On Friday morning, Australia had an answer to the 40-year-old Bogle-Chandler case, the story of the lovers who died mysteriously while canoodling on the banks of the Lane Cove River on New Year’s Eve 1963.

Filmmaker Peter Butt’s theory, aired on Thursday night on ABC TV, was that “poison egg gas” killed the two lovers. The theory convinced many viewers, with the NSW Police even agreeing to review the new evidence.

But by Saturday morning, doubts were being cast on Butt’s conclusion. According to the SMH, the “posion egg gas theory” had been proposed and “discounted by both police and a State Government analyst in 1971”.

Speaking to Crikey this morning, Butt attacked the validity of the 1971 report, saying it was compiled by a food technologist – “a person more used to assessing mouldy loaves of bread” – rather than a forensic toxicologist. The author of the report “listed only 21 possible causes of death including laser beam, crocodile bile, LSD, and coffin dust as well as hydrogen sulphide … In discounting H2S he said that it was ‘illogical as the deceased would be required to be in a confined space’.”

Not so, according to Butt. Hydrogen gas is 20 times heavier than air, and only those sitting or lying on the ground would have been affected by it.

Further proof arrived today in the form of a foul-smelling dog. Butt told Crikey: “Another new witness has just come forward. He and his brother-in-law went to Fullers Bridge at 4pm that day and got out. A policeman was standing guard at the entrance to the track. His dog jumped out of the car and disappeared behind the policeman and along the track. When the dog came back he stank of rotten eggs and they couldn’t get the smell out of the car for months. He played golf at the course regularly then after and never smelt it again.”

Then there’s Mrs Chandler’s handbag, found four kilometres away from its owner’s body. Butt claims evidence suggests a local greyhound trainer (now deceased) probably found it and dropped it out of his car into bushland, where a group of schoolgirls later found it. The man denied ever seeing the bodies, but Butt alleges the man might not have told the police the whole truth about what he saw that morning.

Smelly dogs. The secrets of dead greyhound trainers. Heavy gases. The Bogle-Chandler case just keeps improving with age.

Peter Fray

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