A cover up or conspiracy? Arguments for and against.
I’m hijacking this discussion from Cipher Mysteries as it will no doubt soon be lost amongst the hundreds of comments in Pelling’s Misc Stuff category and to my mind questions such as these are to valuable to be left categorised as such.
The discussion on CM is ongoing and it’s my attention to update this thread as we go along, if we go along.
The first question put is if Gordon Strapps’ memory of the style of trousers on the man he was watching can be believed.
Milongal is a longtime contributor to the discussions on CM and my earlier attempts to engage him here reaped no reward. Which was not surprising as back in the bad old days I took everyone head-on with no regard to their feelings. Ask John Ruffles and Derek Abbott. I suppose you could put that down to too many years of contributing to the rough-houses that comprised surfing blog fraternities.
Milongal’s argument against a cover up or conspiracy, lifted from CM.
“While I agree there’s a good possibility the “drunk on the beach” wasn’t SM (I find it extraordinary that even Lyons who saw both wasn’t prepared to say he thought they were same), I think the stripes vs plain trousers is potentially just confused witnesses.”
“As I think I’ve ranted previously this is one of the reasons I struggle with too many ideas of conspiracy or cover up.”
The argument for a cover up or conspiracy.
There is no doubt that on occasion witnesses have been confused when asked to recall a situation in some detail: the colour or make of a car involved in a hit-run accident for instance, or the description of persons involved in a crime before they fled.
However the situation with Strapps was different. His deposition states he arrived at the top of the steps with Ms Neill about 7:20 pm and stayed until about 8:00 pm – and it’s noted that daylight saving was not in use in Adelaide between 1945 and 1948 – which puts Adelaide’s sunset on the evening in question at about 7: 15 pm.
From Strapps’ deposition:
“I noticed a man lying there when we got there. When I walked down the stairs, I noticed he was there. I could only see him from the waist downwards. He was lying on his back. When I walked along the landing I saw his left hand, and it was stretched out.”
“When I walked along the landing!”
“I thought they (the striped trousers) belonged to a suit, although I did not see his coat.”
I don’t consider Gordon Strapps as being confused at all. I see a curious young man with a sharp eye and a good memory of events.
“It was getting dusk at the time. When we left at 8 o’clock, the street lights were on. We could still see 20 yards away I suppose. The man was lying on his back when we arrived there. He was on his back all the time we were there, he did not shift to his side at any time. I shd say we were about ten yards from him, on his south-east. I think we would have been in a position to hear him if he coughed, as we kept on taking glances at him. We were curious but not suspicious. We did not hear any sound at all.”
“They (his legs) were straight out when we got there, not crossed. I only took a casual glance when I walked up the steps, his left leg had been dragged up, taking it up the sand a bit.”
And as far as Witness Lyon’s testimony is concerned, he viewed the man lying by the steps from a much greater distance.
Taken from Lyon’s deposition:
“He was laying adjacent to the steps in front of front of the Crippled Children’s Home within a yard of the steps. It was in quite an open position. I shd say the closest I was to the man was 15 to 20 yards, on the beach.”
The second question, put by пожалуйста who is better known here as English Boris from Yekaterinburg, is whether what appears to be a cover up or conspiracy is simply due to the SA police’s lax investigative processes.
English Boris’ argument against a cover up or conspiracy, lifted from CM.
“If there’s a cover up at work, isn’t it most likely to be covering up plod’s own shortcomings?”
” .. but it’s hard to judge if these (the long timelines) are even unusual for the time, let alone indicative of letting a cover up happen.”
The argument for a cover up or conspiracy.
Detective Sergeant Leane headed up a large team of dedicated-case detectives. Hardened, knowledgable and experienced men used to case deadlines and, no doubt, over-used to the reams of paperwork that a case produces. Paperwork that is filed and kept so as to be easily accessible in the first months of a crime or suspected crime. Particularly when murder is suspected.
The following is taken from DS Leane’s deposition.
“There is no fact that I know of which points towards suicide and abolishes the possibility of murder.”
And if I could paraphrase that:
“There is no fact that I know of which points towards carelessness and abolishes the possibility of a cover up with regard to the timeline concerning DS Leane’s 51 day delay in producing what proved to be the most crucial piece of case evidence.”
Hopefully we will be able to continue this post tonight with a further discussion about the appearance as evidence of a box of Bryant and May matches.
My thanks to Milongal, NickP and Boris for the opportunity to engage – all’s fair in love and conspiracies.
Any mistakes in context are mine.