, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So having obtained the address of the brothel that he already knows the exact location and phone number of, Billy and his driver Norm head over to the Polonia. Assuming that Billy spent about half an hour at the races locating Mead and trying to have his stolen cheque cashed, and allowing 20 minutes to get to Lutwyche, it’s either roughly 3.30pm or 5.30pm by the time they arrive, but at this stage it doesn’t really matter because we know that Billy’s statement is crook and that he’s lying through his teeth.

He arrives at the whorehouse and sees Cheryl Evans, the woman he spoke to when he rang the night before. She must be pulling a double shift. Why he has actually gone to the Polonia we are not told, and will never find out, but while he’s there he tells Madam Evans that he’s really worried about Barb and the kids, which will come as no surprise to her given that he told her the same thing on the phone the night before.

Madam Evans tells him that she hopes nothing has happened to them, because she’s met Barbara and reckons she’s really nice, which leaves us wondering what Madam Evans might be thinking if she thought that Barbara was f*cking rude cow, but there’s no point in speculating, because Billy’s doing the story telling for us.

He says he then went to a telephone box and called Garry Dubois, but he wasn’t home, which surely mustn’t be a shock to Billy given that he ran him off the road in Milton merely an hour and a half before, and that when he did so Dubois was headed in a westerly direction away from his home with a bunch of mates.

Why Billy wanted to talk to Dubois for the fourth time that day – other than in an attempt to put him squarely in the frame for a murder the bloke had nothing to do with – we’ll never know. Just as we’ll never know why he dropped 20c into a Telecom public dog and bone in a glass dog and bone box when he could have used one of the multiple dial-a-root lines at the Polonia for free.

You and I might ask the question, but do you reckon Rocket Redmond did? I don’t even need to tell you the answer do I?

Hold the phone though! Billy’s changed his story again, and now he remembers that he wasn’t with Norm Wild when he went to the Polonia whorehouse and spoke to Madam Evans, he was in fact with his missus Estelle. It’s not a very nice place to be taking a respectable pub manager you’d think, but then again Billy does not appear to be a very nice man.

How Redmond let a story about Norm Wild driving Billy direct from Doomben races to the brothel morph into a story about Estelle – who remember is supposed to be at work – take him there, without any explanation whatsoever about his movements in between, or hers, is a mystery known only to Redmond, but he has taken it with him to the grave, so we are never going to find out are we?

I suspect it might have something to do with a fellow copper taping him on the shoulder and whispering in his ear ‘Hey Sarge, the other witness statements don’t match’, but as I’ve already told you I’m from Geebung and therefore a natural-born cynic.

Billy then would have us believe that he trots off to the South Brisbane Area Police Office to be interviewed by a Detective Sullivan about regarding ‘this matter’, whatever the matter he is referring to may be, but we are never going to learn anything about that particular matter either because Billy doesn’t add any detail, and no record of an interview conducted with McCulkin by Sullivan is ever produced in the 4 decades that follows.

Billy does not see either Vince or Dubois again between that day and the day of his statement, and despite his frantic attempts to contact them that particular Saturday he appears to make no attempt whatsoever to make any contact with them whatsoever thereafter. No phone calls, no home visits, nothing.

Redmond doesn’t ask him why.

We skip over Sunday the 20th of January 1974 for the moment – there’s a good reason for that which I’ll tell you about soon – and move directly to 6pm on Monday the 21st of January 1974, and despite Barb and the kids still being missing Billy is perched on his favorite stool in the Federal (Spring Hill) Hotel sculling pots poured for him by 

The phone rings and it’s Vince. He asks Billy if there is any news about his family.

There isn’t.

Then Vince tells him Cheryl’s dog has been killed.

Now Billy has not mentioned this in his statement, and doesn’t, but the Cheryl Evans that he has been talking to on the phone and at the brothel is in fact Vince O’Dempsey’s wife. 

It is not mentioned in the statement either that Vince is in fact an animal lover. In the years to follow he is to become a renowned breeder both of Alpacas and of a rare breed of chickens. He may not be too fond of people, but Vince sure does like his animals.

Billy asks him if someone has killed the dogs, but Vince says no, it has been hit by a car. Then, most curiously, Billy claims that Vince says that this could be repercussions over something.

In Geebung we call this the old paint ’em black and plant ’em trick. But of course all Bunger boys and birds and born cynics.

Billy says that he has no idea what repercussions could possibly be coming, and then – and this is the giveaway – says that the last fight he was ever in was 4 months ago at Flamingo’s nightclub.

Ask yourself, why does he say this? It’s Vince’s wife’s dog that has been killed, not his, and he clearly suspects that Vince has some involvement in his family’s disappearance (or so he says anyway). So why on earth would he imagine that the repercussion Vince is talking about has anything to with him?

The old paint ’em black and plant ’em trick. Geez our parents brought us up well in Geebung. God bless the Bung!

Vince asks Billy if he has a gun.

Billy tells him he has a shotgun.

Vince asks him if he will be on his favorite bar stool drinking the pots that Estelle is dealing him off the arm tomorrow night at 6, and when Billy says he will be, Vince says he will give him a call then.

We never learn whether Vince calls the next day or not. Billy doesn’t say, and Redmond doesn’t ask.

Then Billy lets slip that he has seen a Detective Sergeant named Basil Hicks the previous day, Sunday the 20th of January 1974.

I will tell you more about his meeting with Hicks at a later stage, a whole lot more, and what I tell you will raise your eyebrows and perhaps the hairs on the back of your neck. But for now all you need to know is that Billy is Basil Hicks fizz, his informant, a crim who passes a copper information about other crims, which of course is a cardinal sin in the circles in which Billy moves, and one likely to get you – or perhaps even your family – killed if the wrong people find out.

Billy says that he later told Hicks about Vince’s phone call, although he cannot remember whether he did so in person or not. He must have a bad memory our Billy, although he seems to be able to remember things when he wants to.

He explains to Redmond that the shotgun belongs to Estelle, and is stored at her flat. Redmond does not ask him why a bar manager living with a convicted criminal owns a shotgun, nor does he ask if it is licensed.

Billy tells him that he used to have another shotgun that he borrowed off a person, but that he has given it back. Redmond does not ask him why he borrowed the shotgun, or from whom, or for what purpose – say, for example a bank robbery – that it was used.

Billy affirms that his wife and daughters were not insured, thus ruling a life insurance scam out as the motive for their murder.

His first statement to police ends.

It has been made of his own free will, and no promise or inducement was held out to him to make it.

And Vitas Geruilitas is going to make a comeback and win Wimbledon in 2016, and Johnny Raper is being recalled by Laurie Daley to play second row for the Blues.

Thus on the 5th of February 1974 the nightmare of Garry Dubois and Vince O’Dempsey begins. 

To be continued