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Things you find out

The construction of the Sydney Opera House in 1960 was proving expensive and so the New South Wales Government initiated a lottery to help raise money. The prize of the 10th Opera House Lottery, drawn on Wednesday 1 June 1960, was won by travelling salesman Bazil Thorne. There was no option of privacy for lottery winners at the time, so the details of Thorne’s lottery win were published in the Sydney newspapers.

On the 7 July 1960 Bazil Thorne’s 8 year old son Graeme was kidnapped on his way to school and later a ransom demand of £25,000 was made. While making a second call regarding the ransom the kidnapper hung up abruptly.

On 16 August, five weeks after he went missing, Graeme Thorne's body was discovered at Seaforth in Sydney.

From witness information and tireless checking of information by the police a suspect named Stephen Bradley was traced to a house in Manly. Police visited the house on 3 October and learned that it had been rented by Bradley with his second wife Magda and their three children. However Bradley had left Australia on 26 September, sailing for London with his family aboard the SS Himalaya.

The Himalaya arrived at Colombo on 10 October. Two Sydney policemen were waiting for Bradley but Australia had no extradition treaty with Ceylon. After a lengthy hearing, the extradition order was granted and detectives arrived back in Sydney on November 19 with Bradley in handcuffs, allegedly making a confession just before the aircraft landed at Sydney airport.

He was convicted of murder on 29 March 1961 and sentenced to life imprisonment, a sentence that was upheld on appeal. In June 1961 Bradley was transferred to Goulburn Prison. He died of a heart attack on 6 October 1968 aged 42 while playing in the gaol tennis competition, and was buried in the Catholic section of Goulburn cemetery.

This all happened while I was on my second trip on Himalaya and didn’t find out until yesterday.

So not only did I sail with gorgeous females, shipmates and Board of Trade acquaintances but also a murderer.

Roger Monk

Where are you from: Wilmington Dartford Kent