Norm Wild’s old neighborhood in East-side Carina
So Billy McCulkin’s live in lover Estelle leaves work from their Annerley home at 10am on Saturday 19 February 1974. Billy travels by means unknown to the home of his friend Norman Wild at Carina, and arrives at about 10.30am. He and Wild return to together to his missing former wife Barbara McCulkin’s home arriving at about 11am, and there they meet Billy’s sister Eileen and her boyfriend Ron Crouch.
Billy spots Janet Gayton, the 13-year-old neighbor and school friend of his eldest daughter, walking down the street. At about 6.45pm last night she had told him that the girls weren’t home, and that she had not seen them that day or the day before. He approaches her and asks who else has been at the property, and Janet tells him that Vince and Shorty were there on Wednesday night, which was the 16th of January 1974.
In the first part of his statement Billy has told us that he himself was at the family home the night before, Tuesday the 15th of January, and that he left the Dorchester Street house at 8pm., not to return until Friday 18 January, the night he became alarmed that his wife and daughters were missing and set off the alarms that are ringing still all these 42 years later.
Upon hearing this news from the neighborhood kid Billy tells the 13-year-old that ‘Well, I will go to see them’. He means Vincent O’Dempsey and Garry ‘Shorty’ Dubois, although Janet Gayton has neither told him their surnames, nor has she provided any description to him of their appearance.
Billy and Wild hop in Wild’s vehicle – make, model, color and registration number unknown – and drive off.
Billy’s sister Eileen – who has just told him that an elusive police officer named Jack Ryan, station and division unknown, is coming to visit them – and her boyfriend Ron Crouch are presumably left behind as Billy and Wild race off, for that is the last we hear of them in Billy’s initial detailed statement to police.
Norman Wild and Billy drive directly to Gray Dubois’ place at 19 Allen Street, Kedron.
It is not recorded in the statement, but the house in fact Dubois’ mother’s home, and in one of the many ironies in this sordid tale is located just a stone’s throw from the Lutwyche Cemetery, later resting place of John Andrew Stuart, an associate and perhaps friend of Billy McCulkin, and one of the two men convicted (falsely in my view) of the Whiskey Au Go Go murders. Stuart ended up in the cemetery after either committing suicide or being poisoned by warders in Boggo Road Jail, whichever story you prefer.
My first marital home directly adjoined the Lutwyche Cemetery, and I could urinate on Stuart’s grave from the deck if I had a bladder full of XXXX. And the Brain – my close mate the lawyer recently appointed a judge, at whose wedding I was a groomsman – lived just across the way. Just across the other way still lives Bob, my childhood friend the low-level dope dealer, but he’ll get upset if I mark his home on the map, so I won’t. Similarly, the bead-twirler will get mighty annoyed if I mark off the homes of young ladies that I held hands with throughout my prodigious teens, so X won’t mark those spots either.
The Dubois home is also within a short walking distance of my elder daughter’s old high school, Mt Alvernia College, and an equally short walking distance to the first marital home of my sister, whose best friend’s step-father ran around with Dubois and his mates Hamilton, Hall and Meredith when they were young teens growing up in mean Housing Commission Streets of Chermside and Wavell Heights; separated by the Rubicon of Downfall Creek from the fine upstanding kids of Geebung on the other side, myself included.
None of which adds anything particularly to the story, other than to once again afford me the opportunity to demonstrate my familiarity with the people and locales in the tale, and simply to show off. But back to Billy’s statement.
Billy and Wild arrive at Dubois home by my reckoning no earlier than 11.30am.
McCulkin leaves the vehicle and knocks on the front door.
Billy asks him if he has seen his wife.
Dubois answers ‘No, why?
Billy tells him that the kid across the road has told him that Dubois was ‘there’ – presumably meaning at Barbara’s house, although this is not plainly stated – on Wednesday night.
Dubois says that he is surprised by this, because he does not even know Billy’s wife.
‘Alright, fair enough’ says Billy, and without even a ‘have a nice day Shorty’ or offering him a tip on that afternoon’s races, he returns to the car and leaves.
The stairs which Billy McCulkin climbed to knock on Garry Dubois’ door
Importantly, in his statement Billy says that he thought the kid (Janet Gayton) may have got the days mixed up. It is a curious thing to say on sworn oath, because Billy himself has already told the officer taking the statement, future police Commissioner Ron Redmond, that he was residing at the home himself between the 14th of December 1973 and the 15th of January 1974, the day before Janet Gayton told him that ‘Vince and Shorty were there’.
Think closely about this, as it is a vital question.
If Billy accepts that young Gayton may have her days mixed up, when then does he imagine that the 13-year-old girl may have seen Dubois at 6 Dorchester Street, Highgate Hill?
If it was not on the 16th of January 1974, then surely it cannot have been on the 17th, for Billy’s suspicions about Dubois would only have been heightened.
It cannot have been on the 18th, because Billy himself was there from 6pm that fateful evening, and Barbara and the kids were not.
As Billy has told Redmond, he himself lived at the house for the month between Barbara’s discharge from hospital on 14 December 1973 following her boob job, and 8pm on the 15th of January when he waved goodbye to his ex-wife and kids for the last time.
Surely the kid could not have mixed up the days by more than a month.
And surely Dubois could not have been at the house during the month that Billy lived there.
Unless they were there at the same time.
Billy knew Dubois’ home address without asking anyone for it, and without looking in a phone book to find it.
Think about the above 2 paragraphs for a moment, if you will.
The plot thickens.