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

O'Dempsey to appeal McCulkin murder convictions

THE man convicted of murdering Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters Leanne and Vicki four decades ago is appealing the jury's verdict.

Vincent O'Dempsey, 78 pleaded not guilty at his trial in Brisbane Supreme Court last month.

But a jury concluded he did murder Mrs McCulkin, 34, and Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, after they went missing from their Highgate Hill home in January, 1974.

O'Dempsey's co-accused Garry "Shorty" Dubois, from the Fraser Coast, has also lodged an appeal after being found guilty late last year of murdering Vicki and Leanne McCulkin, and the manslaughter of their mother.

The Crown's case was that a "suspected connection" between the Torino and Whiskey Au Go Go fires in 1973 might have provided "a motive for Dubois and O'Dempsey keep Barbara McCulkin quiet."

O'Dempsey, from Warwick, will argue in the Queensland Court of Appeal that the trial judge's case summary to the jury was "so unbalanced" on the factual issues that it led to a miscarriage of justice.

He will also argue the judge erred in his ruling that the Crown could lead evidence "in respective of the murder charges".

The Crown case hinged around a number of key points: Vicki and Leanne's neighbourhood friends saw men called Vince and Shorty at the McCulkin home hours before they disappeared; O'Dempsey and Dubois skipped town as soon as Robert William 'Billy' McCulkin started looking for his estranged wife and their children and asking questions about their role in the disappearance; and that both men confessed to a range of unconnected people their roles in the killings.

While documents have been lodged for the appeals, no dates have been set for hearings.

- NewsRegional



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