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06th Dec 2021

Bizarre time tiger shark vomited a human arm and sparked huge murder inquiry

Kieran Galpin


Was the shark also part of the gang?

A tiger shark in a Sydney aquarium threw up a human arm, sparking a murder investigation and marking the case as one for the history books.

At Sydney’s Coogee Aquarium in 1935, a captured tiger sharking measuring 13ft began vomiting up some unusual stuff. First came a rat, then a bird – and then finally a tattooed human arm.


At the time, witness Narcisse Leo Young told The Sydney Herald: “I was three or four metres from the shark and clearly saw come out of its mouth a copious brown froth which smelled really foul.”

However police concluded that the arm, belonging to one Jimmy Smith, had not been bitten off – but sliced.

Here’s where things get particularly interesting.

Police discovered that Smith was connected with a local drug gang led by Reginald Holmes.

Holmes and Smith had teamed up with Patrick Brady, an ex-serviceman who had been convicted of forgery. The group began forging cheques and then using their businesses to cash them – but things turned sour in the group and Smith began blackmailing Holmes.

On Smith’s final night, he drank at a hotel with Brady – who was arrested three weeks after the shark vomited his victim’s arm up.

Holmes was found with three bullets in his chest and the rest of Smith’s body was never found. Patrick Brady denied any involvement until his death in 1965.

Our money’s still on the shark.

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