Inside the McCulkin house of mystery
THIS is the first look behind the front door of 6 Dorchester St, Highgate Hill.
Sometime after 10.15pm on January 16, 1974, 34-year-old Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, left this house. They have not been seen since.
Vincent O'Dempsey and Gary Reginald 'Shorty' Dubois are accused of murdering the family.
Mr O'Dempsey has pleaded not guilty to three charges of murder and one of deprivation of liberty at his trial in Brisbane Supreme Court.
Yesterday the Crown tendered 23 black and white photos to the court that show how the home looked when the McCulkins left.
In one girl's room a notepad sits on the floral cover of a single bed. A wall is adorned with posters of Michael Jackson and Elton John.
Cushions, clothes and toys are piled haphazardly on a small wooden dresser.
In the other child's room, a doll takes pride of place on the neatly made bed. The legs of a furry teddy bear can be seen, but the head is obscured by a cupboard. A robe is casually draped across the foot of the bed.
Mrs McCulkin's room is neat and bright. A robe hangs from a hook on the back of a door. A blouse covered in white dots sits in the middle of the double bed. Three flowers rest in a vase on her knick-knack covered dresser.
In another room, an iron is face down on an ironing board. An unused bedframe, a big dark suitcase, Arnotts Biscuits and Sno-Wite Bleach boxes are scattered across the floor. Clothes hang haphazardly over one end of the ironing board and more clothes spill from a white plastic basket underneath.
Nearby, a long pale tube sticks out of a Waltons Celestial Swivel Top Vacuum Cleaner box.
In the lounge room a square of carpet with a diamond pattern sits on linoleum.
Goldfish swim in a small fishtank and the couch is in disarray.
A long dark desk is covered in everyday items such as speakers and a small pot plant. At one end of the desk is a sewing machine with a piece of material beneath its needle.
A dark brown chair faces the desk, but it's pushed back slightly - as though someone has just stood up and walked away.
Mr O'Dempsey's trial was separated from the trial of Mr Dubois.
The trial before Justice Peter Applegarth continues.
Three men carried garbage bags from Vincent O'Dempsey's unit
MEN were seen carrying "dark garbage bags" from the home of Vincent O'Dempsey about a week after the McCulkins disappeared.
Mr O'Dempsey's former landlord told a Brisbane Supreme Court jury he saw three men remove the bags from Mr O'Dempsey's unit on January 22, 1974.
Mr O'Dempsey is standing trial for the alleged murder of Barbara McCulkin, 34, and her daughters Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, who were last seen at their Highgate Hill home on January 16, 1974.
Property owner Adrian Burton said he saw Mr O'Dempsey and three unknown men turn up at the unit in an "orange" Valiant Charger.
The men went into the unit and came back out carrying the garbage bags, he said.
Mr Burton said he went to collect the rent a few days later from Mr O'Dempsey, but found the defendant's belongings were gone and that he had moved out.
Massage parlour financier and hotel operator Ernest Watkins is dead but his witness statement was read to the court.
Mr Watkins said Mr O'Dempsey was in a relationship with Di Pritchard in January of 1974.
Mr Watkins financed a massage parlour on Ms Pritchard's behalf and she was repaying him weekly.
Ms Pritchard also rented a room at Mr Watkin's hotel. Mr Watkins said Ms Pritchard did not sleep in the room but used it to store her clothes and she often changed there.
On January 22, 1974, she turned up at the hotel and collected her belongings, he said.
"She was very quiet and withdrawn," Mr Watkins said in his witness statement.
"This was the last time I saw her."
Two days later Mr Watkins went to the massage parlour and found it closed.
He then went to Mr O'Dempsey's house.
"I found they (Mr O'Dempsey and Ms Pritchard) had vacated (his home) and had gone," Mr Watkins said.
"I could not find out where they had gone."
In this report on Saturday regarding the McCulkin murder trial incorrectly named a witness. The deceased witness whose evidence was read to the court was massage parlour owner and hotelier Ernest Watkins. Former forensic police officer Neil Raward, who was mistakenly quoted in this article, is still alive. He provided evidence on another issue during the trial in Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday. We apologise and regret the mistake.