The person of interest who was of no interest ..
‘ In the afternoon of 26 July Leane and other detectives conveyed the nurse (Harkness) to the South Australian Museum where she was shown the plaster cast of the deceased. Her reaction to seeing the bust was described as “completely taken aback, to the point of giving the appearance that she was about to faint”. She stated that she could not identify the bust as anyone she knew.’ Feltus.
It would appear that not one of the three detectives present at the museum made any note of the remarkable events of that day. Neither did they request that Harkness present herself for a follow-up interview, despite her being a person of interest.
The only one.
Many have accused the South Australian Police of gross incompetence with regard to the Somerton Body case, but how likely is it that all three detectives exhibited the same degree of incompetence at the same time?
If you think that unlikely, then another reason for their lack of a normal procedural response might be that they were under instruction to proceed no further. An instruction issued from a ‘higher authority’, to quote Harkness’ daughter, Kate.
Which leads us back to the unexplained appearance of the box of Bryant & May matches which was ‘later established to be with the body’.
Which, in turn, leads us back to Lawson’s evasions in the final stages of his interview with Stuart Littlemore.
As a matter of fact we may never have learnt of Harkness’ reaction to seeing the bust if it wasn’t for Paul Lawson. The newspaper coverage only spoke of her denial of knowing the deceased.
Imagine the headlines if they had been told of her near-fainting spell and refusal to answer any questions. Not to mention the pressure that would have been demanded of the police to make further enquires.