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The void that was Jessica Harkness

Jessica Harkness is the void sitting squarely in the middle of the Tamam Shud Mystery.

The lady lived in the wind until the night somebody deposited a dead man on the beach close to her home.

Deposited the corpse in the most public of places .. at the bottom of a well lit set of steps leading down to the beach from a busy road.

In situations where a corpse has been found without any identification, the police’s usual task is to first canvass the local neighbourhood seeking information – knock on doors – then they might ask the local shopkeepers to pin a picture of the man inside their shop, or in the front window, together with the local station’s phone number.

Somerton Man PM photo NE shaddow plus contrast

Do You Know This Man ?

Jessica Harkness lived within a close perimeter of the crime scene. Only a few blocks away. But there is no record of the police finding her at home when they knocked on her door.

And if the police did post pictures of the dead man in the local butcher baker and candlemakers’ shops, she walked right past them.

But the dead man was found to have her telephone number … so he knew of her, but Jessica, whoever she was, never admitted knowing him. Even under close and sustained interrogation. Only her body betrayed her.

Whoever planned that the dead man be left in a place so close to a woman proved to be involved in the case could only be said to be deliberately implicating her.


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    Apart from the SM’s body, found resting against the gate of 90a Moseley Street, what else would have taken the SA police to decide they needed to return to that house and re-question the occupier(s)? Errol Canney, using his coppers instinct, would, I imagine, have sussed Jessie from the word go, despite her story of being recently married. If checked, that one lie, itself, should have sounded an alarm somewhere. Perhaps the answer is simply that Canney did visit Moseley Street again, Jessie producing paperwork from ‘a higher authority’ which, effectively, stopped the SA police investigating in it’s tracks?

    April 17, 2019
    • Not if the name of the game was to leave no trace, Clive. And I’ve always been mighty suspicious of the delayed appearance of the Rubaiyat until after the inquest. Things may have gone another way completely if it had appeared before the event.
      Reason enough for some to suspect manipulation.

      April 17, 2019
  2. Clive #

    Apart from the Rubaiyat, making a ‘delayed’ appearance. You can say the same for the ‘Taman Shud’ slip, Cleland managed to ‘delay’ the finding of the slip until 19 April 1949, probably knowing the inquest would be held in a matter of a few weeks. I wonder who’s desk the Rubaiyat was secured in?

    April 19, 2019
  3. The same people who protected Jessica from appearing before the inquest. To quote her daughter, Kate, someone in a higher position than the police.

    April 19, 2019

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