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The Trinity. Keane, Thomson and Harkness.

The ‘Unknown Man’ was named Keane.

Keane was not involved in espionage.

Keane was not involved in any conspiracy.

Keane was a car thief.

Keane was in Adelaide to meet Prosper McTaggart Thomson.

Jessica Harkness, Thomson’s live-in companion, met Keane.

Thomson dealt in used cars.

Thomson handled large amounts of money.

Thomson lived near Somerton Beach.

Keane was found dead on Somerton Beach.

Keane had abrasions to the knuckles of his right hand.

Keane’s body was stripped of ID and wallet.

Keane’s body was stripped of his luggage ticket and suitcase key.

Keane’s suitcase was found unlocked.

Keane’s suitcase was suspected of being ransacked.

.. and Thomson was never interviewed.

35 Comments Post a comment
  1. thedude747 #

    Thomson was never interviewed.

    March 2, 2020
    • Thesude747 #

      Well you could go with the Keane was Robin‘s father theory. I’m off to Adelaide to see my ex-girlfriend and my son for the first time what should I pack ?couple of shirts ,some ties a pair of socks what else will I need ? I know a screwdriver, a cut down blade a pocket size pair of scissors with a handmade sheath a piece of pliable zinc a paint brush and some graphite. Yeah that makes perfect sense

      March 2, 2020
  2. Пожалуйста #

    If the suitcase had been ransacked by the perpetrator or their associates, wouldn’t they have removed the tools of the trade that at least circumstantially linked John Doe to Prosper?

    March 2, 2020
    • Depends on what they were after. One explanation for there being no spare socks may be that whatever was taken from the suitcase was stuffed inside. Papers, money .. whatever was of value to them. Them being not Prosper Thomson.

      March 2, 2020
      • Пожалуйста #

        Fair enough. Another thought: if you view the suitcase contents – excepting the tools of the trade – as being carefully calibrated to say precisely nothing about the owner, then does the coherence of the tool set begin to look altogether more odd? Planted, perhaps?

        March 2, 2020
        • What you are not suggesting openly is that the three articles marked Keane were also planted.

          March 2, 2020
          • Пожалуйста #

            I wasn’t openly suggesting that because I hadn’t thought it through to that extent.

            But, applying the “question everything” maxim: why ransack a suitcase and leave identifiers (“Kean”, “Keane”) presumably after having taken care to remove similar identifiers from the stiff?

            Same question applies if John Doe did the label removal himself: why cut out labels from the clobber you’re wearing, only to leave your name on shirts in your suitcase?

            March 2, 2020
            • There is a difference between leaving identifiers and taking what you want regardless of who owns it.

              And the labels that were removed from Keane’s clothing weren’t done in the heat of the moment, the inquest heard that they were removed without haste, possibly by a dealer in second-hand clothing business. There wouldn’t be a shortage of them given the times.

              March 2, 2020
              • Thedude747 #

                Always amazes and amuses me in these conversations people say things like wouldn’t you do this would I be stupid enough to leave that. Crimes ransacking of suitcases things like these are done in the heat of the moment some crims are very smart some and most are very dim. They leave incriminating evidence because they weren’t smart enough to think things through at the time probably the person who ransacked the suitcase wasn’t really clever enough to go through every item remove the keen named items but was after something specific I would suggest money in a sock

                March 2, 2020
                • In order to ransack the suitcase, whoever it was would have had to present himself at the luggage counter, show the ticket, have the suitcase retrieved from the shelves, open it, plunder it, take what he wanted, close it and hand it back to the attendant … a slow process. Some caution may have been necessary, particularly if he didn’t want to be remembered by the luggage office staff.
                  It’s also noted that the police, when they took possession of the case, remarked that it was neatly packed, all in order.

                  March 3, 2020
  3. отвлекающий маневр #

    Is there anything to suggest that the “ransacking” of the suitcase took place at the left luggage counter?

    Why couldn’t the case have been collected, removed to another place, “ransacked” (neatly) and then returned?

    March 3, 2020
    • That may have meant the holder needed another luggage docket.

      March 3, 2020
      • отвлекающий маневр #

        Refresh my memory: was the case found via a docket? I had thought it was found unclaimed by left-luggage staffers some time later.

        If so: it’s retrieved using the docket found by the killer. Ransacked. Returned (new docket issued). New docket disposed of immediately and terminally.

        Now that I have written this down, though, I can’t quite see the logic in either this M.O. or the counter top ransack in situ: why wouldn’t the perp(s) just collect the case and dispose of its unwanted contents elsewhere? It would draw less attention and destroy more evidence.

        March 3, 2020
        • The case was found after the S.A. police had the local newspapers run an article asking various places, hotels etc, if they had any unclaimed baggage.

          March 3, 2020
          • As far as your second question is concerned, perhaps the suitcase wasn’t plundered and Keane was the one who revisited it to retrieve something of value .. he may have been too wary to carry a large sum of money around until he’d made the deal he came to town for.
            Which was a grave mistake.

            March 3, 2020
  4. отвлекающий маневр #

    And might also imply Keane was in town for longer than is commonly assumed, rendering the arrival timeline (Melbourne or Broken Hill Express, 90 minute wait, luggage deposit, train/bus ticket fumble) far less certain, giving different meaning to the ticket stubs found on him.

    March 3, 2020
    • This is all good, but who was this T Keane and where did he come from?

      March 3, 2020
  5. отвлекающий маневр #

    Who knows? One or more of:

    1) He was T. Keane, from out of town. Here at someone else’s behest to collect an automobile and move it across a state line.

    2) He was T. Keane, from out of town. Here because he’s ill, perhaps dying and/or thinks/knows he’s the father of J. Harkness’ son. He wants to say hello and/or goodbye.

    3) He was Pavel Fedosimov and/or some as yet unnamed Soviet defector and/or KGB/GRU officer who may/may not have borrowed that identity at some point prior. Here because it’s the end of the road.

    1) and 2) don’t preclude each other. The connection between them might be Jess. 3) feels like an outlier, but it’s an attractive one. 2) and 3) don’t completely preclude each other, but now we’re in Boxall’s ‘melodrama’ territory.

    There are probably 4), 5), 6) et cetera ad infinitum.

    March 3, 2020
    • 3 is out … noses are noses, and Fed’s nose ain’t Keane’s nose, nosir. All we knows is he knowed how to knock off cars … that’s what he had a nose for. Know it.

      March 3, 2020
  6. отвлекающий маневр #

    Where did il Duomo get to with the nitkeepers? Is there a crossover between the gambling and auto theft worlds?

    Could Keano have been moonlighting as the bagman?

    March 3, 2020
    • The nitkeepers are on hold .. Nick’s itch is benign for a time .. and I never met a hood who had problems with taking another man’s shady trade dollar.

      March 3, 2020
  7. отвлекающий маневр #

    Assuming Keane’s tool set is what we think it is, Keane had knowledge, skills and – presumably – experience.

    He’s likely assembled and fashioned the kit himself, including the customised knife, its cloth tape sheath. So he has some dexterity. He has some pride.

    He has finesse.

    Where does a 40’s TWOC’er learn his trade – his ART? On the legit side of the street? As a mechanic, in auto sales, etc.? Or from an old lag somewhere, handing down The Knowledge. In the pub, the club or in a cell?

    March 3, 2020
    • From necessity.

      March 3, 2020
      • отвлекающий маневр #

        Necessity might be a motivator, but it’s a poor teacher in a high risk endeavor like theft. Keane is part of an ecosystem. He can’t operate alone. If he’s moving cars around, he’s moving them between supply and demand. Between people. He’s in the people business: reading intentions, understanding motivations, calculating risk.

        He’s learned his craft from someone. He’s learned it somewhere. Maybe he left a trace.

        March 3, 2020
        • He did leave a trace. His name.

          March 3, 2020
          • отвлекающий маневр #

            And the name alone has got us where? How many T. Keane census, birth/death/military-record candidates have been found? Too many to handle? Or too few to provide an answer.

            I’m not 100% familiar with the history, but was under the impression that the name alone was not proving to be enough.

            March 3, 2020
          • отвлекающий маневр #

            I’m not sure anyone’s going to be satisfied with him being “a T. Keane” until we can says he’s “THE T. Keane”. A man with a name, face and story beyond being the propped-up stiff at the foot of the steps below the Children’s Home in a suburb of Adelaide.

            March 3, 2020
            • There are a couple of us who have waded through all the Keanes in the NAA files without success, you may well have done a little research yourself, it is another and far more difficult process to do the same with American archives.

              March 4, 2020
  8. thedude47 #

    Thats the kicker cos Keane was probably a yank. Definitely not an Aussie because he would have been claimed. Probably lived in a boarding house or similar temporary accomodation and located to Aus somewhere either during or directly after WW2.

    March 4, 2020
    • Back in the very early days I thought Keane may have served in the South West Pacific, in MacArthur’s Small Ship Company. By some accounts it was the Wild West up there post war and there were plenty of opportunities to make a personal dollar from repatriated war materiel. I thought Keane may have qualified 4F because of his feet then joined the General’s outfit, even managed to contact one of Boxall’s shipmates, fellow called Keith Role … he didn’t know a Keane. Role delivered Boxall’s eulogy, sounded like a fine fellow.
      Boxall, by the way, was on leave in Sydney the month Harkness became pregnant … it occurred to me that if he was on leave from NG he may have been accompanied to Sydney by a couple of like servicemen, not all from the Crusader.

      March 4, 2020
  9. thedude47 #

    You could go completely insane once you enter Boxalls rabbit hole.

    As far as his involvement with Kean or the SM case in general Boxall is more overrated than Michael Jacksons Thriller album.

    Any connection by way of espionage is dispelled in my mind by the swift manner in which Harkness gave his name to the cops. A so called spy giving up another so easily. No way

    As far as any romantic or paternal connection , that goes out the window when years later a happily married Boxall agrees to be interviewed on national tele by a journalist who also happened to be a QC

    Would a master spy or illegitimate dad expose himself in such a public way ?

    Not if he had 2 cents to rub together for a brain and Boxall was no fool.

    March 4, 2020
    • One of the yank skippers in the Small Ships Co used to wear a pair of six guns and a Stetson. He had a very obedient crew.

      March 4, 2020
      • I’ve made a request to the Yank WW2 archive mob to see if they have anything on a Keane initial T who might have served in the Small Ships … take about a fortnight to get back to me they say. Next I’ll ask if they have any individual 4-F records. Who knows? Maybe no one has been down this path yet.

        March 4, 2020
  10. Clive #

    Question that goes through my mind, is why did Keane have his name on a couple of items in the suitcase? Is it possible that who ever was responsible for his demise was unaware that a suitcase was in storage at the railway station?

    March 4, 2020
    • Maybe so, Clive .. but his luggage stub was missing, as was the key to his suitcase. I don’t think anyone would be so trusting of railway staff to leave an unlocked suitcase in their care.

      March 4, 2020

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