1. Paul Lawson’s tender ground.
Update as follows ..
“The idea of casting the skull was so that Cleland could keep the skull for future examination and bury the man with a substituted plaster skull. After the bust was moulded, Lawson proceeded to peel back the scalp in order to remove the skull, as ordered, when the Police hurriedly removed the body insisting it had to be buried immediately. Given that the body had not been buried for six months, it seemed rather odd to Lawson that the Police could not wait another day. And in reality, the body did not get buried for another 6 days. Thus, the cast of the skull and hands were unfortunately never carried out.”
“Lawson was not allowed by the Police to transport the body to his laboratory, and the moulding work had to be carried out at the City Morgue using limited materials and tools. Lawson was not allowed any assistance, and carried out the work with three detectives watching over him.”
Bold is mine
Part of Byron Deveson’s comment on Mike Dash’s site. Reading it today prompted the post.
“There is a very interesting file in the NAA – it contains a transcript of all the takes made during the production of the 1978 TV program concerning the Somerton Man mystery (ABC report “Inside Story”. Interviewer Stuart Littlemore). Lionel Leane, Len Brown, Paul Lawson and others, were interviewed by Stuart Littlemore. The material is in the NAA. Search for “The Somerton Beach story” 1977 Series number C673. Item bar code 7937872.”
In the interview, Lawson had just recounted to Littlemore the difficulties he had in making a bust off a long-dead body slowly thawing from months of refrigeration – It was oozing moisture, the skin softening and beginning to slough away under his hands despite the embalming. The smell almost overpowering.
Lawson went on to say the completed bust was then taken to the Coroner’s Court before being bought back to the museum, where ‘quite a number of people’ viewed it.
Littlemore. “Did any of them stand out in your memory?”
Lawson. “Ordinary people, ordinary couples, ordinary man on the street, if such a person exists.”
Littlemore. “Did you get the feeling that any of them did know him?”
Lawson pauses ..
“Ah .. I don’t know.’
Littlemore. “Well that seems to suggest .. well you’re a very cagey man Mr Lawson. It seems to suggest to me that, maybe, somebody did know him.’
Lawson. ‘I wouldn’t know.’
Littlemore. “Did anyone think they knew him?’
Lawson. “I don’t know.”
Here Lawson pauses, half-smiling.
“By the way, you’re on tender ground,” he goes on, laughing softly.
Littlemore – “Explain why?”
Lawson – “Cut it boys.”
Littlemore – “Well don’t worry about them.”
Lawson, still smiling – “No, I’m not going on with that part of it.”
Lawson almost replies, but thinks better of it and remains silent.
“I mean what you suggest to me is that there was somebody who obviously did know him.”
“You’re not going to tell me”
You could say that ..
– An individual who knew the Somerton Man visited the museum to view his bust after it was returned from the Coroner’s Court. This person wouldn’t have been a member of the Police investigative team or the local press as they already knew what the Somerton Man looked like. He wouldn’t have been part of the Coroner’s party for the same reason.
An ordinary man on the street – if such a person exists – came to view the bust and Lawson’s reticence to identify him might indicate he didn’t come alone, but was accompanied by someone who subsequently requested that Lawson to keep silent about his identity. Either that or the man’s identification alone was enough to keep him schtum.
A similar request for anonymity was made by Chemist Freeman.