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Soapbox 2 “Paul Lawson told Clive Turner DS Leane knew the Somerton Man’s identity.” 

Soapbox series number 2

Clive Turner had some long conversations with Paul Lawson so you could say he knew him better than most folks who come by this way. During a chat with Clive on the 22nd of May 2020, Lawson said Detective Sergeant Leane had told him he knew The Somerton Man’s identity* How and when that happened is likely to have been in the days between June 2nd 1949 and June 15th when Lawson was in close contact with them in the mortuary.


When Lawson was given the job of producing a plaster-cast likeness of Carl Webb he may have expected to be able do the job in relative peace and quiet, particularly as the old Parkside Mortuary, now known as the Glenside Mortuary must have been a very unpleasant place to work, particularly with Webb’s corpse being six months old and despite it being embalmed, not to mention the odiferous nature of the other corpses in cold storage including that of Tibor Kaldor. Remembering too the number of times Webb’s corpse had to be slid out and examined by the dozens of hopefuls who thought they may have known him and the ghouls who were only curious.

The old Parkside Mortuary, also known as the “Dead House”

Yet despite what the place must have smelt like, the investigating police were looking over Lawson’s shoulder for almost the entire process.

The following information taken from GF’s The Unknown Man.

2nd June 49 – Lawson taken to morgue by Detectives to view the body.

7 June 49  – Lawson, with the assistance of several police and Detective Brown removes the body from cold store. At this stage the body was beginning to thaw and discharge liquids.

8 June 49 – Lawson works on bust as Detective Brown and ‘another‘ police officer discussed the case.

10 June 49 – Lawson removes remaining mould – Detective  Brown inspects and approves it as Lawson commenced to remove some of the stitches that had been placed in the head during the autopsy as Professor Cleland had asked him to remove part of Webb’s brain, but given the imminent funeral arrangements Lawson was advised to go no further and not to replace the stitches he had already removed. It should be noted that Dr. Dwyer did not remove Webbs brain during his autopsy though he may have examined it in situ, hence the stitches.

15 June 49 – Lawson completes mould for Detectives Brown, Noblet, Leane and Professor Cleland to inspect and approve, Cleland being ‘very displeased’ that his request for a sample had not been met.

17 June 1949
– The inquest commenced.

The investigating police already knew SM’s identity.

23 July 1949 – Chemist Freeman Freeman hands the coded Rubaiyat to Detective Sergeant Leane.

The investigating police already knew SM’s identity.

25 July 1949 (abt) – Detective Canney arrives at 90a Moseley Street and interviews Jessica Harkness.

The investigating police already knew SM’s identity.

26 July 1949 – Detective Sergeant Leane and other detectives accompany Harkness to the South Australian Museum where she is shown the bust, he reaction was described as being ‘completely taken aback.’ She did not identify the bust and only answered No to the questions asked of her by the detectives.

The investigating police already knew SM’s identity.

So did Jessica Harkness.

Her name was kept secret for sixty-four years until unearthed in about 2014, years after her death. Ditto with chemist Freeman.

And now we know why Prosper wasn’t interviewed.

And we know why the police stymied the investigation, as described in excruciating detail in the preceding post.


Run to 1:57 and watch as Lawson attempts to keep Littlemore at bay, realising he may have gone a little too far with his answers and as a result attempts to shut the interview down.

Littlemore asks, ‘did you get the feeling that any of them really did know him?’

Is he referring to Jessica Harkness, or DS Leane?

Thanks to Clive and Dude47  … much appreciated.

NEXT ….. Soapbox series number 3

We need to know why Cleland wanted to take some of Webb’s brain back to his laboratory.

There might be some participatory tension.

*Clive emailed me this information on October 19th 2022

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jerry Klindt #

    So, getting somebody named Webb to preside at the graveside ceremony was either a joke (a pretty good one) or a signal to somebody, or both.

    September 20, 2022
  2. Just between you and me, Jerry, this case has just been turned on it’s head … be interesting to see who notices.

    September 20, 2022
  3. Raul #

    I don’t hear the name Carl Webb anywhere in that video, or anything about Leane telling Lawson that they knew who SM was.

    September 20, 2022
    • That’s right … it’s not in the video. Read the first paragraph again.

      September 20, 2022
      • Raul #

        When did Turner first reveal this conversation, and to whom? Why didn’t he step forward to clear up the mystery?

        September 20, 2022
        • He did, nobody took any notice …

          September 20, 2022
          • Raul #

            Are you going to present any supporting evidence for this assertion?

            September 20, 2022
            • Raul, I would have thought a first hand account from a trustworthy source would be sufficient. What more do you propose?

              September 20, 2022
  4. Raul #

    Proof that before SM was publicly identified by DNA that Turner had ever spoken or written the name “Carl Webb”. If you know him well enough to take his word for it, why did he not tell you?

    September 20, 2022
    • Tell you what, Raul, why don’t you pop over to Gordon Cramer’s Tamamshud blogspot and ask him why he decided not to feature Clive’s scoop …. from memory he was the first to see it. Clive only emailed me the news of it yesterday.

      September 20, 2022
      • Raul #

        Any news organization in Australia would have jumped at the opportunity to check out whether an identified subject was SM.

        September 20, 2022
        • Raul, Derek Abbott has the only voice the Press ever listens to, and he chooses his subject very carefully.

          September 20, 2022
      • a lurker #

        oh yesterday – I thought you were doing a hypothetical and that was meant to be a joke (because it said it was revealed a month into the future (it says 19 October)). Honestly thought that bit was a bit of a joke.

        September 23, 2022
  5. thedude747 #

    I don’t know where I stand on all this YET but I will say Clive has always been a straight shooter.

    September 20, 2022
  6. Clive #

    Perhaps I should clarify the record. Leane told Paul Lawson that ‘they’ knew who the SM was. Paul Lawson being Paul Lawson would not add any other information, despite my prodding! He was a wily old bird, even at 101 years old.

    September 20, 2022
    • Raul #

      Thank you, Mr. Turner. I certainly don’t doubt anything you have said, it is just that it was being grossly misrepresented on this site. Lawson has always seemed to me a peripheral figure to the case who liked to tease and impress.

      September 21, 2022
  7. dude47 #

    That’s big news Clive. My first thoughts are that surely Lawson must have turned around and said to Leane ” so why the f…. have you bought me down here to create a bust of a leaking, half frozen , 6 month old corpse when you already know how he is ? “

    September 20, 2022
    • That’s you speaking Dude, Lawson was man with a different language from a different era and one made complicit in the lie .. one man against the Adelaide CIB, who would have believed him? Let’s see how many believe it now.

      September 20, 2022
  8. misca #

    Um. Was that a pic of Lawson when he was young?

    September 21, 2022
  9. Yep …. smooth looking bloke you reckon? Built like a brick shithouse too.

    September 21, 2022
    • misca #

      I guess that’s what helped him get to a hundred and one!

      That and not rocking the boat.

      September 21, 2022
  10. You know in that Littlemore clip where Lawson stalls and won’t say if he thought someone knew SM’s identity, for a whole lot of years I thought he meant Harkness. What about you, Misca, guilty of it too?

    September 21, 2022
  11. misca #

    I still think it’s what he meant. And I still think that they were mostly a bunch of incompetent ninnies. If they all knew it was Charles Webb, what was the point of the bust? Seems like they f-d up and thought there was much more to it all than there likely was…

    The only thing that gives me pause is knowing that she put her family through this shit and speculation for so long.

    And so, we keep looking.

    Around and around we go.

    September 21, 2022
  12. Clive #

    Pete, I apologise for my note about Paul Lawson & Leane, my fault, I should have made it clear that Paul told me that Leane knew of the SM i.d. At that point Paul changed the subject, I was sat opposite him and I remember he gave me a slight smile. If Paul had spelt out the name, Carl Webb, I would have been broadcasting to the world, well, to those interested. But, as I mentioned in my previous post, Paul Lawson wouldn’t go the extra mile. If he had made a promise to keep
    dumb, he certainly honoured that promise.

    September 21, 2022
    • Fair enough, nothing to apologise for. Leane knew the body was Webb’s and you were face to face with Lawson when he told you so. Brilliant.

      September 21, 2022
  13. dude47 #

    Knew who it was or thought he knew who it was is my question. Leane may have been barking up the wrong tree.

    September 21, 2022
    • There’s the rub. Leane didn’t run an investigation worth shouting about did he? The bloke’s work was very second rate.

      September 21, 2022
  14. dude47 #

    Watching the Littlemore doco for the first time in a while today and I can’t help but find the old boys mind glowingly annoying in their interviews.

    Leane is clearly well past his used by date so he’s got a partial excuse but what’s with these cute little answers from all of them ???

    Boxals is the worst the old poser but they’re all speaking in riddles. F..n Boxals cute answer to the espionage question is “its a melodramatic thesis isn’t it” said with a smarmy grin. Thanks Alf for f… NOTHING !!

    Then there’s Lawson ducking and weaving. Like trying to nail jelly to a wall. Fair dinkum lads just F…n cut the crap and tell us what you know.

    All this protection of the names is a joke. The chemist the nurse…FFS they were friggin dim witted nobodies.

    If they had just opened up in the 70s when Littlemore did that doco they could have gotten to the bottom of it. All the main players were still around. Robin was in his prime PT and Jo were up and about. Carl had siblings in their prime and Doff …..well who the F….. knows where she was but she was still around.

    As much as I baulk at the theory your angling at PB with the soapbox series BUT you do start to wonder what the big F..n secret was and was there more to it.

    September 21, 2022
    • Wait for number three, Dude, when we claim to know why Prof Cleland wanted some of Webb’s brain, despite it being six month’s old.
      That old boy was a seriously weird unit.

      September 21, 2022
  15. dude47 #

    Maybe he was going to serve it with some fave beans and a nice chianti ! Now that would be weird.

    September 21, 2022
    • I just finished reading the Hannibal Lecter series, mouth watering stuff ..

      September 21, 2022

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