This CCTV image of Ipswich mum Dulcie Birt at Booval Fair on October 21 was the last time she was seen alive.
This CCTV image of Ipswich mum Dulcie Birt at Booval Fair on October 21 was the last time she was seen alive.

Dulcie ex charged with murder

A MAN has appeared in court charged with the murder of Ipswich woman Dulcie Birt after he was arrested by detectives on Wednesday.

Alwyn John Gwilliams, 40, of Bundamba, was held after police swooped on his workplace in Ashgrove, Brisbane, yesterday morning.

Gwilliams had been in a relationship with Ms Birt, who disappeared from her home in Riverview four months ago.

The body of the 31-year-old mother-of-three has still not been found despite police searches in the Ipswich area.

Gwilliams is charged with murdering Ms Birt on October 21 last year – the same day she was reported missing.

No application for bail was made and Gwilliams remains in custody. Magistrate Virginia Sturgess adjourned the case to March 24.

Detective Inspector Mick Niland, who has led the investigation into Ms Birt’s disappearance, said the charging of a suspect was a significant breakthrough and said police would return to the Riverview area to search for Ms Birt's remains.

Last year police began an operation to drain Green Lakes, a former open-cut coalmine a kilometre south of Ms Birt’s home, as part of the search for her body.

“We will continue to search the Green Lakes and surrounding area,” Insp Niland said.

“We are in consultation with the Department of Mines and Energy and the owners of that property and we hope to be able to completely drain the lake.”

After draining the lake to less than half its normal depth, police divers conducted painstaking underwater searches late last year.

“It became dangerous for the divers largely because of the quantity of old, most likely stolen vehicles resting at the bottom of that lake,” Insp Niland said.

Dulcie’s twin brother Dennis Birt yesterday pleaded for anyone with any information about his sister’s disappearance to come forward and tell the police where she was.

Mr Birt said he still wanted to believe that his sister was alive somewhere.

“Maybe she’s just tied up somewhere, I don’t know,” he told The Queensland Times.

“I’m so distraught over this but I have to remain hopeful, for the sake of her kids as well as me.”

Whether his sister’s life was taken or not, Mr Birt said he wanted to see justice take its course. “There’s something wrong with society these days,” he said. “This sort of thing just shouldn’t happen.”

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