PC Moss’ only newspaper interview tells a different story.
Constable John Moss, of Brighton, who received first advice of the mystery over the telephone, said to the Truth this week, “When I saw the body on the beach I could not resist the feeling that there was something about it not quite suggestive of sudden death from natural causes.
“For instance, the fingers of the dead man were heavily nicotined and yet, although there was half a packet of cigarettes in one of his pockets, he didn’t have a match on him.
“It occurred to me as rather strange that if a man who was obviously such a heavy smoker was going to spend a little time on the beach he would have gone there without matches. (my bold)
“Then, of course, the fact that he had neither papers of any kind or money in his possession provided more food for speculation as to what really happened to this man. He was a well set-up fellow, clean, and neatly dressed. There appeared to be no suggestion of his association with crime in any shape of form.
About the only things known about the dead man are that the day before he died he travelled to Adelaide on a St. Leonards bus and that before boarding the bus he bought a train ticket to Henley Beach. Both tickets were found on him.
What prompted him to decide on Somerton instead of Henley? That is one of the most puzzling features of the whole case; but then, of course, who knows that someone else didn’t do the prompting?
The man who rang Constable Moss with the news of the discovery of the body early on the morning of Wednesday, December 1, claimed to have seen the figure of a man in the identical spot about dusk the previous evening, and he declared the man alive.
Many thanks to Barry Traish.