The Corpse in the Culvert


tags: NSW Police, Homicide, Murder, LSD, Drugs, Wollongong,

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By Dr Bill Allender

From the September 2012 issue of the APJ.

This shocking case history revolves around a few teenagers who experimented with the drug LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide), along with the consumption of liberal quantities of alcohol, at a local tavern. LSD is not the most popular drug on the black market today. Actually LSD is really a drug from our past, ‘the hippie’ 1960s and 70s generation, where its (allegedly) carefree properties were promoted by Dr. Timothy Leary in the late 1960s with the mantra, ‘Turn on, tune in, and drop out’ (of society). This supposedly, ‘something snappy’ phrase was used to promote the so-called ‘benefits’ of LSD. Unfortunately, the reverse is true; the drug upsets the brain chemistry of the user, resulting in hallucinations and various other behavioural problems including the dreaded ‘flash backs’ which often occur without the drug even being detected in the blood stream. In fact, the disomer of LSD is one of the most potent hallucinogenic drugs known, and yet it has a remarkably low acute toxicity.

LSD is usually taken by drug abusers as a tartrate salt in oral doses of 25 to 250 micrograms which they buy from ‘shady characters’ in the form of ‘tickets’ (absorbent paper containing the drug), quite often showing various logos. LSD was eventually abandoned as a clinical drug (the drug was originally developed by Sandoz Laboratories) due to its unpredictable ‘flash back’ side-effects and this made it very risky as a clinical drug. But amazingly, it is still being used as a ‘recreational’ drug today (despite its unpredictable side effects). Although not sought after by the majority of people, some folk continue to use it from time to time with unexpected results, as this case certainly illustrates…

The ‘Problem’

It appears William (Liam) Tully-Salter fell in with the wrong crowd and was later considered to be a bit of a nuisance by his so-called ‘new friends’. He was part-aboriginal and brought up to believe friends and family should share everything. Everything, yes? But his ‘white friends’ had different views about this. His taking of food and various other possessions, without their knowledge, was considered stealing and it was regarded as one of his (not surprisingly) short-comings, and they were rapidly getting fed-up with his behaviour. However, in the Aboriginal Community, this was a quality to be nurtured as quite often this meant the survival of the community. Sadly, Liam apparently did not seem to realise this in this new environment with his new friends, or perhaps he chose to ignore it. But it was an inappropriate group he had aligned himself with. To make things worse, they were regular drug users some of which included the use of LSD and large quantities of alcohol. As time passed this was to prove a fatal under-estimation of the people he now called friends. In any case, Liam was soon considered to be a ‘problem that had to be dealt with…’

Liam’s Likeable Nature

In actual fact, Liam was a friendly, easy-going guy and certainly did not deserve what later happened to him. One evening he was outside a Wollongong hotel and heard a band belting out the tune, ‘Groovy man’, so he sat on his backpack put his surfboard on his knees and provided the beat. A young woman passing by heard his efforts and commented, ‘He played on his surfboard like he was playing his bongos. It was really cool and he turned out to be a really good guy. Apparently, he hadn’t been around this area very long, he’d had some problems so he came to Wollongong to get away from them. He didn’t even have a place to stay when we met him – he was just really friendly and nice.’

Plotting at the Pub

Meanwhile, in the hotel, a different point of view of Liam was being expressed by his so-called mates, and in particular Jason Farrell. Also present at this time were Daniel Ezold, Kai Purhonen and a lass by the name of Holly. (Her evidence later proved vital to the police case.) Little is known of the conversation which took place other than their need to ‘sort out the Liam problem’. But it became clear later that after consumption of an unknown quantity of alcohol by the trio, and using a ‘ticket’ or so of LSD; things were getting out of hand. Was there a pact made? There was talk of a ‘Musketeers-type threesome’ plotting to carry out the evil deed. But who knows for certain? Whatever the situation, Liam’s life was now in considerable danger …

Their Final ‘Solution’

All parties (including Holly) eventually left the ‘pub’ in various states of intoxication. Liam was in the centre of the group as they went for a walk to the Tom Thumb Lagoon in Wollongong. Previously, Ezold had worked in the area as a bush regenerator, and allegedly commented, “This would be a good place to get rid of someone.” Then, without warning, Ezold allegedly struck Liam with a ‘Passion Pop’ (wine) bottle from behind. After which Farrell grabbed the bottle from Ezold and continued with the bashing. He then kicked him down an embankment into a stormwater drain in the Tom Thumb Lagoon, near the grain terminal. The rest was pure evil ...

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