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The Sunday Mail has this morning reported that the trial date for the 2 men accused of the murder of the the McCulkin three has been set for November.

Of course I already knew that but loose lips sink battleships so I kept shtum, but now the cat’s been let out of the bag by the Sunday Mail journalist who wrote the article calling me a killer for the simple sin of telling parents about their kids schoolteacher’s sexual crimes, and thus costing the paper plenty by way of a defamation settlement and the humiliation of a printed and published apology.

So I’ll take it a step further just to show off and tell you the the trial begins on Monday the 7th of November at 10am in the Queensland Supreme Court, and that as well the murder raps the defendants are also facing charges of rape and deprivation of liberty, which is a joke that would almost be funny if only the whole thing weren’t so serious all round.

Now, I have gone way out on a limb and declared my hand early as the only Brisbane journalist who believes that the 2 accused men – Vincent O’Dempsey and Garry Dubois – are innocent of these crimes based on the evidence that will be presented against them, and I will continue to do so over the coming months and further expand on why I am correct, but to set the scene here it is in a nutshell

  • The historical evidence is crook, and has been altered, omitted or manipulated to fit the scenario that the investigating police in the 70’s wanted the world to believe.

The reason for that is simple – certain police of the day were involved directly in the commission and/or execution of the McCulkin’s disappearance, which was directly connected to the arson of 2 Fortitude Valley nightclubs, Torinos and the Whiskey Au Go Go, the latter of which went horribly wrong and left 15 innocent people dead and 2 career criminals who didn’t commit this particular crime convicted of it nevertheless, due to fabricated evidence tendered to the court by the aforementioned police officers and/or their friends.

  • The contemporary evidence is crook, and has been elicited or induced (take your pick) from witnesses by police through a combination of threat and promise.

The threat being police charging the witness for involvement in other offences, the evidence based on information obtained under duress in the draconian star chamber of the Crime and Corruption Commission under the 2001 Act of the same name; the promise being a whole or part share in a $250 000 reward offered for information leading to a conviction in relation to the McCulkin’s disappearance.

  • The prime witnesses are crook, and are crooks, and the evidence that have given has been proffered in return for indemnity against prosecution for offences that have nothing at all to do directly with the crimes that they are pointing the bone and accusing the defendants of committing.

The star witness is a bloke named Peter Hall, a broken down old career criminal who has served stretches both in Australia and abroad for an array of offences involving drugs, robbery and violence, and is suspected of small scale involvement with Terry Clark’s 1970’s Mr Asia crime syndicate after meeting a number of Clark’s associates in New Zealand’s Mt Eden Prison after doing a stretch there in 1973 for conspiracy to commit a heist on a jewellery store.

Hall’s longest stretch was for shooting at a bloke several times while the chap was sitting defenceless and unarmed in a car, and it just sheer dumb luck for Hall that he is a hopeless c*nt and missed his target’s vital organs despite being only three foot away when he pulled the trigger, for had he been a better shot he’d still be in the can today serving out his life sentence rather than having simply copped a tenner as his lag, reduced by good behavior remissions and a low bottom, that has rendered him a free man if not a good one, and allowed him liberty to assume the traditional un-Australian role of sh*thouse rat made famous by Aaron Sherritt back in the north of Victoria in the 19th century.

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The other prime witness is a junkie, another life-long f*ck up from a family of villains – her sister is Queensland’s best known shoplifter and bag-snatcher, a sl*t who pushes old ladies violently to the ground so that she call steal the sixty cents in Grandma’s purse – who also has a criminal record as long as your arm and who, like Hall has received indemnity for prosecution for unrelated offences in return for her testimony about what she claims she was told at a time shortly after she had ingested 10 valium and had whacked a decent-sized shot of the Harry Horse up her arm.

What a top-shelf pair of prosecution witnesses these pair are. Charles Manson and Martin Bryant must have been unavailable on the trial day, otherwise I’m sure that the investigating officers would have thrown them in too.

  • There are no bodies, and no physical evidence whatsoever of murder, rape, deprivation of liberty or anything else at all, other than the break and enter of the McCulkin’s Highgate Hill home by Barbara’s violent estranged husband Billy, whose uninvited entry to the home – combined with a distinct lack of police interest in investigating the women’s disappearance – destroyed the crime scene evidence for all time.

Sure, plenty of murderers have been convicted without a body being found, although they are never easy prosecutions, particularly when there is not obvious or apparent motive for the crime. Which is the simple reason that the defendants have also been charged with the rape of the McCulkins, although until recently the only person who has ever claimed at the woman and her kids were raped was Billy McCulkin himself, and that claim was simply conjecture on his behalf that he had a lifetime in jail’s reason to make.

That Billy McCulkin himself was never considered a prime suspect in his family’s disappearance is one of the most curious elements of the whole mystery, for those who can’t figure out the reason at least, and it is well worth reading my series of true crime exclusive articles analysing Billy’s police statements to understand why.

If they were to have any hope at all of making the murder charges stick however the police needed to come up with some form of motive that they could present to the jury, and for some reason were loathe to follow the obvious path of Barbara being ‘disappeared’ because she was about to blow the lid on the 1970’s police involvement in Whiskey fire and murders, and that the kids were simply collateral damage.

Of course I say ‘for some reason’ with tongue firmly in cheek, because the police have a thousand and one reasons not to tread the path most followed, for to do so expose the terrible crimes of their forebears and the false imprisonment of James Finch and John Stuart for the Whiskey crimes, thus exploding long held secrets and exposing the State to lawsuits and damage claims worth squillions.

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The torched shell of the Whiskey Au Go Go, where in 1973 fifteen innocents died

Hence the rape scenario, with the deprivation of liberty charges thrown in as a double blind for the jury’s benefit, to swirl and muddy the waters.

‘It was a sex crime Ladies and Gentlemen! Perpetrated by a pair of pedophiles!’ you can hear the prosecution proclaiming, and in your mind’s eye see the jury members visibly blanch. And what’s the bet they try to introduce a 52 year old rape conviction – a very questionable one too, the verdict made by the jury on shaky grounds; trust me, I’ve read the transcripts of both the trial and the appeal – against Dubois for an offence committed when he was a 17 year old kid living in the Housing Commission on the wrong side of Downfall Creek?

It’s a certainty the prosecution will try, as it will give their tissue paper thin case some veneer of credibility, but here’s the big question – have you ever seen a rape conviction made when there is absolutely no evidence of a rape other than the hearsay evidence of an indemnified, reward-driven, career-criminal witness who was 400km away from what he claims was the crime scene at the time that he claims the crime occurred?

Simple answer?

Never.

  • The dubious credibility of the evidence that puts the alleged offenders at the scene of the disappearance of the McCulkin Three.

Placing the offenders firmly at the scene of the McCulkin’s disappearance is absolutely crucial to the prosecution’s prospects of success, because there are three essential elements that usually have to be satisfied before a person can be convicted of the murder of another – means, motive and opportunity – and to prove the latter the prosecutors must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the jury that Dubois and O’Dempsey were somewhere nearby at the time that Barbara and her girls vanished off the face of this earth.

If you believe everything that you read you will accept without question the story that there is clear evidence that the defendants were at the McCulkin home on the evening of 16 January 1974, the night that the woman and her kids disappeared.

But let me tell you unequivocally that the oft-reported tale is pure urban myth, and that there is in fact very little credible evidence whatsoever that either of the 2 men were there on the night in question. In fact the only evidence at all of O’Dempsey or Dubois’ presence at the property is that of two children named Janet and Juneen Gayton, aged thirteen and ten respectively.

Now what has not been reported, and what you will not know unless you have read the girls statements -and the transcripts of evidence from the 1980 Coroner’s investigation of the the disappearance of the McCulkin’s and others, but we’ll look at them later, for now we’ll just concentrate on the evidence in the Gayton’s statements made in 1974 – is that neither child was ever able to identify Dubois by name at all, and could only identify O’Dempsey by his first name, and that identification was hearsay based simply on what their friend had told them.

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You see what happened on the 16th of January 1974 is that the young Gayton girls walked across the road from their house on the other side of Dorchester Street and called out to the 2 McCulkin kids to come over to their house because it was Juneen’s birthday and they were having cake.

It’s long been reported as a birthday party but it wasn’t – there were no other children present – just the kids from across the road, the McCulkins.

The Gayton children never actually entered their friends house – they simply stood out the front next to the gate – from where Janet whistled,  and then Leanne and Vicki came out. The Gayton girls were only there at the property for less than a minute.

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The McCulkin’s home at 6 Dorchester St, Highgate Hill

The pair of children gave varying accounts of what happened during that brief minute.

Janet, the older girl, says that she saw a man in the front yard holding a box of beer and talking to a cat, and saw another man in the kitchen talking to Mrs McCulkin. She knew that man by the name of Vince, because he’d been at the house before, but didn’t know his last name.

She says that as they walked across the road Vicki McCulkin made the comment that Vince and Shorty were here. Janet asked what Shorty’s real name was, and Vicki told her a name, but she couldn’t remember it. Vicki also told her that the men were friends of her Dad.

The younger girl, Juneen, says that as she was standing in her yard across the road she saw two men walking through the McCulkin’s gate. When she came across the road with her sister one of the men was standing near the front fence, holding a box of beer and talking to a cat named Ginger Meggs. She didn’t talk to the man, and she couldn’t see into the house, so didn’t see the other man while she was there.

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Juneen Gayton, now in her 50’s, but once a little 10-year-old who like most kids would paid attention to Ginger Meggs the cat, but couldn’t remember the men at her friends house

Juneen Gayton also says that Vicki made the statement that Vince and Shorty were there, and that Janet asked Vicki what Shorty’s real name was, but in her version Vicki simply replied that he was a friend of her Dad’s.

Neither of the girls knew if there was anyone else in the house – Billy McCulkin, for instance – for the simple reason that they didn’t go inside.

The Gayton girls made these statements four months after the disappearance of the McCulkins – a story goes with the delay, we’ll tell you about it later – and by this time O’Dempsey’s face in particular had been plastered all over the Brisbane newspapers after the police released it to media and declared him the prime suspect in the suspected crime.

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Janet Gayton, the little girl who last saw the McCulkin girls, as she looked 36 years later

A police officer showed Janet a photo of O’Demspey, and she told the officer that was the man Vince she saw at the house. Hold the phone on this issue though, because when I tell you in a later story about what happened at the Coroner’s hearing you will realise that there are huge doubts over the veracity of this identification.

Janet was unable to identify the man ‘Shorty’ other than to say to say he had sandy-colored hair worn about shoulder length and some type of mustache.

Juneen was unable to identify either man at all.

And that’s it as far as witness identification of O’Dempsey and Dubois at the alleged scene of the crime goes, although it is of course not the actual alleged scene of the crime, because the prosecution claim is that the offences occurred at an unknown location in the Warwick region in Queensland’s Darling Downs, about 300km away, and there are no witnesses whatsoever to that alleged event.

It’s pretty bloody weak isn’t it? Particularly in regard to Dubois. In fact I would go so far as to say that there is absolutely no credible first hand evidence that Garry Dubois was there at all on the night, and for reasons to be explained the evidence about O’Dempsey’s presence is shaky at the very best.

  • The missing piece of vital evidence.

But – and this a huge BUT – it is not what is contained in the Gayton girl’s statements that is what’s crucial to the question of identification.

It’s what is not there.

Witness statements from Mr and Mrs Gayton.

The police never interviewed them.

They never sought a statement from the only adults in the whole wide world who could place the McCulkin sisters at the Gayton home on the evening of 16 January 1974, and could verify the pivotal times that they arrived and left the house.

They never asked the girls parents if they had seen either O’Dempsey or Dubois at their neighbor’s house.

They never asked Mr or Mrs Gayton whether they had noticed O’Dempsey’s highly distinctive Valiant Charger parked across the road opposite from their house. EVERY witness interviewed remembers O’Dempsey’s flash car, it was a real talking point, and men in particular could surely not have missed noting it if it was there. But the police never asked.

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Why not?

Surely this information would have been crucial to the case, particularly given that one of the critical pieces of evidence is that Leanne Gayton fell ill, and left the Gayon’s house early.

We can’t ask Graham Gayton, the girl’s father, because he died in 2001, and is presently resting at peace in the Wynnum Cemetery, but we can ask Mrs Gayton who is alive and well and looking good, and living only a few kilometers away from her old home across the road from the scene of those awful events of four long decades ago.

I could, and will, write a whole lot more about the tangled web that so many have woven that in my view renders the MCulkin mystery damn near unsolvable.

But it’s 6.30pm, and my wife’s birthday cake is waiting on the table.

In this mad world of filth and sh*t and greed and ambition and corruption and lies, I just hope I live to wake and excrete it in the morning.

The poor little McCulkin girls never got the chance.