It’s still Sunday 20 January 1974, and after confirming that Estelle Long drove Billy McCulkin to their meet – without actually having seen her distinctive late-model pink-colored- car or of course Estelle behind its wheel – Detective-Sergeant (later to be promoted to Inspector) Basil Hicks of the Queensland Police Crime Investigation Unit resumes his chat with his fizz-gig* Billy.
Billy tells DS Baz that his (estranged) wife and kids are missing. He says that just 5 days ago on the 15th of January he spent the day with Barbara at her house – which is a bit weird, given that he has just told DS Baz that they weren’t on the best of terms – and that the day after he left, the 16th of January, he was standing on a footpath in the Valley when a bus pulled up near him, and lo and behold who was on it but Barbara herself!
What would be the chances hey?
But hang on!
The evening of the 16th is the date it is commonly (but not necessarily correctly) assumed that Barbara and her girls went missing.
And Billy has just told us that he saw Barbara in the Valley.
But just two weeks later he has made a police statement to Ron Redmond, the master sleuth who will later become the state’s Commissioner of Police, and he has told Rocket Ronnie that when he saw Barb on the bus we was working on a construction site at 444 Queen Street in the Brisbane CBD!
Now any Brivegas sportsfan who has kicked around the streets of inner Brisbane a bit – and I bloody lived on them as a teen, so you can trust me on this – knows very bloody well that 444 Queens Street ain’t in the Valley, and is in fact about a half a km or so along the frog and toad on the hoof.
Well that’s pretty close you might say, Billy just made a mistake, which if Billy were not a bloke who spent most of his days and nights in the City or Valley you might almost accept, except of course for one thing.
Buses travelling through the Valley aren’t travelling to the Valley are they?
They are already there.
And the buses are definitely not travelling along Queens Street in the Valley, because Queens Street is in the Brisbane CBD.
Take another look at the statements above, and check the map.
Done it? Right. Good.
Then you spotted something else that stands out like dogs balls didn’t you?
Billy tells DS Baz that he called out to Barbara, and that she called out back.
But he told Rocket Ronnie just a fortnight later that he in fact mouthed some words to her, and doesn’t mention her replying, just waving.
If the coppers had been fair dinkum then right at about this point they would have noticed these marked inconsistencies in Billy’s story, and he wouldn’t have been bloody waving then would he? He’d be f*cking drowning.
Billy McCulkin would have been the prime suspect in the murder of his wife and children.
But he wasn’t, and never was, despite the brightly flashing lights.
Why do you reckon?
Nudge nude, wink wink, say no more.