The next thing that Bazza records in his Crime Intelligence Report of 22 January 1974 is that at 6pm on the 16th of January 1974 the 13-year-old Janet Gayton says that she saw 2 men go into Barbara McCulkin’s house.
One of them had a black shirt and long pants on. The other was shorter than the man in the black shirt, and was carrying a carton containing about six bottles of beer.
They definitely entered the house these pair of these men – according to DS Baz anyway – for after they had crossed the door frame Janet went over and spoke to Vicki McCulkin and asked who these blokes inside were.
Vicki told her that one was Vince O’Dempsey, and the other was a fella who her father called Shorty.
This account of events related by DS Hicks is highly curious, for a number of reasons, each of them important.
Firstly, in every other statement she makes Janet Gayton says that Vicki told her that her father called the men ‘Vince’ and ‘Shorty’. At no stage ever does she say she was told Vince’s last name was O’Dempsey.
Secondly, never again does Janet Gayton – or her sister Juneen – ever say that 2 men actually entered the house. Their evidence is always that the man named Vince entered the house, and the man they were told was named Shorty stayed in the yard outside the house playing with the McCulkin’s cat.
Thirdly, forever after we are told that the man who was not Vince was carrying half a carton of stubbies – that’s 12 bottles of beer, not six – and they were without doubt XXXX 375ml bottles. This point is very, very important, for reasons that will later become clear.
Fourthly – and critically, given Billy’s later evidence – DS Bazza says that young Janet Gayton told him that she saw the man named Shorty sitting at the table talking to Mrs Barbara McCulkin.
This totally contradicts the child’s later sworn evidence, and throws huge doubt on any value that any of her evidence may hold, particularly given that it was take in the absence of her parents, and seemingly without a lawyer or any other adult present.
WTF were Bazza and the other coppers thinking? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Fifthly, McCulkin has not at this stage mentioned a word to DS Baz about the Gayton kids, and Dorchester Street is a bloody long one, and Baz doesn’t note in his report how or why he came to be talking to young teenager across the road.
Sixthly, and even more curiously, in his statement to Rocket Ronnie our old mate Bill has said that all he asked young Janet on the evening of the 18th was whether she had seen his girls, and little miss Gayton had said no, not today, and not yesterday either.
But Billy said that conversation occurred at around nightfall – about 6.45 pm – as recorded in his statement to the Rocket. Yet he told DS Baz that he broke into Barb’s joint at 6pm, without ever sighting the Gayton girl or asking her a single, solitary question.
Are you beginning to wonder what the hell is going on here?