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Parallels between Carl Webb’s behaviour, his physical characteristics and ASD

‘He would be perfectly reasonable for a time, but then without any apparent cause he would completely ignore people and quite often be rude.’

‘Even early in our marriage he sometimes refused to speak to me for hours on end.’

‘One night in the year 1945 when he was losing he got his long bladed carving knife and threatened a guest who had won money from him.’

‘One night in January 1946, he told me that we were not suitable for each other, and would be better apart. He was quite rational on this occasion, but the following day he was enraged and refused to say anything further on the matter when I tried to discuss his statement.’

‘If I asked him anything concerning the conduct of the flat, he would fly into a rage and abuse me, calling me a dirty rotten bitch.’

‘I went to the side window, and lit a match to wake him up. He accused me of trying to set the curtains on fire. He finally came to the door and struck me.’

‘The following afternoon, after staying overnight with friends, I entered the flat to change my clothes. He came into my room and struck me again, he knocked me across my bed and I struck my head on the wall.’

‘A week later I went away to Lorne for a holiday and remained there for 14 days . On the evening of my return from Lorne I asked him about my cat, which was sick. He flew into a rage and abused me, calling me a bloody bastard and a dirty bitch. He threatened me and I told him I would call the police if he didn’t stop abusing me. With that he tried to strike me with a kitchen fork. I grabbed the nearest thing for protection – a sugar basin – and threw it at him, then ran for my life out of the front door. By this time the neighbours had come out of the flats above. Just as I cleared the doorstep he kicked me so hard that my spine was bruised for some time.’

Dorothy Webb.


Carl Webb was sullen, rude, violent, wrote his own poetry and may have had mental issues – according to Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick.

Mental issues / Aggression.


Carl Webb, according to his wife Dorothy would regularly go to bed at 7 in the evening and once was found to have ingested about 40 sedatives (Luminal / Phenobarbital).

Sedatives / Suicide.


Many have theorised that the reason Carl Webb had such well developed calves was that he practiced ballet or played football while others, Gordon Cramer in particular, have suggested he was a ‘toe-walker’.



6 handkerchiefs were found in Webb’s suitcase ..

plus 6 (drafting) pencils ..

plus 8 large envelopes.

Obsessions and Repetitive Behaviour. (This could be a wide one)


Mental issues / Aggression.

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by markedly impaired social interaction, impaired communication, and restricted/repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. In addition to challenges caused by core symptoms, maladaptive behaviors such as aggression can be associated with ASD and can further disrupt functioning and quality of life. For adults with ASD, these behaviors can portend adverse outcomes (e.g., harm to others or to the individual with ASD, hindering of employment opportunities, criminal justice system involvement). This article reviews the scientific literature to provide an update on evidence-based interventions for aggression in adults with ASD.”



“Of 2 221 009 paediatric patients in the database, 5739 patients had a diagnosis of ASD, and 8.4% of patients with ASD also had a diagnosis of toe-walking (n = 484). For typically developing children in the database, 0.47% of patients had a diagnosis of persistent toe-walking. In all, 59.3% of ASD patients underwent physical therapy, 7.4% serial casting and 3.3% surgical correction, compared with 38.1%, 3.6% and 1.2% of normally developing children, respectively (chi-square 6.4031; p < 0.040699). Without intervention, 63.6% of patients with ASD continued to toe-walk within ten years of their diagnosis, with 19.3% of patients without ASD (chi-square 82.9762; p < 0.0001).”


Sedatives / Epilepsy

“Luminal is in the broader category of central nervous system (CNS) depressants along with other barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. Depressants work by suppressing the central nervous system and limiting excitability. Like other depressants, Luminal can make you feel relaxed, sleepy, lethargic, or depressed.”

Luminal Addiction


Sedatives / Phenobarbital

‘Luminal is used alone or with other medications to control seizures. Controlling and reducing seizures lets you do more of your normal daily activities, reduces your risk of harm when you lose consciousness, and lessens your risk for a possibly life-threatening condition of frequent, repeated seizures. Phenobarbital belongs to a class of drugs known as barbiturate anticonvulsants/hypnotics. It works by controlling the abnormal electrical activity in the brain that occurs during a seizure. This medication is also used for a short time (usually no more than 2 weeks) to help calm you or help you sleep during periods of anxiety. It works by affecting certain parts of the brain to cause calming.’


Epilepsy / Autism

Epilepsy and autism often occur together. Research shows a 12.1% prevalence rate of epilepsy in autistic people, with a higher prevalence in women and girls. There is a 6.3% prevalence of autism in people who have epilepsy, with a higher prevalence rate in men and boys.’,rate%20in%20men%20and%20boys.



‘This toolkit examines the warning signs for the general public listed on the American Association of Suicidology (AAS)’s website and explains important considerations to be aware of while working with autistic people. A diagnosis of autism is a risk factor of suicide. Also, there are aspects of autism that can be misconstrued to be warning signs of suicide. A deeper investigation, with direct questions and intentional communication, is needed while assessing a person with autism for suicide.’

Click to access Autism-Warning-Signs-3.pdf


Obsessions and Repetitive Behaviour

‘Some individuals on the spectrum collect scraps of paper, receipts, pop tabs, or small metal objects. Even though the objects aren’t meaningful or needed, and even when they create a hazard in the home, the individual becomes very agitated when asked to part with them.’,asked%20to%20part%20with%20them.

Autism signs and characteristics: checklist for adults


ASD might also explain the code and the positioning of the letter A in that it’s inexplicable to anyone but Carl Webb.


*Julien Offray de La Mettrie (eighteenth-century French physician and philosopher)

55 Comments Post a comment
  1. Given his grades and artistic talent at primary school, ASD would be a good possibility. In all the text before the ASD bit, the relevant part is “according to Dorothy”! I feel Dorothy is all BS.

    February 20, 2023
  2. ‘Constable Carter advised me to see about having him bound over to keep the peace, and agreed with me that he could be dangerous.’ Dorothy Webb.
    BS you say? Based on what?

    February 20, 2023
  3. thedude747 #

    Since the details have emerged about Carl I have strongly suspected that he was on the Autism spectrum for the well laid out reasons above.
    Explains his interest in patterns, explains his behaviors towards Doff, explains his apparent solitary existence, explains the apparent meticulous nature of his grooming (well shaven , polished shoes, well dressed)

    Lots of punters think Doff was full of BS but personally I find her credible. At the end of the day she provided a legal document which was well detailed and would have been verifiable given she names numerous witnesses including neighbors , friends and mentions police intervention which would be on record..
    Above all of that it makes sense. At the time of his death he clearly was a loner , had no children , unlikely he had a spouse and was not strongly connected to any family members. All of these factors contribute in my mind to the reason no-one went looking for him or showed enough interest when he vanished.

    Perhaps over time people have grown fond of SM and have seen him in a romantic light whether that be as an international spy or estranged lover, and don’t want to think of him as a bit of a self centered asshole.

    February 20, 2023
  4. Jo #

    @ Dude raised ideas along the ASD line some time ago and I tend to agree. I agree that people have projected romantic and espionage back stories onto SM over time as who doesn’t love a good story! I agree with Dude’s observations about Charlie being a (morose?) disconnected loner who no one seems to have missed.

    I’m also not sure why some people so readily demonise Dorothy – she was a very young woman, only 21 years old, when she married 35 year old Charlie. It sounds like a dreadful and difficult marriage. Where did they meet and what brought them together? Was Charlie simply looking for a hard working and docile wife who would keep home and care for him? It seems that Dorothy was expected to care for Eliza at times. Dorothy may have been selective with her evidence but she was writing for a court hearing, prior to ideas of no fault divorce, and not for us, so many years later. Her second marriage doesn’t sound like much fun either – a still birth followed by surgery not long after for adhesions, presumably obstetric, eg endometriosis (don’t get carried away by the dome reference here please!)

    I thought this ad for a production engineer at Red Point Tool Company in April 1947 was interesting:

    Draftsman and Production Engineer:
    only strong personality wanted by the
    only Aust. manuf of Portable el. tools.
    Red Point Tool Co.. 66 St. John-st., Prah-
    ran (near Maples). LA3747.

    An oblique reference to a difficult employee about to implode?

    February 21, 2023
  5. Thanks Jo. The next item on the list is to find out where and how Jessica (nurse) met Carl (self harming ASD sufferer). The best guess is a hospital, possibly in Melbourne and prior to her leaving for Adelaide.

    February 21, 2023
  6. dude47 #

    Yes without intervention ASD people are often socially disconnected , can appear morose and as a result find intimate relationships difficult to maintain.

    RE Jess Was just contemplating that same question PB. What would the age gap be between Jess and Doff and could they be connected somehow, both being in the medical profession broadly speaking.

    February 21, 2023
  7. Dorothy was 21 when she married Carl in ‘41 … Jess was born in ‘21 .. hardly any age gap there.

    February 21, 2023
  8. Clive #

    Perhaps Dorothy, as Pete states, met Jessie working in a Melbourne hospital, they got talking etc. Carl took a shine to Jessie, both similar ages and Carl saw the difference between each woman, a difference he liked? Just an idea.

    February 21, 2023
    • There are a couple of horses in this race, Clive: did Jess meet Carl in hospital, did she meet Dorothy in hospital or did she meet Carl after meeting Dorothy? A wide choice.

      February 21, 2023
  9. dude47 #

    Do we know when Jess left Victoria and went of to NSW to do her nursing studies?

    February 21, 2023
    • MyHeritage and Aus Electoral Rolls have Jessie Harkness living in Artarmon Nsw in 1946 (thanks Clive)

      February 21, 2023
    • Jerry Klindt #

      Jessica was born in NSW. Supposedly her parents moved to Victoria while she was in her nurse training program, and she followed after her graduation. I read that some time ago, but I can’t find the source now. It may have been somewhere in, but not sure.

      February 21, 2023
      • Yeah, and I can remember seeing somewhere proof that Jessica passed her final for a nurse’s ticket, but dunno where.

        February 21, 2023
  10. Clive #

    Perhaps the story was that when Jessie found herself, in the family way, October 1946, she went to her parents in Melbourne, took a part time job in a hospital. Dorothy also worked at the same hospital, Jessie had feet problems, so Dorothy treated Jessie, and Dorothy talked to Jessie about Carl. All three went out for a drink (weekend?) and Carl liked what he saw. A mite far fetched, I know!

    February 21, 2023
  11. dude47 #

    Reportedly Jess went to Victoria after she left the RNS and was staying with her parents. Anyone remember where her parents lived at the time?
    Jess was the exact same age as Doff , they both worked in the medical field and they were both in Victoria in the mid 40s. Carl was married to one and had the others phone number.

    February 21, 2023
  12. dude47 #

    The Colonel advises the Harkness family home was on Como st Mentone which is an adjoining suburb of Springvale.

    February 22, 2023
  13. Ana #

    I have been saying this for years. Carl was on the spectrum and took phenobarbital for either treatment of epilepsy or to help with asd symptoms. I first suggested toewalking on the Derek Abbot site with out anyone taking notice. I do believe after 1946/47 Carl became a recluse moving from city to city , what comes to mind is the Robin Williams character the Fisher king film. From what I can gather he might have been able to count cards and his penchant for puzzles kept him close to the gambling scene. He might have been murdered under a case of mistaken identity(Tibor Kaldor) or the Melbourne underworld caught up with him. Either way there is a strong chance that he was staying at the Victoria hotel in Hindley street.
    Another thing the last part of the code is important and starts with a T and not an I or a V. He might have met Dorothy while at a hospital pssibly a mental institution pretty sure the Keanes knew about this. I would advise checking admissions in to hospitals associate with the Keanes, Dorothy and Jo and see whether Jo and Dorothy might have crossed path at some point.

    February 22, 2023
    • Thanks Ana, not suicide then?

      February 22, 2023
    • Guzz Rating #

      Ana… ” Either way there is a strong chance that he was staying at the Victoria hotel in Hindley street.”

      I’ve not heard this before! I suppose the question would be…If he had a hotel room then why would he leave his belongings in the left luggage facility at the Adelaide Station?

      February 24, 2023
  14. Clive #

    82 Como Parade, Mentone-per NAA

    February 22, 2023
    • Howabout PT, how close was he to Jo? BTW, Gordon suggests having a look at Channel 9 tonight @ 9. Under Investigation is having a look at corruption in SA going way back

      February 22, 2023
  15. Clive #

    Per Google, 3 Kitchener St, Mentone to 82 Como Pde-West, Mentone is about 1.1km, a matter of a few minutes walk.

    February 22, 2023
  16. dude47 #

    Clive please refresh my memory who lived at 3 Kitchener st?

    February 22, 2023
  17. Clive #

    3 Kitchener St shows up on Prosper’s NAA record

    February 23, 2023
    • Dude47 #

      So you’ve got Prosper , Jess and Carl/Doff all within a few minutes of each other at the same time. Probably shopped at the same shops went to the same pubs.

      February 23, 2023
      • Sounds pretty ‘pedestrian’ doesn’t it? Except when you try to figure out why Jess just didn’t straight up identify him when Lawson unveiled his work. Maybe we are looking at a relationship PT knew nothing about and she wanted it kept that way. Then is the elephant in the room – where did he die and who moved him to the beach?

        February 23, 2023
  18. Clive #

    “PT knew nothing about” that could be the reason why Jessie could only say ‘No,no,no’. Then again, PT might have known all along about Carl & Jessie, Jessie guessed that PT had had Carl ‘deposed of”. And, with PT’s history with police, Jessie wanted to keep him out of the picture?

    February 23, 2023
    • Steady Clive .. don’t go getting too complex.

      February 23, 2023
  19. Guzz Rating #

    I don’t understand why Dorothy never came across the photographs of the dead SM that must have been distributed across the press all around Australia.
    And, if she did see the photos, why she didn’t recognise him to be her husband.
    Clearly it would have quickened up the process of her divorce and all the other legal wrangles for her.
    It would have been in her best interests and you’d expect her to jump at the chance to identify him.
    And if for some reason she didn’t read the papers, you’d have thought that at least one of her family or friends would have seen the photos and brought it to her attention….or any number of Webb’s own family and acquaintances for that matter!

    Maybe (and I know I keep banging on about this) it’s because the pictures of SM look bugger all like Webb because it ain’t him!

    February 24, 2023
  20. Guzz ..
    If you scroll down and have a look at Barry Traish’s newspaper files you won’t find many with SM’s picture .. and he collected all of them. It’s a big file.

    February 24, 2023
  21. dude47 #

    Some punters seem to have got the idea that there was a nation media blitz with pictures of Carl plastered across the front pages all across the country. This was not the case. There were only a few and the image was a small black and white photo of a dead guy who’d been on the slab for a long while. How many people read the papers cover to cover back in the day Im not sure but its easy to see how it went under the radar. BUT this once again goes back to my theory that Carl was travelling under the radar ergo no-one though the dead guy in Adelaide was Carl cos Carl wasn’t in Adelaide (or so they thought)

    February 24, 2023
  22. dude47 #

    PB that do you make of all this talk over at Domes place about the toothpaste?

    February 25, 2023
  23. It’s keeping havachat busy, apart from that I can’t see the relevance. Asamatteroffact I don’t think old Sanders would know what would be a good nickname for a bloke named Phelan, or one for a bloke named Sigsworth … he’s been out of country for too long.

    February 25, 2023
    • Jo #

      The toothpaste? It’s evidentally important! As is the new distraction – Neddy’s lost nose ring!! From a cheek halter strap… Everyone from the police to Stuart Littlemore and Derek Abbott has failed to pick up on this, everyone apart from one very sharp eyed punter that is! And what is the strange gender agenda that is happening over on Ciphermysteries? Again, only one staunch punter is awake to this!!

      February 27, 2023
  24. PeteB #

    Tell me Jo, how is it in the pic of Carl, known height 5’11”, Roy, known height 5’8” both pictured with the grandparents and where both appear to be the same height?
    Do you have an explanation?

    February 28, 2023
    • Jo #

      I can’t explain it and ideally you’d have access to more than one photo to confirm the observation and/or work through the possibilities.

      March 1, 2023
      • So you would ignore the fact that both men are equidistant from the camera, neither appears to be stooping or standing in a hole or on a hummock .. the cameras therefore lies, right?

        March 1, 2023
        • Jo #

          I’m not debating, I agree it’s strange and as yet, unexplained.

          March 1, 2023
          • Beats me why you won’t debate their respective heights but will involve yourself debating toothpaste, broken scissors and Carl Webb’s myriad aunts and uncles.

            March 1, 2023
            • Jo #

              Women, we’re unfathomable! I find the social history around this case interesting, pursuing an investigation is not my area of expertise. There are a lot of things in this case for which there are as yet no answers, maybe there never will be. It’s interesting! There are also bits of historical evidence and detail that keep emerging that add to both what we know about the case and to gaining a window onto life in the past; for me there is the bonus that some of it relates to Melbourne and my local area. I think the Webb family were interesting and the Gaveys – I’m probably more interested in their lives than those of the Myers or the Baillieus or the Murdochs or the British royal family present and past! They are probably more my kind of people! I also enjoy the collaboration with others. I actually miss Misca’s input! And no, I’m sorry, I don’t have any neat explanations or hypotheses for those missing three inches!

              March 2, 2023
              • Got any friends in the photography business?

                March 2, 2023
                • Jo #

                  Two fathers in law! One of whose fathers was a WWI signals intelligence officer and later friends with Will Sher!!

                  March 2, 2023
                  • Show them the photo. Get their opinion.

                    March 2, 2023
                    • Jo #

                      Parallex effect experimentation with two family members one conveniently six foot tall, the other 5’9 – if the photographer was around 8ft away they would need to be around 30 inches or 80 cm apart in depth terms to appear to be the same height. I can shuffle them around a bit if you like. Dude, if you’re out there, how far away do you think the photograph was?

                      March 2, 2023
  25. dude47 #

    # Jo I shudder at the thought of buying back into this debate but the questions I would want answers to are yes, how far away was the photographer? was he using a zoom lens?, is this a cropped portion of a wider group photo? the topography of the area in which they were standing.
    The large family group is obviously taken on a sloped area. So going down the common sense path I am assuming that the photographer took all of these shots in one session. ie “alright let’s get the whole family together, snap, right now lets get on of nanna and grandpa snap “etc.
    Ergo I suspect that the Carl Roy photo in question was taken either before or after the group and stands to reason in the same area as the big group which was taken on a slope. All guestimations and assumptions. PB could be 100% correct.

    March 3, 2023
  26. Jo #

    I think PB must always be correct! Foreign toothpaste, experiments with the parallax effect, rumoured Keane theatrical trips to NZ, what a week its been on the SM trail! How on earth did I get caught up in all this! I think I should stick to my day job, but perhaps I’ll indulge in some quick ponderings on the 1935 conspiracy to rob the Ballarat Bank when I knock off this afternoon! I do hope that Charlie gets a decent and well earned reburial one day, perhaps in Springvale.

    March 3, 2023
    • Just rolled by a friend who runs a photography shop, showed him the pic of Roy, Carl and the old folks and asked him which was the tallest and he fingered Roy straight away. When I told him Roy was supposed to be 3 inches shorter than Carl he said ok, Carl must be standing in a dip.
      Right. Too easy.

      March 3, 2023
      • Jo #

        Easy answers! Don’t roll over so easily and keep an eye out for that unexpected inverted swan!

        March 3, 2023
  27. em #

    easy response is to reproduce take 4 individuals all with the same height as the respective persons in the photo and photograph them at the same angle, same position and in the same location.

    March 4, 2023
  28. Clive #

    Is it possible, silly question I know!, that Roy appears as tall as Charlie, simply because he appears to be standing slightly forward, towards the camera, than the other 3?

    March 4, 2023
  29. Not silly at all, Clive, perfectly reasonable in fact, much like the vaunted Professor’s learned now proved false reasoning that SM’s ears were proof alone that he was the father of Robin, which, hopefully, assured him of a well paid talking circuit when The UoA were done with him, but don’t hold your breath for a backtrack from the man. So, given that gross and mischievously under reported miscalculation what certainty is there that the same learned fellow’s claim that blonde Charlie is SM is believable, remembering that Dr Fitzpatrick declaimed anything to do with that particular revelation?

    Mystery upon mystery Clive.

    March 4, 2023
  30. Clive #

    Dr Fitzpatrick would seem to be a bit more reluctant to put all her eggs in Derek’s basket, she obviously spotted the cracks with the ones already in the basket.

    March 6, 2023

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