Barbara McCulkin
Barbara McCulkin

McCulkin neighbour says husband caught up with criminals

4:30 PM BARBARA McCulkin's neighbour, who lived next door to her when she disappeared from her Brisbane home in 1974, has told a court she was scared of speaking out against her husband Billy McCulkin.

Peter Nesbit told a committal hearing in Brisbane this afternoon that he lived next door to Barbara when she and Billy had separated.

Mr Nesbit said Barbara told him that Billy had been abusive towards her and that she knew her husband was associated with criminals and had somehow been involved in the Whiskey Au Go Go fire in Brisbane in 1973, which killed 15 people.

He also said Barbara was frightened to speak out against her husband.

One night before Barbara and her girls disappeared, Mr Nesbit said he woke up to a light shining through his window at 2am in the morning.

He said he knocked on Barbara's door to check she was okay and that she introduced him to Warwick man Vincent O'Dempsey and another man.

Mr O'Dempsey and Garry Reginald Dubois have been charged with the murder of Barbara and her two girls.

A committal hearing is being held at Brisbane this week.

The third day has wrapped up and proceedings will begin again tomorrow at 9am.

3:00 PM McCulkin dad asked accused about family after disappearance

DAYS after Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters went missing, her husband and the girls' father Billy McCulkin started asking questions about who was responsible, a court has heard.

Peter Hall, an associate of two men charged with the McCulkins' murders, has told a court that Mr McCulkin asked him in 1974 if he had anything to do with his wife and children's disappearance.

Mr Hall told the court Mr McCulkin said to him that if he found out Mr Hall had played a part that he would kill him.

A committal hearing is being held in Brisbane this week for two men charged with the McCulkins' murders. They include Torbanlea man Garry Reginald Dubois, 68, and Warwick man Vincent O'Dempsey, 77.

In 1974 Mr McCulkin also asked Mr Dubois if he was involved, Mr Hall told the court.

Evidence has also emerged today about how Mr Hall lied at a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing into the McCulkins' disappearance last year.

Mr Hall has denied claims that the information in his statement had originally come from police. Mr Hall said he was not the same person as he was years ago and wanted to tell the truth.

He said his perception had changed.

The hearing continues.

12:00 PM Court hears Barbara McCulkin strangled at Warwick

IN January 1974, Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters were driven to Warwick before the girls were separated from their mother and Barbara was strangled, a court has heard.

A former associate of Torbanlea man Garry Reginald Dubois and Warwick man Vincent O'Dempsey has told a Brisbane court that Mr Dubois had revealed details to him about what had happened to the McCulkins.

Peter Hall told the court that Mr O'Dempsey and Mr Dubois took Barbara and the girls, aged 13 and 11, for a drive and when they reached a place near Warwick they separated the children from their mother.

Mr Hall said he was told Mr O'Dempsey strangled Barbara and then asked Mr Dubois to kill one of the girls.

But Mr Hall said Mr Dubois had told him he couldn't do it.

Mr Dubois and Mr O'Dempsey have been charged with the three murders.

The court heard Mr Dubois had told Mr Hall and another associate about what had happened that night while they were talking in the car.

"It was a stunning thing to hear," Mr Hall said.

He said the group had decided not to discuss the details ever again.

The committal hearing continues.

UPDATE: A man who lived with murder accused Torbanlea man Garry Reginald Dubois in the 1970s said they started a fire at a Brisbane nightclub four decades ago using petrol cans.

Peter Hall is giving evidence in a committal hearing for a case involving Mr Dubois, 68, and Warwick man Vincent O'Dempsey, 77, who are accused of murdering Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters in 1974.

During cross examination on Wednesday morning, Mr Hall said he, Mr Dubois and two other men started the fire at Brisbane's Torino nightclub in 1973 and that it was an "insurance job".

He also said the job had been organised through Mr O'Dempsey and that they splashed petrol around the hotel and checked no one was inside before lighting the fire.

Mr Hall said they had been paid $500 for the job, which they split between them.

The court heard Mr Hall would not prosecuted against for admissions he's made during evidence.

He has also admitted to lying to a previous Crime and Corruption Commission hearing into the McCulkins' disappearance.

He told the hearing, which was held last year, that he did not know anything about it but later came forward to police.

Mr Hall, who has been convicted of crimes in Warwick and Caboolture, admitted in court that he had once been convicted of malicious wounding after he shot a man who he claimed had raped one of his friends.

He said he was charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Mr Hall has also been cross examined about his nickname "three".

He said he got this after he vomited and defecated and urinated in his pants at the same time when he was a teenager and had drunk too much at a party.

The committal hearing continues.

McCulkin case: I broke code by speaking about accused

A MAN who knew Vincent O'Dempsey and Garry Reginald Dubois in the 1970s, when the McCulkins vanished, told a court he had broken the code by speaking out against them.

Peter Hall, a former associate of Warwick man Mr O'Dempsey, 77, and Torbanlea man Mr Dubois, 68, told a committal hearing yesterday that he was told about the murder of Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters.

It is expected Mr Hall will be cross examined this morning.

Mr O'Dempsey and Mr Dubois have been accused of murdering Mrs McCulkin and her two daughters, aged 13 and 11.

Mr Hall gave evidence yesterday at the court hearing in Brisbane and said Mr Dubois told him days after the McCulkins went missing in January 1974 that Mr O'Dempsey had killed them.

He also said Mr Dubois said he had been there that night that they vanished.

When asked why he only come forward with this information last year, Mr Hall said there was  misguided loyalty "back in the old days" and referred to a code of not to inform.

"I've just broken it now," he said.

Mr Hall also revealed at court yesterday that he was involved in the arson of the Torino nightclub in Brisbane in 1973.

He also told the court Mr Dubois and two other men, were also involved in burning that nightclub.

He said it was arranged through Mr Dubois, via Mr O'Dempsey.

About a month after this fire 15 people were killed in a fire at the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub in Brisbane and Mr Hall told the court he was concerned at the time that he was concerned he would be accused causing this blaze.

"(I was concerned) only on the basis if they found out we did the job at Torino so they may have thought we had something to do with that too," Mr Hall said in court.

The committal hearing will continue today and is expected to finish on Friday.

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