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The investigation – unworthy of the name

Day one … a body on a beach. A half smoked durry tucked under his right cheek, held in place on his right lapel. The thing must have just toppled out of his mouth when Dr Death came visiting. Landed on his lapel just as his dead head flopped over and pinned it there.

But seeing as it didn’t burn his cheek or scorch his lapel the smoke must have sparked out before it fell out. Could only. No other explanation. Smokes do that and that’s why blokes carry matches in their pockets. All good so far?


Because the first copper on the scene didn’t find any matches in on or about our man’s person, negative on that score, read his sworn statement. Nil result on Matches: cigarettes for the lighting of.

But the first copper was a constable, a flea on the great rhino hide of the Adelaide Metropolitan Police Force. And the rhino, rather than get serious about the itch decided the best way to deal with it was to find a box of matches and slide them into the dead man’s pocket on the quiet. Who wouldn’t do that?

And Detective Sergeant Leane the go to man there – read his sworn statement – he reckoned there were enough matches on the body to light a bonfire.

This was good enough for the coroner. When a senior plod says something was there and a junior plod says it wasn’t what’s he going to do? Risk a half-dozen exclusive memberships about town? Not going to happen.

Cleland and Leane. Adelaide was their kind of town. Like Chicago was for Capone and Luciano. Or Hollywood for Laurel and Hardy.

I hear that G Strapps and PC Moss had a few beers together not long after the inquest. Strapps was bitching that nobody took him at his word that the bloke he saw the night before wasn’t wearing the same style of duds as the bloke found dead in the morning and Moss was wondering who to blame for putting the kybosh on his career by ‘finding’ a box of matches on the body.

Coming up next: the Littlemore Boxall interview – a joke?

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