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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.

Reginald Holmes was a respected boatbuilder but behind his public persona he was an active criminal, engaged in several frauds and even drug-running. The scuttling of Pathfinder brought his criminal activies to the surface and probably led to his killing.

Albert Stannard: Suspect
Albert Stannard

Occupation: Launch Operator.

Albert Stannard and Reginald Holmes had been best friends for many years and both were involved in the attempted Pathfinder fraud. He was a suspect in the death of Holmes but had a seemingly unshakable alibi for the night in question.

Stanley Watson: Suspect
Stanley Watson

Occupation: Criminal.

Stanely Watson was sent to jail in December 1934 for a sophisticated bank fraud the August before. While on bail he and Patrick Brady threatened Jim Smith with a gun, blaming him for squealing to the police about the bank job.

Jack Strong: Suspect
Jack Strong

Occupation: Wharf Labourer.

Jack Strong was a casual employee of Albert Stannard. His prints were found on the door of Reginald Holmes' car after he had been shot. Strong was the prime suspect for killing Holmes but was acquitted in December 1935.

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