Belief in curse on lottery profits boosted

 

ONE of the many bizarre features of the story behind Tasmania's mass killer is his connection with the beneficiaries of Australia's lottery company, Tattersalls.

Bryant's late benefactor, Mrs Helen Harvey, was one of the heirs to the fortune generated by Tatts, as it is familiarly known. Two other heirs of the same fortune were also in the news in Australia this week.

One a leading academic, has been charged with a paedophile offence going back over a decade.

His brother, a popular Catholic priest, has gone missing off the coast of Tasmania, where Martin Bryant performed his deeds, was a direct descendant of David Hastie Harvey, a close associate of George Adams, who founded Tattersalls in 1861.

Tattersalls now runs lotteries and numbers games throughout the country. The profits this year from its Victorian gaming division alone are forecast to be around $420 million (£221 million).

George Adams's great niece, Jean Merle Flynn, who died in 1978, had three sons who were also Tattersalls beneficiaries, with an annuity each of around $200,000 a year. The eldest, John, now 59, is an academic with passions for both medieval Indian history and coins.

However, these twin loves got him into trouble in India in 1994, when he was arrested in New Delhi and accused of taking 7,000 Indian coins illegally out of the country. He was held in jail for 21 months, and only returned to Australia last month.

But almost instantly charges were laid by a Fijian man, Roger Paramasivam (30), seeking damages for a sexual relationship with Dr Flynn which, he says, began when he was 11 years old.

By that time the Tattersalls heirs had another blow to absorb: John Flynn's younger brother, Father Jeremy Flynn, had gone missing on a private plane trip to Flinders Island, off the coast of Tasmania, where he had a seven hectare property. He has now been confirmed dead.

Within a few days of Father Flynn's death, the shooting had started at Port Arthur: more fuel for the theory of a curse on the gambling money that eventually came into the hands of Martin Bryant.