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The Evidence File

CASE:The Shark Arm Mystery DATE:1935
Persons of Interest
Jim Smith: Victim
Jim Smith

Age: 45. Occupation: Billiard Marker.

A former boxer, Jim Smith was a small-time crook whose main line of business was illegal SP betting. He was involved in several of Reginald Holmes' scams and frauds, including the scuttling of the Pathfiner. He was blackmailing Holmes over its loss.

Patrick Brady: Suspect
Pat Brady

Age: 42. Occupation: Forger.

Brady was an incorrigible cheque forger who had been jailed for a total of seven years due to his illegal activities prior to 1935. He was a friend of Jim Smith and also well connected in Sydney's underworld. He always protested he was innocent of murder. Died in 1965.

Reginald Holmes: Suspect
Reginald Holmes

Age: 42. Occupation: Boatbuilder.

George Measures was adamant that he heard Ronald Light addressing Bella by name, suggesting a familiarity between them. He did not like 'the look' of Light and urged Bella to hurry home. He picked out Light from a line-up.

Albert Stannard: Suspect
Albert Stannard

Occupation: Launch Operator.

While hearding cattle along the Via Devana, Cowell discovered Bella's body lying in the middle of the road. She was still warm. Her body was lying slantwise in the road, with her feet and lower legs resting on the grass verge. Although close by, Cowell never heard a gunshot.

Stanley Watson: Suspect
Stanley Watson

Occupation: Criminal.

PC Hall did not believe that Bella could have died from a haemorrhage, as suggested by Dr Williams. His diligent examination at the scene led to the discovery of a spent bullet in the road near to Bella's body, and bloodied crow tracks on a nearby gate. Died in 1966.

Jack Strong: Suspect
Jack Strong

Occupation: Wharf Labourer.

One of the most famous lawyers of his day, Hall had a good knowledge of medicine and firearms, which frequently helped his clients escape the noose. His successful defence of Light is remarkable in that he only disputed a few points of evidence. Died in 1927.

Frank Matthews: Lead Detective
Frank Matthews

Rank: Detective Sergeant.

Frank Matthews was the SIO in every enquiry linked to the murder of Jim Smith, including the loss of the Pathfinder, yet he was never called to give evidence. He was described as "sneery" by Brady. He would eventually become chief of Sydney CIB.

The Tattooed Boxers: Evidence
Shark Arm Tattoo

As depicted in Truth (5 May 1935).

The tattoo of two sparring boxers, one outlined in red, the other in blue, was key in identifying Jim Smith. The Labor Daily described the tattoo on 26 April and Truth two days later, when it was read by Smith's brother, who contacted the police.

Index of Evidence