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What’s this? Bloodstains on the neck of Webb’s shirt and a MUTILATED copy of the Rubaiyat found in the back of a UTILITY TRUCK?

But first, let’s clear a few small things up.

Professor Cleland wrote a few notes on a copy of a report (see link) he had made to the Coroner and in the first paragraph he mentions he had frequent consultations with DS Leane and visited the site where the body was found with him as well as accompanying Leane to view the case exhibits and the body. Cleland also interviewed and discussed the case with Dr Dwyer, Mr Cowan, Sir Stanton Hicks, Mr Lipaham (lecturer in pharmacy), Dr Poynton and others. In other words Cleland covered the case as thoroughly as you would expect from a man of his distinction and reputation, not to mention that he was previously reported to have assisted in over 700 inquests.

The formal report itself contains a few surprises and both of them have to do with pockets.

The Fob Pocket.

Cleland writes that ‘in an easily-overlooked small money pocket on the right side of the front of the trousers was a small piece of paper  .. etc’ (Gordon Cramer please note.)

The Ticket Pocket.

Cleaned writes and I’ve condensed ..  ‘found in Webb’s ticket pocket were his ticket to St Leonards and a ticket to Henley Beach.’

The Ticket Pocket – Bond Suits

external ticket pocket with flap, other ticket pockets appeared as a slit and that may have been why whoever stripped the body of ID and money etc missed  finding the tickets.

However the most remarkable surprises can be read in Cleland’s scrawled notes  .. these matters have been discussed previously here and there I’m told but I must have missed that particular bus.

Bloodstains on Webb’s Clothing.

Sandra P. van Tongeron writes on DA’s FB site : “Concerning the above notes (see link at end of post), it is curious why they did not follow up on the poison theory by checking the body for wounds on the place of said blood stains on the clothing (in the neck of the suit and on the shirt near a tear, as is mentioned in the above notes) or analyse the black powder (if I correctly recall from another document). If one is stabbed/sliced in the neck, one reaches for the afflicted area which may result in defensive cuts/scratches on the back of the hand, as also described.”

Abbott’s response:

Ok those are Burt Cleland’s personal notes to self I found in an archive over 10 yrs ago.”

And not surprisingly, Professor Abbott made little mention if it. None in fact.

That’s one


The Utility Truck.

1948 Fargo DeLuxe Utility (Australia) | Chrysler Australia L… | Flickr

From page 9 of the file, dated 5/5/70.

“A mutilated copy of Omar K found thrown into the back of a utility truck in Glenelg … etc”

Mutilated we’re ok with, sort of, if that’s what you’d call a book with a small square torn out of the last page.


There you have it, and I’m not going to start a bonfire by giving Gerry Feltus and his Chemist Freeman explanation any criticism as he was almost wholly dependant on hearsay with his account of the circumstances of Webb’s death and the finding of the Rubaiyat. However, I doubt Professor Cleland would be easily duped, though it would help if he had noted who gave him the utility information so late in the piece.

That’s two.


So, make of them what you will.

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    So, I suppose the question, well, one of them, is who undressed him? Surely, any blood stains/stab wound etc would have aroused suspicions straight away about the manner of his death and be reported?

    November 8, 2022
  2. Moss took the body to the morgue where it was stripped of all clothing and the naked body was placed on a steel sliding stretcher. Feltus p40

    November 8, 2022
  3. I don’t think the 5/5/70 entry about the ute is in Cleland’s hand. Looks different from any we’ve seen so far.

    November 8, 2022
    • Perhaps you could point us to an example of Cleland’s writing … though the Professor thinks differently.

      November 8, 2022
  4. misca #

    I think lonerangeraus is referring to the bit at the end that is clearly in different writing:

    “In Denda – 5-5-70
    Mutilated copy of Omar K found thrown into the back of a utility truck in Glenelg? – Not all copies of Omar K contain the ending “Tamman Shude”.”

    November 9, 2022
    • a lurker #

      5/5/70 is presumably the date. This is someone adding notes after the fact and possibly getting it wrong (suppose someone said “thrown in the back of a car”, and the person hearing it thinks “how the hell does that work? must be a ute”)

      November 9, 2022
      • By that late date Cleland would have known all about the ‘businessman’ whose brother-in-law found the book in the back footwell of the car they were travelling in … So why did he change the narrative?
        Then again, he was born in 1878 and died in 1971 so perhaps his great age foxed his memory.

        November 9, 2022
  5. In Denda ….. ? Anyone?

    November 9, 2022
  6. Clive #

    Could mean ‘in addenda’=something extra/more information. But why the question mark after Glenelg?

    November 9, 2022
  7. Just a quick correction to your post, the bloodstain was only on shirt, not on coat, which led to the query about this. Why on shirt and not coat?

    November 11, 2022
    • Noted, thanks. I’m having trouble reading the note on page 8 where Cleland notes there was a’large blood-tinted stain on back of … ????

      November 11, 2022
      • misca #


        Shirt – large blood-tainted stain in back of most worn tip?
        on one side mg (mending) of a tear.

        November 12, 2022
        • Jerry Klindt #

          Slight variation of Misca’s reading:

          Shirt – large blood-tinted stain on back of shirt near top on one side of [something] of a tear.

          Dude’s writing is almost as bad as mine.

          November 12, 2022
        • Thanks … now we have a large bloodstain on the shirt Webb was wearing. Doesn’t exactly help in understanding what happened to him does it?

          November 12, 2022
          • misca #

            Blood-tainted stain on worn parts of his mended shirt. Could be that the shirt belonged to someone else before he donned it. Not a mention of this otherwise.

            November 12, 2022
  8. Jerry Klindt #

    I propose that the stain was on the shirt he was wearing when taken to the mortuary. (And was probably much smaller and less vivid than your photo.) Since the singlet beneath it and the pullover and coat over it didn’t have stains in the corresponding places, the stain would have been old (days, weeks, months?). Once set, it can be difficult to get some stains completely removed. The person at the morgue didn’t attach any importance to an old stain on a piece of clothing when there was no blood on the body or the surrounding items of clothing. That person didn’t know we would be critiquing his work seven decades later, so he wasn’t extra careful about documenting every little detail that he considered unimportant.

    November 12, 2022
    • JK, there wasn’t such a person as a morgue attendant at the time, Feltus notes that Moss was assisted in carrying the body into the morgue, probably by the ambo driver and then the body was stripped and placed on a trolley before being wheeled into the cold cupboard. By all accounts, Webb was a careful dresser who kept himself clean, neat and tidy. The only soiled item in his case was a pair of underdacks. I can’t see him hanging onto an old bloodstained shirt, let alone wearing it.

      November 12, 2022

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