach

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