‘They’ll never find the bodies’: alleged murder confession

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

"THEY'LL never find the bodies."

Garry Reginald 'Shorty' Dubois allegedly said while enjoying a Scotch or "other spirit" during a drinking session with his Maryborough neighbour and mate Trevor McGrath in 2010.

Mr McGrath, a truck driver, told a Brisbane Supreme Court jury on Tuesday that Mr Dubois also told him that he had "done time" relating to a "murder".

Mr Dubois is charged with the murder of 34-year-old Barbara McCulkin and the rape and murder of her daughters Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11.

The Highgate Hill family disappeared from their home on January 16, 1974.

Mr Dubois, from Torbanlea, has pleaded not guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court to one charge of deprivation of liberty, two of rape and three charges of murder.

His co-accused, Vincent O'Dempsey, a 78-year-old Warwick resident, is scheduled to face trial next year.

Mr McGrath told the jury on Tuesday that one evening in 2010 he had a "disagreement" with his wife so he went next door to see Mr Dubois.

Mr Dubois's wife Jan was away but the couple's daughter Nicky was there "during the conversation".

"We talked about hunting and things in general," Mr McGrath said.

"His (Mr Dubois's) past come up.

"(He said) that he had done time and got out on insufficient evidence - that he was charged with murder."

Mr Dubois then said: "They review it (the murder) every five years but they'll never find the bodies."

Under questioning from defence barrister Dennis Lynch, Mr McGrath said he owed Mr Dubois $2000, which he thought he had repaid by working on the defendant's car and tractor.

He also said he only decided to tell police about the conversation in 2014, after seeing an article about Mr Dubois and the missing McCulkins in the Fraser Coast Chronicle.

The court has heard that the McCulkins may have had some knowledge of the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub blaze that killed 15 people in 1973.

Crown prosecutor David Meredith told the court last week that Garry Dubois, Mr O'Dempsey and three other men were behind the torching of the Torino nightclub about 10 days before the Whiskey Au Go Go went up in flames.

The accused feared their involvement in the Torino blaze could see them linked to the Whiskey fire.

On Monday Garry Dubois's brother Paul claimed that during a phone conversation, Garry said: "Barbara McCulkin had information on O'Dempsey that he felt could've got him 20 years and this is how he dealt with it"

Mr Meredith has said the prosecution's case is not that Mrs McCulkin was blackmailing O'Dempsey.

However, he said her knowledge of the two fires may have been a motive for her death.

The McCulkins' bodies have not been found.

The trial continues before Justice Peter Applegarth. - ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  editors picks mcculkin murder trial

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