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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Somerton Man: Fingerprinting Somerton Man, Professor Abbott Was Wrong..

How Fingerprints Are Taken From the Deceased

Professor Abbott Was Wrong

In a comment on Reddit yesterday, Professor Abbott was asked about the Somerton Man's fingerprints, the questioner focused on the fingerprint card with it's missing signatory and other information and also on the actual fingerprints.

The following question was put to him:

"I can see that you are really busy here but if I could ask you again about the markings on the thumb, first and middle fingers, they appeared to be consistent with an engraver's or similar hand. In particular I am referring to the grip between the thumb and fingers. Would you agree that at least it substantiates the claim that the fingerprints were of a right handed man?"

To which the Professor replied:

"It is a stretch to draw any conclusions from the blotchiness of the prints. It is not easy fingerprinting a dead body and getting all the prints lined up on a neat little chart. There are many other ways to substantiate that he was right handed. I have discussed these in my replies further down this page. I would rely on those and disregard the prints on the issue of handedness."

The Truth is...

The Somerton Man fingerprints were taken by James Patrick Durham, an acknowledged expert in his field as a scenes of crime man and lauded for his achievements. It is apparent that either Professor Abbott has been misguided by someone or he simply did not do the research, either way he got it significantly wrong. I say this because taking fingerprints from deceased persons is par for the course in Police work, it is easy to take fingerprints from the deceased, and the Police have and had at the time numerous ways it can be successfully done. Jimmy Durham knew his job and did it well. He would have had the tools to do it.

The Clues

The clues provided by the Somerton Man's fingerprints are vital, they tell us about his handedness and possible occupation. The markings on the right thumb, first and middle fingers show signs of wear which would support the view that he was right handed and that his occupation would have involved gripping a tool or instrument between his thumb and fingers. 

It has been already suggested that he may have been involved in engraving or leather work, we can add to that that he possibly was a violinist, cellist or a guitarist all of whom have similar grips however the fingers on the left hand would also show signs f wear due to the strings of the various instruments.

There are tools designed for the job called 'spoons' for example and even special ink rollers for the purpose:

There are other less savoury ways in which this can achieved but not wishing to spoil anyone's meal I'll limit the description to 'snippers' and 'straighteners'.

In the same series of questions the Professor did not know how fingerprints were distributed, the questioner, JAFO4, rightly said by photographs and referred to wire transfer of images but doubted their use for fingerprints. Here's an image of a Western Union early facsimile machine that was used to transmit fingerprints from the late 20's onwards:

Western Union Early Facsimile Machine Circa 1926

With all due respect to you Professor Abbott, this is an error on your behalf and your statements could mislead people who are genuinely doing their best to find answers. They put great faith in you and your statements, it behoves you to live up to their expectations and deliver complete answers minus any generalities and plus supporting evidence.

There are other blogs who, with a wave of their inexperienced, ill informed, unconsciously incompetent hands and surrounded by trolls 'wash over' and otherwise distort sound information in the Somerton Man case to the extent that it has taken on elements of cyber bullying in some instances. It simply is not tolerable and needs to be faced down whenever it appears and by whomever it is published.

TAMAM SHUD: Somerton Man Single Focus Blog

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