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

McCulkin judge describes husband as 'detestable'

A SUPREME court justice says the father and estranged husband of the missing McCulkins was a "wife basher, petty criminal and philanderer”.

Justice Peter Applegarth made the comments while addressing the jury in the trial of Garry Reginald 'Shorty' Dubois on rape and murder charges.  

Mr Dubois is accused of murdering 34-year-old Barbara McCulkin and murdering and raping her daughters Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, who disappeared from their Highgate Hill home on January 16, 1974.

The 69-year-old Torbanlea man has pleaded not guilty to one charge of deprivation of liberty, two of rape and three of murder.

Justice Applegarth started addressing the jury late on Tuesday and continued yesterday.

He is expected to finish this part of the trial on Thursday morning when the jury is likely to retire to consider its verdict.

Justice Applegarth told the jury to carefully consider the late Robert William 'Billy' McCulkin's evidence.

"Billy McCulkin was a detestable individual,” Justice Applegarth said.

"The issue is whether he was likely to give police an accurate account of his movements in the days after the disappearance.”

Defence counsel Dennis Lynch told the court in his closing arguments on Tuesday that Mr McCulkin might have killed his family.

The Crown has alleged Mr Dubois and co-accused Vincent O'Dempsey abducted the McCulkins and drove them to a bush location where Mr O'Dempsey allegedly separated the mother from her daughters and strangled her to death.

The men are then alleged to have raped the children before they were murdered and buried.

The McCulkins' bodies have never been found.

Mr O'Dempsey, a 79-year-old Warwick resident, will face trial over the alleged murders in May next year.


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