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Who took the Tamam Shud Case off the board?

DS Leane went into retirement suspecting the Somerton Man was murdered. He owned the case in its initial stages. He owned the file. Anyone did anything it was his request, either that or he did it himself – read Feltus.

Then Len Brown took over the responsibility. He owned the file now.

Murder files remain in currency until they are solved or are shifted to an unsolved archive that can be handily referenced.

Because some detectives like to read backwards on murder cases – see if a similar event occurred in the past – others wait for a new murder, see if it connects with an old murder.

The Adelaide police handled the Somerton Man case all the way – pre-inquest and post-inquest, then the case’s unexpected revival when new and crucial evidence came to hand.

A phone number.

A name.

Following that case-invigorating event they interviewed Harkness at home, then, the next day, they interviewed her at the museum where Lawson showed her his work. This was a serious and sustained interview with every detective on the case in the room asking questions. But Harkness held her brief and remained silent.

But the interviewing detectives had already won the Jackpot.

She nearly fainted upon seeing the bust.

That, without doubt, is a prime example of a cold case’s Holy Grail: the long-awaited delivery of a bona fide Person of Interest, in this case the only one. Someone they knew was involved. Were certain of it.

Then they all knocked off.


Let’s say –

.. the news of Harkness’s reaction was passed to an individual in another government agency, and he, upon recognising the name, ordered that the police investigation be terminated, immediately.

Remember that Harkness initially gave two false names to the police, Thompson and Thomson, an indication that she too didn’t care for her name to become public.

Good to talk to you today, GC, something always comes from it.


8 Comments Post a comment
  1. gordon1552 #

    Now you’re talking …

    June 25, 2019
  2. Clive #

    You can’t help wondering, well, I do anyway! If the detectives wrote down their own notes, about Harkness, in a file. No doubt if such a file exists, it will never see the light of day

    June 26, 2019
    • I can’t help wondering what they may have found if they had a search warrant for 90a … seems the police had reason enough to convince a magistrate of her involvement.
      All those letters … imagine., and from who?

      June 26, 2019
  3. gordon1552 #

    The question of halting an investigation in progress and which, from appearances, was getting somewhere, is probably the most important line to follow. To my knowledge only one person could have the authority to do that and it was probably done at the behest of a third party.

    The line of thought goes something like this:

    1.Report of the interview with Jess including recommendations goes to the DCI
    2. The DCI at the next regular meeting with the Commissioner, (a daily morning conference?) brings up the information.
    3. Separately and simultaneously, Jess, concerned by the interview and its direction, makes contact with someone quite senior in a third party organisation for their help and assistance.
    4. Said third party contacts the Commissioner ahead of his scheduled meeting.
    5. Commissioner verifies the credentials of the third party and also more than likely confers with the previous incumbent of his position.
    6. The DCI is advised to slow down/curtail any further investigation on the case at hand.

    It wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask a question regarding Jess’s earlier move to Adelaide, was it a move or was she relocated by others?

    June 27, 2019
    • Jessica’s move from Sydney was no doubt largely influenced by her out-of-wedlock pregnancy … and there might be some doubt that she would serve any useful purpose after that event if indeed she was employed by an intelligence agency before the event.

      June 27, 2019
  4. gordon1552 #

    The name change to Thomson could of course be coincidental, but it also fits with the notion of her being relocated.

    It would be interesting to follow up on Trove to see what was happening within the ranks of the CPA in Sydney during the relative times, would also be worth looking at the various Russian Friendship organisations?

    June 27, 2019
    • You could take a narrower focus and find out what ships were in Sydney Harbour during the month Harkness became pregnant – that would be in October 1946- presuming she had a full term pregnancy.

      June 27, 2019
      • gordon1552 #

        You certainly could, worth following up. Maybe spread the time frame a little so from September to November?

        June 28, 2019

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