McCulkin trial: Husband ‘beat’ victim, court hears

ALLEGED murder victim Barbara McCulkin was abused, feared for her life and believed her house was bugged before she disappeared.

A close friend of the 34-year-old missing Brisbane mother told a Brisbane Supreme Court jury a short time ago that Mrs McCulkin was beaten so badly on one occasion by her estranged husband Robert McCulkin that she could not work.

Garry Reginald Dubois, 69, and Vincent O'Dempsey, 78, are both accused of murdering Mrs McCulkin and raping and murdering her 11 and 13-year-old daughters Leanne and Vicki.

Mr Dubois, from Torbanlea, pleaded not guilty to one charge of deprivation of liberty, two of rape and three charges of murder when his trial started on Monday.

Mr O'Dempsey, from Warwick, is scheduled to face trial next year.

Mrs McCulkin's former work colleague and friend of three years, Ellen Ashford, told the court that her former friend often spoke about Mr McCulkin's infidelity.

Mrs Ashford said her friend also discussed concerns about money and that Mr McCulkin had "beaten her".

Mrs Ashford said Mrs McCulkin also indicated she knew something about the firebombing of the Torino nightclub at the start of 1973.

Mrs Ashford said Mrs McCulkin knew Mr O'Dempsey, who the court heard on Monday reportedly ordered the firebombing.

The witness said Mr O'Dempsey visited Mrs McCulkin at work and at home.

Mrs Ashford said she and Mrs McCulkin were watching TV when a news report came on about the nightclub fire.

"She said 'I'll tell you something funny about that one day'," Ms Gilbert said, indicating she believed Mrs McCulkin was talking about Mr McCulkin.


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