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We move to Saturday the 19th of January 1974, and clearly exhausted from his efforts of the night before Billy sleeps all day, for as it is recorded in his police statement, he doesn’t bound out of the bed he shares with Estelle until 6pm, but it’s clearly a misprint – which is somewhat of a worry in a case that is rapidly becoming bigger than Ben Hur – and it is really 6am that Billy faces the day, with barely an hours sleep under his belt.

He drags Estelle up with him, and they hit the road and head straight over to number 6 Dorchester Street at Highgate Hill, and of course no-one else is there (break-in number 10 since 7pm yesterday), so they head over to the Quiller’s at Yeronga to make further inquiries, but there is no joy there either.

And then BOOM! Something explodes out at you from the police statement page. I will quote it directly so there can be no confusion about exactly what Billy has just told Officer Redmond.

I had previously made arrangements not to go to work on this Saturday as my wife was missing

This is such a crucial assertion that, at the risk of insulting your intelligence, I am going to replay it.

I had previously made arrangements not to go to work on this Saturday as my wife was missing

And here’s the crucial one word question – WHEN?

When did Billy make these arrangements? There is no mention whatsoever of him having done so in his recollection of the events of the night before, and in any case he didn’t even – or shouldn’t have unless he had prior knowledge – have any inkling that she was missing until 7pm at the very earliest, and remember there were no mobile phones back in those days.

And he couldn’t have made the arrangements this morning, because it can only be about 7am at this stage, and Billy makes no mention of having made, or making, and phone call to his boss. He simply asserts that he has PREVIOUSLY made arrangements to take the morning off, and the police officer who will one day become Commissioner of the Qld Police lets the man who should be his prime suspect get away scot-free with such a glaring and damning error in his account.

Are you starting to smell that strange odour too?

We don’t know what Billy does from the time he visits the Quillers at around 7am and 10am when Estelle heads off to work, simply because he doesn’t tell us, and yet again Redmond doesn’t ask.

Next in the series of events is that Billy goes to see a man named Norman Wild at Gallipoli Rd, Carina, the same piece of asphalt where my daughter’s ex-boyfriend lives. It is about 20 minutes by car from Estelle’s place at Annerley, but we don’t actually know how Billy traveled to Mr Wild’s because it is not mentioned.

What Billy does mention again, as he is wont to do and Redmond to allow him to do, is that he cannot drive. In this context he says that he asks Wild to drive him around. He really does want to dispel any notion that he drove the fire-starters to the Whiskey Au Go Go doesn’t he?

Wild of course agrees, and off back to Highgate Hill they go, and there waiting for them are Billy’s sister Eileen and her beloved Ron, his drivers on the amazing and incredible journeys he made last night. Billy does not say whether or not he committed break and enter number 11, but it doesn’t matter because the MOST IMPORTANT EVENT OF ALL (outside of course that of the disappearance of the McCulkin Three) is about to happen.

Billy spots the young 13 year-old-girl from across the road, Janet Gayton, who at 7pm the previous evening told him that she hadn’t seen his daughters for 2 days, and thus precipitated the first and all the subsequent break-ins of the Dorchester Street home by Billy.

But what she is about to tell him next- allegedly of course – is of even greater import, for it is the first raindrop that sets in motion the long and winding river that has after all these years swept Vincent O’Dempsey and Garry Dubois into a prison cell, soaked by innuendo and lurid allegations, and charged with the murder and rape of the McCulkin Three.

Billy crosses the road and approached the 13 year old girl. I will repeat Bily McCulkin’s account of their exchange directly from his police statement, and exactly as it appears on the signed, sworn and witnessed page.


And thus it all begins.

And Detective Inspector Jack Ryan’s name is never mentioned again throughout the entirety of Billy McCulkin’s statement.

And no-one ever asks why, because no-one seemingly cares.

Vince and Shorty were here.

They were here on Wednesday night.

It is all that anyone wanted to know then, and it is still all that anyone wants to know, four decades later.

Vince and Shorty were here.

But were they?

And when?

They, my dear Watson, are the elementary questions.

To be continued …………….