Mark Tedeschi – Kidnapped – Podcast

Mark Tedeschi explores the mind of the intriguing and seriously flawed Stephen Bradley who kidnaped an 8 year old Graeme Thorne in 1960.

The story of Australia’s only known kidnapping of a child for ransom. When eight-year-old Graeme Thorne was kidnapped on his way to school in July 1960, Australia was gripped with fear and loathing. What monster would dare take financial advantage of the most treasured bond of love – between parent and child? Just weeks earlier, Graeme’s parents had won a fortune in the Opera House Lottery, and this had attracted the attention of the perpetrator, Stephen Bradley. Bradley was a most unlikely kidnapper, however his greed for the Thorne’s windfall saw him cast aside any sympathy for his victim or his victim’s family, and drove him to take brazen risks with the life of his young captive. Kidnapped tells the astounding true story of how this crime was planned and committed, and describes the extraordinary police investigation that was launched to track the criminal down. Mark Tedeschi explores the mind of the intriguing and seriously flawed Stephen Bradley, and also the points of view of the victim, his family – and the police, whose work pioneered the use of many techniques that are now considered commonplace, marking the beginning of modern-day forensic science in Australia. Using his powerful research and storytelling skills, Mark Tedeschi reveals one of Australia’s greatest true crime dramas, and what can only be described as the trial of the 20th Century. http://www.coop.com.au/kidnapped/tedeschi-mark/9781925310221


Rob:
You’re listening to the Co-op Book Podcast. I’d like welcome Mark today to speak to the Co-op Chat! Hello Mark.

 

Mark:
Hi, glad to be here.

 

Rob:
Now, we’re speaking at this in Alban’s Writer’s Festivals so we’re all in the country and very lovely surroundings. Now, many people have heard of Mark in his, I suppose, main gig as the Crown Prosecutor, QC, but he’s also a very well known photographer and an author which is why we’re here. This is your …?

 

Mark:
This is my second True Crime book. The first one, “Eugenia,” was published in 2012 and my second one, “Kidnapped,” is about to be published in November.

 

Rob:
Now, what- We will talk about “Kidnapped,” but my first, obvious, question is, especially with all the high-profile cases and things that you’ve been involved with, how do you manage time to do a bit of photography and write books?

 

Mark:
Well, that’s important for my sanity to do other things and I do enjoy writing, and I very much enjoy photography. It’s important to have other things in your life to focus on. I find that, particularly, when we’re on holidays, when we go overseas, I do a lot of photography, but the writing I can do whenever I have some free time.

 

Rob:
Okay, and let’s talk about, “Kidnapped,” because it’s a very compelling book. What would- It’s about a kidnapped case that happened in 1960? Do you want to tell me a bit more?

 

Mark:
Well it’s actually the story of the only kidnapping for ransom of a child in the whole history of Australia. It was in 1960. It was the kidnapping of an eight year old boy by the name of Graeme Thorne, whose father had won 1st prize in one of the early Opera House Lotteries. The Kidnapper was a man by the name of Stephen Bradley. He decided that he was insanely envious of the Thorne Family for their win and that he was going to kidnap their eight year old son to make a ransom demand for 25,000 Pounds. The lottery win was 100,000 pounds which doesn’t sound like much now but it was actually an enormous sum of money in 1960. The unusual part was that Stephen Bradley had his own children. He and his wife between them, had three children. One of them was a natural daughter of Stephen and the other two were natural sons of his wife, Magda. He was a most unlikely kidnapper but he was just so desirous of getting some of this wealth that he was prepared to put everything aside for it.

 

Rob:
Now, the detail in the book is tremendous and I think what one of the bylines is it’s about the beginning of forensic investigations in Australia. Do you want to [inaudible 03:38] on that?

 

Mark:
Well, the crime shocked the whole nation of Australia. Everyone was terribly distraught at the idea that this lovely young boy had been snatched from his family and there was a tremendous amount of sympathy. I was exactly the same age as Graeme. I was eight at the time and I remember it very vividly! It affected children all over Australia. I actually had a newspaper photograph of him plastered on my wall so that if ever I saw him I could notify my parents and they could tell the police. It … The Police threw massive resources into the investigation. They had some highly technical forensic scientific evidence that they managed to get when the body of Graeme Thorne was found because he had been killed. There were techniques of forensic science that had never been used before then that were used for the first time in this case. So it really marks the beginning of modern forensic science in Australia. Most of those techniques have become commonplace since then.

 

Rob:
But, obviously, it marked you by being the same age and growing up.

 

Mark:
Yeah, very much so! Yeah!

 

Rob:
What do you think there- I mean there is a fascination with true crime but these kind of crimes, especially, I can … Me growing up, I remember Samantha Knight which, I think, ironically happened very nearby where this kidnap occurred, in the same suburb.

 

Mark:
Yes.

 

Rob:
And, in more recently, there’s both the William Tyrrell and the McCann mystery which is, as a parent, your worst nightmare.

 

Mark:
Yes, yes!

 

Rob:
Is that what the fascination’s about? Do you think, just, we’re clinging to our fears?

 

Mark:
Look the- I think the main fascination for me was the character of Stephen Bradley. He was such an unlikely kidnapper and I think the death of young Graeme was such a terrible tragedy. I found his personality absolutely intriguing to try and understand why this man could have come to commit such a terrible crime which ended in such a terrible way. I found that very interesting. The Thorne Family was a very standard, conservative, normal, lower-middle class family. There was nothing unremarkable- Ah! Nothing remarkable about them until they won this massive lottery prize. Stephen Bradley’s wife, Magda, was also a very interesting character. Stephen was eventually charged with the murder of Graeme Thorne and there were a lot of people at the time who thought that his wife, Magda, must have been, at least, knowledgeable about what was going to happen. I’ve analyzed that extensively and I’ve come to certain conclusions about it which are in the book. I’ve also- There’s an enduring, a lot of enduring mysteries about the case, as well, how Stephen Bradley abducted Graeme, what he did with him once he’d convinced him to get into his car and how Graeme came to die. I’ve delved into all of the evidence that there is and come up with what I think are logical conclusions as to what I’m sure happened which is a little bit different to what people thought at the time.

 

Rob:
Interesting. Now, your day-to-day life involves dealing with some horrific scenes and murders and we don’t need to talk about them because there’s enough detail about them out in the world, but how do you deal with that in your personal life? How do you, when you come home after going through horrific bits of evidence?

 

Mark:
Look, I think one tries as much as one can to adopt a professional attitude. It’s a little bit like being a surgeon. You have to have a degree of detachment between yourself and the case that you’re doing if you’re going to do a good job. The people who don’t manage to have that detachment, I think it negatively effects their performance. One, obviously, realizes that there’s a lot of horror and tragedy that’s involved and we often have contact with victims and with victim’s families and we have to- We try to shepherd them through the process so that there’s the least amount of trauma for them. Often, there’s an enormous amount of trauma involved, but … Look, I think I’m also fortunate that I’ve got other interests and I do manage to put my case aside when I get home in the evenings and do other things, do family things, and focus on other aspects.

 

Rob:
As you know, the cart book store is on every campus in the country, what were you like at University?

 

Mark:
Well, I went to Sydney Uni. I was at the law school for four years which, at that time, was in Phillip Street, not on the campus. Yes, I went to the cart bookshop every now and again to get all my books. I’m still a member and I still go there. They’re wonderful! There’s a great one in Phillip Street, now, that I go to regularly because I’m often in court in the area. My life at University was fairly unremarkable! At the time, I saw myself as becoming a suburban solicitor. I never thought I’d become a barrister or a Crown Prosecutor, let alone Senior Crown Prosecutor. I never filed anything, but I never- I didn’t, kind of, excel either. I was a fairly average student.

 

Rob:
I think that will make a lot of people feel very happy to hear that! Give’s us all an opportunity! What- Who do you read?

 

Mark:
Who do I read? I read mainly non-fiction. I read a lot of biographies. At the moment I’m reading a lot about international economics because I’m fascinated by the current financial situation that the world is in so I’m doing a lot of reading about economics to try and understand it. I don’t get much time to read. In fact, my reading time is limited to a short train trip to work in the morning and a short train trip home. It’s any about 20 minutes twice a day and that’s the extent of my reading time. By the time I … By the time I get home and have dinner and do every thing at home, I’m usually really tired and I’ll just fall asleep.

 

Rob:
I’m a big fan of that. Mark, today [inaudible 11:25] a pleasure to have you on the Co-op chat!

 

Mark:
Thank you very much!
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