Contributed

Estranged dad: ‘Where’s me f***ing kids?’ in McCulkin case

"Where's me f***ing kids? Where's my wife?" an emotional Billy McCulkin allegedly yelled at Garry Dubois.

The estranged father and husband had been driving around town looking for Vincent O'Dempsey and Garry Dubois after neighbours told him they had been at their Highgate Hill home.

His former wife Barbara McCulkin, 34, and her daughters, Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, had missing for three days when the confrontation took place.

Norman Wild told Brisbane Supreme Court how his mate Billy McCulkin, now deceased, showed up at his house in a taxi between 6-6.30am on Saturday January 19, 1974, asking him to help.

He said Billy told him his wife Barbara and kids had vanished, asking him to drive them to the Highgate Hill home where they were last seen.

"We went into the house and I noticed there was a sewing machine turned on, the light was still on. Someone must have been sewing something," he said.

"The house was neat and tidy.

"There were empty beer bottles on the kitchen table.

"I saw Barb's purse on the fridge.

"We looked through the house. There was two cats."

Mr Wild said they then drove over to Kedron on Brisbane's northside, pulling up near the Lutwyche theatre which was opposite Vincent O'Dempsey's massage parlour.

"Billy had a look and there was no one there at all," he said.

The men, who had been friends since they met in Sydney in 1964, then drove to where they believed Dubois was living with his mother.

Mr Wild said he went to the back door to ensure no one tried to do a runner while Mr McCulkin knocked at the front door.

He said he believed Mr McCulkin spoke to Dubois's mother though he could not hear the conversation.

Mr Wild said they then drove back past the massage palour and Billy said "there's O'Demsey's Charger".

"He ran across Lutwyche Road. By the time I turned around … the Charger had gone and Billy was standing in the street," he said.

They returned to the street where Mr Dubois's mother lived and sat up the street for about half an hour but saw no sign of them.

Then they went back to the Highgate Hill home where Mr Wild said Mr McCulkin picked up Barbara's cheque from the letterbox and got some "insurance".

He said he took that to mean he had a gun and assumed the gun was in a bag he got after leaving briefly through the back door of the home.

They went to the Federal Hotel to wait for a phone call but then they saw Dubois's car - a beige late 60s model Holden.

"We chased them and ran them down," he said.

Mr Wild said there were four people in the car - Garry Dubois, Peter Hall, Keith Meredith and Thomas Hamilton - when they stopped just off Coronation Drive near the then biscuit factory.

He said there were "a lot of profanities" but he could not hear much else that was said.

"Billy said 'where's me fucking 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*** you too".

He said he knew why Billy was looking for O'Dempsey and Dubois.

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

The men then went to the races at Doomben, where Mr Wild believed Mr McCulkin cashed his wife's cheque, before returning to the Federal Hotel.

EARLIER: IT was customary to watch the McCulkin girls walk back to their house across the road.

Juneen Gayton told Brisbane Supreme Court how they always made sure their neighbours got home safely.

But she never saw Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, again after that routine watch took place.

Highgate Hill mother Barbara McCulkin, 34, and her daughters, Vicki and Leanne, disappeared.

The McCulkins' bodies have never been found.

Garry Reginald 'Shorty' Dubois, 69, and Vincent O'Dempsey, 78, are both accused of raping and murdering the daughters.

They are also accused of murdering their mum.

Mr Dubois, who grew up in Mackay but is now from Torbanlea, pleaded not guilty to one charge of deprivation of liberty, two of rape and three charges of murder when his trial began on Monday.

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

It was Juneen's 10th birthday party on January 16, 1974, and she had been sitting on their verandah waiting for her friends Vicki and Leanne McCulkin to arrive for cake.

It was summer holidays and they had been "mucking around all the time".

"I saw a car pull up and two guys get out of it," she said.

"The image in my head is of a guy carrying something under his arm. They walked into the front yard.

"The picture I have in my head is half a carton. In my (police) statement, I say XXXX tallies.

"It would have been a popular car."

Crown prosecutor David Meredith showed Juneen photos of yellow and orange Chargers, saying it was quite a popular car at the time with a campaign slogan "Go Charger" with a two-finger raise.

"The shape of that is in my mind," Juneen said.

She said she told police it was a bright-coloured Charger at the time but she could no longer recall what the colour was.

Juneen said her and her sister went to get the McCulkin girls for cake, with Janet doing a special whistle they used to communicate and get their attention.

"I recall Vicki had a glass in her hand," she said.

"I would have said 'are you coming over?'.

"I vaguely recall Janet saying 'who's that?' and Vicki said 'Vince and Shorty, a friend of my dad'."

Juneen said the man with the carton was playing in the front yard with the cat Ginger Meggs. 

She said she had not seen either man before that she could recall.

Juneen told the court she was conscious the McCulkin sisters were not around after that night.

When defence barrister Dennis Lynch asked her about her memory, Junee told the call she could recall sharing a chocolate paddle pop with Vicki but could now not remember what clothes she was wearing.

She was asked why she did not mention the car in her first police statement within days of her birthday party.
"It's possible I wasn't asked about the car," she said.

"Why would I have made it up, just pulled it out of the blue?

Mr Lynch was quick to say he was not criticising her, just testing her recollection now.

Juneen said it was 42 years after her 10th birthday and she could no longer remember much about the car.


-ARM NEWSDESK


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