😥 63 years ago #OnThisDay 28 August 1960, the funeral service for kidnap victim 8-year-old Graeme Thorne at St Mark’s Church at Darling Point in Sydney.
7 Jul 1960 – Graeme Thorne abducted on his way to school 👉
17 Aug 1960 – News that Graemes body has been discovered 👉 https://www.facebook.com/100072207206515/posts/316837470733157/
18 Aug 1960 – Postman identify’s kidnappers house 👉 https://www.facebook.com/100072207206515/posts/317327740684130/
Birth: 18th December 1951
Death: 7th July 1960
Graeme Thorne was an 8 year old who was abducted and murdered in 1960’s Sydney, Australia. Graeme Thorne was the oldest child of The Thorne family, prior to the events Bazil Thorne the father had won £100,000 in the lottery.
Graeme Thorn had a routine that ran like clock work, he would leave the family’s Bondi home at 8:30am and would be picked up by a family friend on the corner of Wellington and O’Brien Street. On July 7th family friend Phyllis Smith arrived at the usual pick up spot only Graeme wasn’t waiting for her. Phyllis went up to family home to see if Graeme was going to school that day. Graeme’s mother confirmed Graeme was going to school and considered the idea that Graeme had gone to school by other means.
Phyllis carried on to the school her son attended with Graeme, The Scots College in the suburb Bellevue Hill. Graeme had also failed to arrive at school and the police were notified of the missing boy.
70 minutes had passed since Graeme had gone missing when a call came through. Sydney Police Sergeant Larry O’Shea was at the family home and answered the call pretending to be Mr Thorne. The caller demanded a ransom of £25,000 by 5pm or the young lad would be fed to the Sharks. The caller said he would call once again at 5pm.
The caller rang once again some 12 hours later, the orders was to put the money into paper bags. No further instructions were given and the caller hung up.
A month had passed and the dreaded discovery was made. Two young boys had found a body of a young boy in Grandview Grove. The body was wrapped in a blue rug and the boy still wore his school uniform he had put on a month ago. Graeme Thorne was now a murder victim.
It was determined the cause of death was asphyxiation or due to severe head injury, it is known Graeme was still alive when he received the head injury. Time of death was estimated at between 24hrs after the kidnapping.
After studying the evidence and a report from a postman, the police visited a house on 3rd of October. The home had belonged to an immigrant of Hungarian nationality, Stephen Bradley (he was born István Baranyay) however Bradley had left Australia On September 26th. Bradley was sailing to London with family.
Bradley had owned the same style car that witnesses had noticed the day of the kidnapping. Bradley had however sold the car. Police located the car and were able to link the car to Graeme. Police knew the man behind the crime.
The boat Bradley docked at Colombo, Sri Lanka and Bradley was met by two Sydney Sergeants. Due the Australian having no extradition treaty with Ceylon there was a lot of wrangling to get Bradley back. 18 November Bradley was finally flown back to Australia to pay for his crimes. Bradley was sentenced to life in prison and his appeal declined due to the strength of the evidence against him.
It was believed due to Bradley’s crimes his prison life would be difficult and he would be a target for inmates however this was not the case. Stephen Bradley passed away at the age of 42 in 1968. The Thornes relocated however never really recovered from the loss, Bazil passed away in 1978.
This crime changed the way of lottery procedures in Australia, winners now had the choice to remain anonymous.
Crime Journalist Alan Dower (1898-1980) had speculated that the original target was the daughter and youngest child of the family. Stating that due to her age if Bradley kidnapped and released her the girls information and account of the events would be poor. But due to the girls age she rarely left her parents so Graeme was the selected target.
[Photos by Ron Freeman » Fairfax Archives]