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Detective Sergeant Lionel Leane –

First, the facts according to ex-Detective Gerry Feltus, author of The Unknown Man.

Feltus writes on p169 that the commonly accepted photograph of the Freeman Rubaiyat ‘could not be carried in the pocket of the clothing worn by The Somerton Man.’ In other words he would have had to carry it around in his hands. And if that’s not bad enough for the rusted on believers, Feltus goes on to say that the commonly accepted photograph of the torn page – that’s the one with a finger intruding in the shot – ‘was a copy produced in media depicting (the) actual copy of (the) rubaiyat.’

Images of both are below.

From this we can deduce that no photographs of the actual Rubaiyat and the torn page were taken and the newspapers were only informed of the finding then left to themselves to mock up their own images for newspaper publication, which seems to be an unlikely way to further the investigation, remembering the book was first bought to Leane’s attention on the 23rd of July, a month after the inquest was adjourned and his case no further forward.

That’s one.

A week later Leane sought the assistance of the Director of Naval Intelligence in Melbourne and sent them a photograph of the code and a copy of a similar Rubaiyat. The question being that if the accepted image of the Rubaiyat was of a publication too large to fit inside any of SM’s pockets, what was the sense of sending a similar one?

That’s two.

Not only that, it appears to be a no brainer that the Intelligence boffins would have appreciated having a look at the actual book just in case the code referred to something written somewhere inside the pages. That’s how clever spies work their trade.

That’s three.

There is no record of Detectives Brown, Gollan, Strangeways, Canney – in fact any member of the team seeing the Rubaiyat at any stage of the investigation.  In fact Brown is on record as saying that DS Leane lost the book in his filing system when asked by the suave Stuart Littlemore if he knew of its whereabouts. Though we know Leane didn’t manage to lose the diminutive Tamam Shud slip.

That’s four.

So here’s our man Leane just one month after the inquest was adjourned while Coroner Cleland waited for further evidence to be made available and he had the Rubaiyat connected to the TS slip, a code written on the back cover, the telephone number of a woman living a couple of hundred yards away from where the body was found, the record of an interview with her and her dramatic reaction when she viewed the dead man’s cast.

But he never made the call to Coroner Cleland, who shut the whole thing down nine years later for lack of any further evidence.

That’s five.

Not only that, in the Cleland’s’ summary of findings after the initial inquest he submitted that he didn’t know where the Somerton Man had died. Nine years later Cleland had changed his mind and said he’d died on Somerton Beach.

But that’s for another day.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. The Sly Dog #

    Maybe the ghosts of DS Leane, and his superiors, have influence over the readers… Is there any information on other cases that he investigated over his policing career?
    N.B. we can’t exclude Mr Prosper McTaggart Thomson – a big strong bloke – linked to the phone number. Also SM turned up dead over 800 yards from 90A. A little less if you crossed streets on a diagonal and cut corners across vacant land at the time… semantics I know but a couple of hundred yards vs nearly a thousand yards.

    May 6, 2022
    • Prosper wasn’t that healthy, he was medically discharged from the army in the early forties with hemoptysis, that’s the spitting up of blood from the lungs or bronchial tubes, plus he claimed shell shock despite not actively serving. What’s intriguing is that the blood condition could be treated with digitalis, a glycoside.
      Probably had a bottle in the Moseley Street bathroom. No prescription needed. Chemist Freeman just down the road. His name kept out of it for over 70 years. Prosper never bothered by the police.

      May 6, 2022
      • And what’s more, the dire state of the Somerton Man’s health would surely have him taking some sort of medication … though none was found.

        May 6, 2022
  2. The Sly Dog #

    No doubt, but Prosper was healthy enough to live into his early eighties, which is older than a lot of his WW2 contemporaries. As you mentioned, never bothered by police on the SM matter despite domestic arrangements around the time. If ever there was a Adelaide-based allies-friendly spook in the story, who is the money on? The nurse who coughs up too many details to the cop Canney or Prosper who successfully remains in the shadows.

    May 6, 2022
  3. I’ve got a pair of board shorts over twenty years old with less loose threads.

    May 6, 2022
  4. The Sly Dog #

    Loose threads, Pthhh… the very fabric that so much SM discussion is based on! That’s why I am eagerly awaiting some hard science; results of the exhumation. And questioning everything.

    May 6, 2022

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