Barbara McCulkin (right) and her daughters Vicky (left) and Leanne (centre) disappeared from their home on January 16, 1974.
Barbara McCulkin (right) and her daughters Vicky (left) and Leanne (centre) disappeared from their home on January 16, 1974. Contributed

Police allege O’Dempsey confessed to McCulkin murders

CHILLING details have emerged of the alleged involvement of Warwick man Vincent O'Dempsey in the triple murder of a Brisbane woman and her two young daughters more than 40 years ago, as his co-accused makes a bid for freedom.

Vincent O'Dempsey and Garry Dubois were both charged in October with the murders of Barbara McCulkin, 34, and her daughters Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, following the re-opening of the investigation by the Queensland Police cold case unit on the 40th anniversary of their disappearance.

The disappearance sparked one of the state's most enduring mysteries when they vanished from their rented Highgate Hill home on the night of January 16, 1974.

Documents submitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland by police this week allege that O'Dempsey, an underworld figure, confessed to associates just a week after the McCulkins disappeared.

"O'Dempsey, between 21 January and 22 January 1974 disposed of his assets and at significant personal financial loss," the brief reads.

It will be argued by police that O'Dempsey and Dubois drove the McCulkins to an unknown location in the bush, where the Warwick man strangled Mrs McCulkin in front of her daughters.

It is further alleged the two men committed serious crimes against the young girls, before O'Dempsey also murdered them.

O'Dempsey and Dubois are believed to have buried the McCulkins in a shallow bush grave, although to date their bodies have never been found.

Buried documents in relation to the McCulkin cold case were discovered during a police search of a property owned by O'Dempsey in August, with passages regarding his alleged involvement highlighted.

Both Mr O'Dempsey, 76, and Mr Dubois, 67, deny involvement in the killings and face charges including three counts of murder and three counts of deprivation of liberty.

Additional reporting by the Brisbane Times.