Prime Suspect Identified in Historic Adelaide Oval Abductions

August 22, 2023 11:35 am in by
Joanne Ratcliffe, 11, (left) and Kirste Gordon, 4, (right) went missing from Adelaide Oval on August 25, 1973

A deceased notorious sex offender has been identified as a prime suspect in the historic Adelaide Oval abductions on August 25, 1973.

Fifty years on from the disappearance of Kirstie Gordon and Joanne Ratcliffe from a football match, police are still investigating the case.

Victor Harbor journalist Bryan Littlely has been working with the Leave a Light On Inc., established by Ratcliffe’s sister Suzie, to uncover what happened, along with Nine’s program ‘Under Investigation’. After uncovering evidence in June, Littlely confidently named the late Stanley Arthur Hart as the alleged perpetrator.

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Littlely met with Major Crime Police on Saturday 19 August to update them with information.

Now key witness Anthony Kilmartin has come forward to the media for the first time, recounting his memory of the incident to Nine News and naming Stanley Hart as the closest match to any images of suspects he has seen.

Kilmartin was a teenager selling snacks at the oval at the time of the disappearance and witnessed the girls being taken by a man who, at the time, he thought must have been their father.

He has told Nine ahead of a 50th anniversary candlelight vigil at Adelaide Oval this Friday 25th, that the ordeal has haunted him for decades.

“(I) didn’t even come back here as a young bloke, for concerts even. I couldn’t come back here,” he said.

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“Being here might bring some sort of closure I think… [But the pain] will never go away, even after all these years.”


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