In researching Cold War Games, I received a tantalising top from a senior person who looked after security for the Olympic Games. A KGB hitman had murdered a Hungarian; it was unclear whether it was an official, a visitor or agent. No name was given but he said that the victim was thrown off a railway bridge at Kensington. After he reported the incident to Olympic officials, he was told to suppress in the incident so it did not tarnish the “friendly” Games.
I scanned the newspapers looking for the murder. I came up with nothing. I then checked the file index for the Sun newspaper, and there it was. A man died, falling off a railway bridge in Footscray on 12 December, just a few days after the Closing Ceremony. Close enough to match the tip I had been given, but why couldn’t I find it in the newspaper archive. One of the helpful reference librarians at the State Library suggested that if it had been suppressed, then it might have been covered in the early edition and then pulled. The library only had the later edition. I search at other Australian libraries uncovered an early edition, and there was the news item. It was an accident, according to the reporter.
Not only was it pulled from the later edition of the newspaper, but when I searched the local newspaper, the Footscray and Western Suburbs Advertiser, a weekly that was published on the 19 December, there was no mention of the death, which is surprising. After all, the death was witnessed by hundreds of people, according to the newspaper report. But then again, if the news was suppressed, then it was not so surprising.
It was not a Hungarian official or athlete, as they were all accounted for. I checked police records and there was no death of a person with a Hungarian name during the period.
So was it a suicide or a murder? Was it suppressed? Was the KGB involved, or was it a story, embellished over the years? We’ll never know.