Barbara McCulkin (right) and her daughters Vicky (left) and Leanne (centre) disappeared from their home on January 16, 1974. Contributed
Barbara McCulkin (right) and her daughters Vicky (left) and Leanne (centre) disappeared from their home on January 16, 1974. Contributed

McCulkin daughters allegedly raped before murder

THE two McCulkin girls, aged 13 and 11, were allegedly raped before being murdered in 1974, a court has heard.

Details about what Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters, Leanne and Vicki, allegedly suffered the night of their deaths can now be revealed after two men were committed to stand trial for murdering all three and raping the two young girls.

Warwick's Vincent O'Dempsey and Torbanlea man Garry Reginald "Shorty"  Dubois, who grew up in Mackay, have been committed to stand trial on two counts of rape, three counts of murder and three counts of deprivation of liberty. Their lawyers have also already indicated the men would plead not guilty to all charges.

Details about the rape charges were not able to be reported previously.

The court heard last week how Mr Dubois had allegedly confessed to friends that he and Mr O'Dempsey took Barbara and the girls for a drive to Warwick on the night they disappeared, in January 1974.

Mr Dubois's friend Peter Hall testified at the Brisbane committal hearing that Mr Dubois told him he and Mr O'Dempsey separated the mother from the girls and then Mr O'Dempsey strangled Barbara.

He said Mr O'Dempsey then raped one of the girls and told Mr Dubois to rape the other.

Mr Hall said Mr Dubois confessed to raping one of them but had felt forced to.

"He said it took a while before he was capable of having sex because of what had happened," Mr Hall said.

"And he wasn't all that keen [about] what had gone down. It had upset him. And he wasn't going to say no."

Mr Hall said Mr Dubois told him Mr O'Dempsey asked him to kill one of the girls, but he could not.

"I don't remember the words exactly but I remembered what it meant … That he had taken no part in the killings."

Mr Hall said Mr Dubois admitted the bodies were buried in the area.

The committal hearing concluded this afternoon after Mr Dubois's defence barrister Dennis Lynch argued that his client did not have a case to answer and said Mr Dubois's charges should be dismissed.

He argued Mr Dubois would not be able to be convicted based on evidence which was presented during the committal hearing.

Mr Lynch also said a jury would not be able to accept the evidence of Mr Hall because other evidence during the hearing contradicted it.

But prosecutor David Meredith argued against this, saying the context of Mr Hall's evidence was important.

Mr O'Dempsey's defence barrister Terry O'Gorman did not make detailed submissions and said his client did not agree with the charges but accepted the case had to proceed to trial as a matter of law.

Mr O'Gorman and Mr Lynch said their clients would fight the charges.

Vincent O'Dempsey. Photo Warwick Daily News
Vincent O'Dempsey. Photo Warwick Daily News

4:30 PM McCulkin accused killers to stand trial

TWO men charged over the cold case murder of Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters 41 years ago have been committed to stand trial.

Warwick man Vincent O'Dempsey, 77, and Torbanlea man Garry Reginald Dubois, 68, who grew up in Mackay, were this afternoon committed to stand trial for the McCulkin murders after a committal hearing was held in Brisbane over seven days.

The hearing drew to a close this afternoon when a Mr Dubois's defence barrister Dennis Lynch made a submission that his client did not have a case to answer for.

He argued Mr Dubois would not be able to be convicted based on evidence which was presented during the committal hearing.

He said a jury would not be able to accept the evidence of Peter Hall, who was one of the prosecution's main witnesses.

During the committal hearing Mr Hall said Mr Dubois had confessed to him that he was present when the McCulkins were killed.

Mr Lynch said this evidence from Mr Hall should not be accepted because other evidence in the hearing contradicted it. Mr Lynch and called for charges to be dismissed against his client.

But prosecutor David Meredith said the context of Mr Hall's evidence was important.

He said Mr Dubois was present and had an idea of what Mr O'Dempsey was going to do because the McCulkins had been tied up.

Mr Meredith said Mr Dubois knew that the girls were going to be killed and should face the murder charges.

The magistrate said he did not accept Mr Lynch's submissions and said evidence before the court should be considered by a jury.

He committed both men to stand trial on charges including murder and deprivation of liberty.

Mr Lynch and Mr O'Dempsey's lawyer Terry O'Gorman said their clients would plead not guilty to all charges.

4:00 PM: Murder accused Dubois has no case to answer, lawyer argues

THE lawyer for one of the men charged over the cold case murder of Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters 41 years ago has argued that his client does not have a case to answer for.

Warwick man Vincent O'Dempsey, 77, and Torbanlea man Garry Reginald Dubois, 68, who grew up in Mackay, have been charged with murdering Barbara and her two daughters, aged 13 and 11, in January 1974.

This afternoon, Mr Dubois's defence barrister Dennis Lynch made a submission that his client did not have a case to answer for, following a seven-day committal hearing.

He argued a his client would not be able to be reasonably convicted based on evidence that has been presented during the hearing.

He said the case against Dubois largely came down to evidence from witness Peter Hall, who was a friend of Mr Dubois in the 70s.

During the committal hearing Mr Hall said Mr Dubois had confessed to him that he was present when the McCulkins were killed and that Mr O'Dempsey had killed the McCulkin mother and daughters in bushland near Warwick.

Mr Lynch argued a jury should not be able to reasonably accept Mr Hall's evidence, if his client was committed to stand trial.

Mr Lynch called for charges to be dismissed against his client.

The hearing continues.

Barbara McCulkin
Barbara McCulkin

'Billy McCulkin confessed to killing Barbara': court

A POLICE witness has told the court that Billy McCulkin had confessed to his most recent wife before he died that he was responsible for killing his former wife, Barbara, in 1974.

Detective Sergeant Virginia Gray is giving evidence at a committal hearing for two men charged with the murder of Barbara and her two daughters, aged 13 and 11.

Warwick man Vincent O'Demspey, 77, and Torbalea man Garry Reginald Dubois, 68, who grew up in Mackay, have been charged with their murders, which allegedly occurred in January 1974.

Det Gray has told the court that Fe McCulkin contacted police last year and said in the weeks or months before his death in 2011, her husband had confessed to killing Barbara.

But Det Gray said the woman made no reference to the children.

Mrs McCulkin also told police that her husband admitted to her that a man named Terry had helped him dig the graves, the court heard.

But Det Gray said police investigations had not been able to confirm that Mr McCulkin had an associate or friend named Terry.

McCulkin murders: 41-year-old cold case continues today

THE court case will continue this morning for two men charged with the cold case murders of Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters 41 years ago.

The committal hearing, being held in Brisbane, was adjourned yesterday afternoon after legal discussions were held in closed court for most of the day.

Warwick man Vincent O'Dempsey, 77, and Fraser Coast man Garry Reginald Dubois, 68, who grew up in Mackay, have been charged with the McCulkin murders.

The committal hearing, which started last Monday, was closed to the public yesterday when lawyers discussed legal issues in a closed court.

The court was reopened later in the afternoon and the Magistrate said he had heard legal arguments throughout the day and adjourned the case until this morning.

The hearing will resume at 9.30am.


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