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

Crown says memory and lies not issues in McCulkin trial

MEMORY and lies were the focus of the Crown's closing address to a Brisbane Supreme Court jury considering verdicts in the McCulkin family 'murder and rape' trial.

Torbanlea resident Garry Reginald 'Shorty' Dubois, 69, has pleaded not guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court to one charge of deprivation of liberty, two of rape and three charges of murder.

The charges relate to the disappearance of 34-year-old Barbara McCulkin and the alleged rape and murder of her daughters Vicki, 13, and 11-year-old Leanne 42 years ago.

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

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

Crown prosecutor David Meredith a short while ago told the jury that even though the alleged crimes happened in 1974, the memories of key witnesses Janet and Juneen Gayton and Peter Hall had not faded with time.

Mr Meredith said the Gayton sisters, who were close friends of Leanne and Vicki, both saw men called "Shorty" and "Vince" at the McCulkins' home on the evening the family disappeared.

"One of the important factors is that it was Juneen Gayton's 10th birthday so we can fix the date (they disappeared)," Mr Meredith said.

"Janet speaks to (the girls' father) Billy McCulkin a few days later and tells him that Vince and Shorty were there (at the McCulkin home) on the Wednesday night.

"That's an important fact that she was asked to recall very early on.

"You can be absolutely certain that that is what occurred."

Mr Meredith said while Mr Hall was an admitted criminal he had no reason to lie about confessions allegedly made by Mr Dubois in the days after the McCulkins disappeared.

Mr Hall previously told the jury that Mr Dubois confessed he and Mr  O'Dempsey drove the McCulkins to the bush.

Mr Dubois told Mr Hall that Mr O'Dempsey took Mrs McCulkin out of sight and he heard gurgling sounds as Mr O'Dempsey allegedly killed her.

The men then allegedly raped the girls and Mr O'Dempsey allegedly killed them, Mr Hall told the court.

Mr Hall said Mr Dubois claimed he helped to bury the bodies before the men returned to Brisbane.

Mr Meredith said this morning that Mr Hall had no reason to "lie" about this story.

"He gets nothing for this except satisfying his conscious," Mr Meredith said.

"Dubois was a friend … apparently they parted on good terms.

"Mr Hall didn't have an axe to grind.

"There's nothing to suggest that Mr Hall would make this up."

Mr Meredith said it was also unlikely that Mr Hall's memory of the conversation was wrong given the enormity of the alleged confession.

"The fact that he was told that story is not something he'd be confused about," Mr Meredith said.

The case continues before Justice Peter Applegarth. - ARM NEWSDESK



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