Alf Morley's Incredible Story as told to Peter A Blood

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Excerpt from Characters & Capers:

“I met, and got to know, some infamous people in jail. One of the more interesting at Goulburn was Stephen Leslie Bradley. His was the rather dubious honour of being the first person to be convicted of kidnapping in modern Australia. In June 1960, a Sydney family by the name of Thorne won the £100,000 Opera House Lottery. It was the biggest lottery prize in Australia at the time. The family’s eventual heart-break could only have made them wish they’d never bought a ticket, as Mr Bradley kidnapped Graeme, their young son, on the 7th July and held him to ransom. Things went terribly wrong.” (29th Mar 1961, Sydney: Stephen Leslie Bradley was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of kidnap victim Graeme Thorne in July 1960)

“He was about 5’10” or so in height, and very heavily built. I won’t say he was fat, for reasons that will become clear in a moment, but certainly his large stomach was quite an imposing sight. I was in the cutting room one day, close to the table where I had cut my finger some months before. Bradley came by, and with a smile, pointed at the material cutter. “Keep your silly fingers out of that thing this time, fella!” he said.

I took a quick shot back at him with, “You’d better keep your big, fat gut away from it too!”.

He was quite upset by my comment. His stomach wasn’t as fat as I thought, he said. In fact, it could easily withstand any punch I might be able to throw at it! “Oh, yeah!” I said, doubt plain on my face. At that, he smiled and motioned for me to stand away from the table. He stood there with his hands on his hips and challenged me. I asked if he really wanted me to punch his stomach. He nodded and said I could do so with his blessing, providing only that I did not hold back. I was to hit him as hard as I could! I couldn’t resist his challenge.

By this time there was a crowd around us. Seeing it was a light-hearted event, everyone cheered us on. Bradley laughed at me and said: “Do your best you skinny little prick!” So, I did! I did my very best! I hit him in the stomach as hard as I have ever hit anything in my whole life. I nearly broke my wrist. It felt like I’d hit a sheet of iron. Bradley laughed again, and then again, every time he saw me for weeks after.”

Link to the Graeme Thorne kidnap case:

Footnote: Some months after the subject of the hit tune “Little Boy Lost” - Steven Walls - was found alive, Little Boy Lost was still riding high on Top 40 charts. It was then that Graham Thorne became Australia’s first kidnap victim. Purely because of the connotations associated with the title, singer Johnny Ashcroft had his song removed from Australian airplay to avoid the trauma of those three repetitive words being inflicted upon Graham Thorne’s family and friends. In doing so, he became the only songwriter/recording artist, at least in Australia, to deliberately kill the airplay of his own hit record.

Book Presentation

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Book Presentation

CHARACTERS & CAPERS - The Life and Times of Alf Morley - The Book

Character: Stephen Leslie Bradley
Kidnapper & Murderer

A few of Alfie’s character-building playmates who feature in his stories...

Stephen Bradley Kidnapper

Jim McNeill
Jail Playwright

John Andrew Stuart

Darcy Dugan
Armed Robber

Joe Meissner

“Chow” Hayes

Lancelot McGregor Saidler
Standover Man

Neddy Smith Murderer, etc...

Stephen Bradlley Neddy Smith Jim McNeill Ernie Good John Andrew Stuart Darcy Dugan Joe Meissner Chow Hayes Lancelot McGregor Saidler

Ernie Goode
Wine Bar Owner

Stephen Bradley - Kidnapper and Murderer of Graeme Thorne

Stephen Bradley is arrested in Columbo whilst en route to Europe

Book Presentation