So when we left you it had to be just after 11pm and Billy was just arriving at the Federal Hotel, and telling Commissioner to be Ron Redmond in his police statement that it was in fact well before 10 o’clock.
Which is bad, very bad, because it can’t be 11.00pm and before 10.oopm both at the same time when you’re standing in exactly the same spot can it, unless of course you are in Wonderland, where all the clocks go crazy?
Well guess what Sportsfans, you’re in Wonderland all right, because Billy’s just remembered something! And it is a somewhat important thing that he has just remembered. A very important thing indeed.
The thing Billy has just remembered is that while still in the company of his sister and her ever loving boyfriend Ron Crouch on the evening of the 18th of January 1974 he made 2 additional stops on his journey.
The first was a visit to the Criminal Investigation Branch in the Brisbane CBD.
When, and what he did there, we do not know, because Billy doesn’t say, and somewhat more than curiously, Police Commissioner to be Redmond doesn’t ask.
We know already that Ron and Eileen didn’t join Billy at Highgate Hill until
Then the plot thickens even further, because Billy remembers that he also visited the Woolloongabba Police Station that same night, and we do know what he did there, or what he says he did anyway, because he tells us so.
He filled in a missing persons report about his absent estranged wife and kids, who at that stage had, to the best of his knowledge, been out of the house at 6pm on a warm Brisbane Friday night during the school holidays, and had not returned home by 9pm.
It’s hardly unusual behavior for a single mum and her school-age kids who live near the city to go out in late afternoon of a summer’s day without the spurned ex-wife phoning the pub that she would have suspected her cuckolding husband would be drinking with his new mistress to inform him of their movements is it? Nor is it unusual that they may have not returned by 9pm is it?
So what spooked Billy McCulkin so badly that he was convinced that they were missing persons, and not only raced the length and breadth of the town searching for them, but went to the extreme length of visiting the CIB – for a missing person? – and the Woolloongabba Police Station, where he says he arrived at about 9pm and made the missing person report?
What indeed? That is the $250 o00 question.
But hang on!
Wasn’t he headed to the Red Hill Skating rink to check to see if the kids were there, because there was a note on a blackboard on the front door saying they were?
Why would he go the police station to report them missing before he checked the skating rink first?
And if he went to the skating rink first, then called his mate Vince O’Dempsey’s brothel and talked to a hooker who knew his wife but didn’t know where she was, and then drove straight to his brother-in-law’s at Strathpine, and then drove straight back to the Federal Hotel where he downed a couple of coldies while he waited for his new missus to knock off at 10pm, then when did he have time to go to either police station?
Even more importantly, why did Ron Redmond not ask the man that he knew was a convicted criminal whose name had been publicly aired as a suspect in the Whiskey Au Go Go blaze that killed 15 innocent people less than 12 months before not view Billy McCulkin with a huge degree of suspicion when he made his statement to him on 5 February 1974, when his wife and children had been missing not for 3 hours, but for nearly 3 weeks?
And treating McCulkin with this deserved and requisite suspicion, and perhaps even following the Police Investigation Manual For Idiots, pages 1-2, and thus regarding him as the main suspect in their disappearance, why did Redmond not probe him vigorously and deeply about the massive inconsistencies in the tale that he was being told?
Why did he not indeed?
You can form your own conclusions if you like. I have formed mine.
And they are not pretty.
All of a sudden I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that there are 2 men sitting in Brisbane remand centers right now staring at the walls who should not in fact be there at all.
And if Billy McCulkin did indeed visit both police stations as he says he did, and make a missing persons report, he could not possibly have done so without adding at the very minimum an additional hour to the timeframes that we have already established by a simple process of logic applied to the chain of events described in his police statement.
When I was at Geebung Primary School Mr Bamford taught us that eleven plus one equals twelve, and caned us every time we got it wrong.
You know what that means don’t you?
Billy McCulkin could not have arrived at the Federal Hotel until midnight at the very earliest, and almost certainly not even then.
And the pub had closed at 10pm.
It all just gets worse, doesn’t it my friends?
How on earth did the current investigating police officers not pick this up?
How in the universe did Garry Dubois’ lawyers miss this at the Committal hearing?
Why was it not raised by his legal team during either of his pair of bail hearings?
Ladies, Gentleman, Sportsfans and Punters – What the hell is going on here?