Monday, 7 June 2021

SOMERTON MAN COLD CASE: PAUL'S STORY, PART 1, THE DIRECTOR"S SUMMONS


PAUL'S STORY


The Gentleman in  the image above, is Paul Lawson, the man who made the plaster bust of the Somerton Man. He is also the last surviving man with inside knowledge about the Somerton Man case much of which has never been published. That's about to change.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a close friend of Paul, he had asked her to contact me as he had information that he wanted to share with me that he would like to have published as a book.  I was taken aback at first, since my first discussions with Paul I had always held him in high regard and we hit it off quite well. Needless to say, I agreed immediately to take on the task and to record and publish 'Paul's Story'.

Paul is very much 'old school', he is a man of integrity and an amazingly sharp mind for a man of his age. His memory is super impressive and his attention to detail after all these years is just astounding, he still retains a good sense of humour.

What we agreed to do is to publish the information from each session as we complete them, a 'serial' if you like. Whilst we will make the accounts as clear as possible, some elements will be left until later in the piece.

THE DIRECTOR"S SUMMONS

Paul's involvement in the Somerton Man case all began when he received a telephone call from Mr. Hale, the Director of the SA Museum where Paul worked as a taxidermist. He told Paul to come to his office immediately as a matter of urgency. Paul dutifully obeyed and went straight to the Directors office where he was introduced to a Detective Sergeant Leane and 3 other detectives.

It was Leane who opened the discussion by asking Paul if he could create a plaster bust of a body. Replying in the affirmative, Leane quickly responded saying 'Right, Let's go!' 

Paul, still wearing his white work coat, got into the Police car, sat on the back seat with Leane on one side and a detective on the other, the two other detectives were seated in the front of the car. They drove to the West terrace cemetery and to the morgue that was situated there. On the way, Leane made it very clear that everything Paul saw or heard from that point on was to be kept secret especially from the press.

Recalling the first few minutes after arriving at the morgue, Paul thought that the way that Leane sat, on a chair, reversed with his legs astride its back, was unusual, for whatever reason it was one of those moments that tend to stick in your mind.

When asked if the body could be taken to the Museum, Leane answered with a sharp, 'No!', the body it seems had to be worked on only at the morgue. 

The 4 detectives, including Leane, opened up the top right compartment of the freezer and manhandled the body of a man out of its resting place and onto the morgue table. Paul briefly inspected the body, pressing on the stomach and chest to see if there was any 'give' in it. He gave the body a shake and quickly concluded that this body was almost rock solid from its time in the freezer and the effects of the formalin.  Nevertheless, the job of creating a bust of the man could be done. The body was not referred to as the Somerton Man to this point.

It was agreed that Paul would return to the morgue the following Tuesday, the Monday being a holiday, to make a start on the work.

After a discussion with his Director, Paul was able to gather all of the tools and implements he would need to carry out his task and also to order and collect the various materials from Fosters Pottery in Adelaide.

NEXT WEEK:

The making of the bust and an unusual discovery...

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1 comment:

  1. MARGOT, Thanks for the message, More than happy to share what information I have with you, your father was a very brave man. Please send your contact details via the CONTACT US form to the right of this post and I will forward the information that you requested.

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