Today the State Coroner will release his findings into the unsolved murders of Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans.
Today the State Coroner will release his findings into the unsolved murders of Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans. The Chronicle Archives

'Putrid pool of miscreants' probably killed nurses: coroner

UPDATE 4pm: Lorraine Wilson's cousin has warned the "cowards" involved with her loved one's murder will have their day.

"To the murderers and the people who are involved with the crime and people who had conveniently failed memories, you are all cowards," Penny Allen said outside the Brisbane Coroner's Court.

"Murder itself is a ghastly act and therefore your conscience must be filled with guilt and tortured horror and no pity."

Ms Wilson's brother, Eric Wilson, said he felt deflated following the State Coroner handing down his findings.

He said he was disappointed the Coroner could not find sufficient evidence to commit anyone to trial.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has extended his sympathies to Lorraine Wilson's and Wendy Evans's families.

He also thanked State Coroner Michael Barnes for conducting the inquest.

"Wendy, Lorraine and their loved ones deserved another chance to get answers. That's why I requested the inquest be set up," Mr Bleijie said.

"I know the pain and loss will never go away but I hope the hearings brought some form of relief.

"Shedding new light on a 39-year-old crime was always going to be difficult, but the Coroner and everyone involved worked tirelessly to try to find out what happened.

"I acknowledge today's findings and echo the Coroner's disgust and sorrow at what befell these poor women."


UPDATE 1.30pm: There is not significant evidence to commit anyone still alive to trial for the brutal murders of Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans, State Coroner Michael Barnes has found.

But Mr Barnes found the only man with enough evidence linking him to the deaths is now dead.  

Ms Wilson and Ms Evans went missing in 1974 and their remains were found in bushland at Murphy's Creek two years later.

Their remains showed they were subjected to severe head trauma and had their legs tied together with cord.

An inquest into the unsolved murders has heard the girls were raped, beaten and left for dead in a rural paddock.
Mr Barnes delivered his findings into the deaths this afternoon.

He found there was significant evidence implicating Wayne "Boogie" Hilton in the women's deaths.

Mr Barnes said there was persuasive evidence a group of young men, including members of the Laurie and Hilton families, would prowl the streets of Toowoomba assaulting men and forcing women to have sex.

"It is more likely than not Wendy Evans and Lorraine Wilson tragically stumbled into this putrid pool of miscreants and were killed by them, he said.

>>SHOCKING REPORT: The State Coroner's findings in full

Mr Barnes referred to the number of witnesses who saw two girls struggling with men and screaming on the Toowoomba Range but "ignored the women's frantic pleas".

"With the failure of any of those people to even attempt to intervene, went the girls' last chance of survival," he said.

Mr Barnes told the Brisbane Coroner's Court today a purported sighting of Wayne Boogie Hilton assaulting a woman on the Toowoomba Range would not allow for a finding that he was responsible.

But when considered with other evidence, including his "proclivity for rape" and confessions, Mr Barnes was satisfied Wayne Hilton was involved.


EARLIER: The State Coroner will release his findings from the inquest into the unsolved murders of two Sydney nurses at Murphys Creek in 1974.

The findings will be handed down by State Coroner Michael Barnes at midday in Brisbane.

Wendy Evans' and Lorraine Wilson's bodies were found in a paddock off Murphys Creek Rd in 1976.

They had gone missing while in the Toowoomba area two years earlier.

Lorraine, 20, and Wendy, 18, were ultimately raped, tortured and bludgeoned to death, most likely on the day they were picked up hitch hiking on the Warrego Hwy, October 6, 1974.

The inquest was launched in Toowoomba in April this year and since then numerous persons of interest have given evidence.

Last week at the Brisbane Coroner's Court,  counsel assisting the coroner Craig Chowdhury submitted there was insufficient evidence to put anyone alive on trial for the murders.

But Mr Chowdhury did submit there was sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case for murder against Wayne "Boogie" Hilton. Mr Hilton died in a car crash in the 1980s.

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