McCulkin ‘murder’ witness ‘lied’ under oath to CCC probe

THE Queensland Attorney General gave a key McCulkin murder trial witness a guarantee that he would not be prosecuted for perjury or for his role in torching the Torino nightclub in 1973.

Yvette D'Ath's signed indemnity documents mean Peter Hall cannot be prosecuted despite admitting before a Brisbane Supreme Court jury a short time ago that he was involved in the arson attack and that he lied under oath about his knowledge of the McCulkin "murders" when he gave testimony before the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Mr Hall said this morning that Garry Reginald "Shorty" Dubois confessed to him that he and co-accused Vincent O'Dempsey were involved in the disappearance of Barbara McCulkin and her daughters, Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11.

The trio were last seen at their Highgate Hill home on January 16, 1974.

Mr Hall told defence barrister Dennis Lynch that he did not tell the truth when he appeared before the Crime and Corruption Commission in 2014.

"I lied," Mr Hall said.

M Lynch told the court that the Attorney General gave Mr Hall two written guarantees that he would not be prosecuted for perjury or the Torino fire.


Witness describes 'rape and murder' of McCulkin family

A WITNESS has described in graphic detail how Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters were allegedly murdered 42 years ago.

Peter Hall, an acquaintance of co-accused Garry Reginald 'Shorty' Dubois and Vincent O'Dempsey, told a Brisbane Supreme Court jury that Mr Dubois revealed to him how he and Mr O'Dempsey raped the children.

The 34-year-old Highgate Hill mother and her daughters, Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, disappeared on January 16, 1974.

Their bodies have never been found.

Mr Dubois, 69, had pleaded not guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court to one charge of deprivation of liberty, two of rape and three charges of murder.

Mr O'Dempsey, 78, is expected to face trial next year.

Mr Hall told the court that he met with Mr Dubois in the days after the McCulkins disappeared.

Mr Hall said Mr Dubois and Mr O'Dempsey drove Mrs McCulkin and her girls to an unknown place in the bush where they were "raped and murdered".

"Dubois said O'Dempsey separated the mother from the daughters into the darkness," Mr Hall said.

"He (Dubois) believes he strangled her - he said there were gurgling sounds and O'Dempsey seemed to be gone for what seemed to be a long period of time.

"After the sound stopped he (O'Dempsey) came down and proceeded to rape one of the girls."

Mr Hall said Mr O'Dempsey told Mr Dubois to "rape the other one, which he had trouble doing".

"He (Dubois) said he didn't feel real good but he eventually complied.

"After that was over, O'Dempsey killed one (of the sisters) and asked him to kill the other.

"He said he couldn't do it so O'Dempsey killed the other (girl)."


The day Billy McCulkin went on a wild hunt for his family

AN emotionally-charged Billy McCulkin was darting around Brisbane on the hunt for his estranged family.

It had been at least two days since anyone had seen his wife and two daughters; since he had seen them.

The 34-year-old engaged family, friends and taxis to drive him around the city trying to find them, repeatedly returning to their Highgate Hill home to check whether they had returned.

Then a neighbour told him "Vince and Shorty" had visited the family house on the Wednesday of that week.

He knew Vincent O'Dempsey and Garry Reginald Dubois and decided to chase them down.

Brisbane Supreme Court heard he swung by the massage parlour Mr O'Dempsey owned and went to the Kedron home where he believed Mr Dubois lived with his mother.

It was 42 years ago, an era when they would drop into the Federal Hotel to wait for phone calls and duck to the Doomben race track to get a cheque cashed.

Mr McCulkin, now dead, was emotional - even punching his own sister Eileen in the face and knocking out some of her teeth when they were at the family home.

She had said something like if he "had been home this wouldn't have happened".

"Gentleman, isn't he?!" she said to the jury.

The court has heard testimony that Mr McCulkin beat his wife Barbara but his sister Eileen said she never saw evidence of that, despite visiting two to three times a week.

Mr Dubois is facing a trial accused of murdering Barbara McCulkin, 34, and her two daughters Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11.

The Torbanlea man is also charged with raping the two girls. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

His co-accused Vincent O'Dempsey, from Warwick, will face a separate trial on the same charges next year.

Mr McCulkin and his wife had once separated for about six months in 1966 but had mostly lived together until about three or four months before her disappearance.

"I could not get on with my wife and she could not get on with me," he said but told police they had a good relationship and he would give her money because she was not working.

He saw them during the week they went missing, saying "at that time my wife was in good spirits and the children seemed to be quite happy".

Mr McCulkin said he saw his wife about 11am on the Wednesday - the last day she was seen - on a council bus.

"She waved to me and I waved back to her. I mouthed out to her I might come over tonight," he said.

"She waved back to me and seemed to be quite happy."

But Mr McCulkin never made it back that day - he said he went drinking two nights in a row and spent both nights at his new girlfriend's place.

He popped over to the house on the Friday, after his regular drinks with work mates, just before dark to give Barbara $60 from his pay.

"I found that it was locked up and I could not rouse anybody," he said.

"I went to the shop where I spoke to the store keeper and I asked her if she had seen my wife and children or if she knew where they were.

"She said she had not seen my wife or the children.

"I sat on the front steps and waited for my wife and daughters.

"I waited till about nightfall."

When the neighbours told him they had not seen his family, he said he became worried.

"I broke a glass on the front door on the verandah to get into the house," he said in his police statement, read to Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday.

"On gaining entry to the house I saw the light was on in the house. The two Siamese cats were locked in.

"My wife's sewing machine was up in the lounge room  and a dress was partially stitched in the machine.

"There was food in the refrigerator including six bottles of beer.

"My wife's money purse was on top of refrigerator - the sum of $8 was in it."

Mr McCulkin said no clothes or shoes seemed to be missing.

School books and money boxes remained in the places they were left.

The place seemed "undisturbed".

Norman Wild testified that his mate Mr McCulkin woke him up in the early hours of Saturday, January 19, 1974, to drive him around Brisbane.

He told the court Mr McCulkin had a shotgun in the car for "insurance" as he tried to track down Mr Dubois and Mr O'Dempsey.

Mr Wild, who had been friends with Mr McCulkin since 1964, said they saw Mr Dubois when they were at the Federal Hotel.

He said they chased them down but he could not hear the whole conversation.

"Billy said 'Where's me f***ing kids? Where's my wife?'" he said. "He was pretty emotional really.

"Billy said 'You're piss weak' or something along those lines (to Dubois)."

Mr Wild said Dubois drove off saying "f**k you too".

"Billy was 110% certain that something had happened"," Mr Wild said, but he did not go into detail about what that reason was.

In his police statement Mr McCulkin said he did find Mr O'Dempsey and Mr Dubois on one trip to Kedron.

Sitting in the kitchen, he told them he went to the "bobbies" because he was worried about his family.

"They both said they would like to help," he said.

"I then said to Vince 'What were you doing there?'. He said 'I wasn't there'.

"I then said 'Well I don't care if she's run off with anybody or anything like that, all I want to do is find out if she's all right'.

"They both said 'no we don't know anything'.

"I then said 'If anything's happened to them, I'll just blow heads off.'

"They said 'Well, you're entitled to'."

"I then used some obscene language, and said what I would do if I found them."

The trial continues today when witness Peter Hall is expected to testify.


No record of the McCulkins after 1974

VICKI McCulkin would have turned 56 yesterday if she was still alive.

Claire Gillespie, from the Queensland Police Service missing persons unit, found record of Vicki's birth on November 9, 1960, and her sister Leanne's birth on June 20, 1962.

But she told Brisbane Supreme Court she could find no further record of them, or their mother being alive since they went missing in January 1974.

"There is no activity since that date involving any of the three persons," the court heard.

Ms Gillespie said she had checked Births Deaths and Marriages, Medicare, Centrelink and financial institutions but found "no record at all".

She said there was also no movement recorded in and out of Australia, nor had they registered with the Australian Electoral Commission since January 1974.

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