Where was Jessica Harkness on the night of November 30th?
Where were you, Jessica Harkness, on the night of November 30th?
Do you think that might have been one of the questions the detectives asked her ?
Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of where we really are with regards to this mystery with the flicking back and forth between dated websites and old newspaper articles which only repeat what is commonly believed to have happened on the night of 30 November, or by simply following the set-in-stone Abbott doctrine.
Gordon Cramer’s zealous pursuit of tiny writing has him backed into a very tight corner and Nick Pelling, with his absolute denial of anything hinting at a conspiracy has hamstrung his own efforts considerably.
Which leaves this place, stuck out there like a shag on a rock.
It’s as if all the questions have been answered and no advances have been made in the case since 1948 when in fact we know they have, though none of them shed any light on the identity of the dead man. All they do is partly open the door of the dark room that hides Jessica Harkness’ secrets.
The first witness, John Lyons, said he saw a many lying by the Childrens Home steps at about 7:00 pm on the evening of 30 November 1948. He thought the man was drunk, which suggests he had been holding up the bar at the Pier Hotel which was situated on Jetty Road Glenelg and the most likely.
The second and third witnesses, Olive Neill and Gordon Strapps, thought he either looked dead to the world, or, in her case, plain old D.E.A.D! Neill also noticed a fellow in a suit and wearing a hat who was looking down on the dead-drunk from the esplanade with what appeared to be an uncommon interest in that he remained there for about five minutes.
That’s three people saying pretty much the same thing about the fellow they saw splayed out on the sand on Somerton Beach that evening.
But how could a man who appeared to be too drunk to stand have walked the 2.3 kilometres from the Pier Hotel at Jetty Road to Bickford Terrace, unnoticed, then navigate the steps down to the beach before falling into a near comatose state?
So what was all that about?
Coroner Cleland – “Although he died during the night of the 30th November – 1st December, I cannot say where he died.
If the body of the deceased was not that of the man mentioned (seen on the previous evening), and if the body had been taken to the place where it was found, the difficulties disappear.”
Professor John Cleland – “The lividity around the ears and neck was perhaps surprising in view of his position, but it was explainable. It would depend on how much the head was supported, it may have been slight, perhaps no more than one’s head supported on a pillow.” (So much for positional asphyxia, a theory long propounded by Prof. Abbott)
Professor Sir Stanton Hicks – ” …. If it (the poison) had not been self-administered, and the body brought there (Somerton Beach), that would remove any doubts as to the time at which death took place, as well as any other difficulties.”
Gerry Feltus – “They saw a man carrying another on his shoulder, walking south, near the water’s edge.”
“She had a dark side, a very strong dark side,”