Vince O'Dempsey leaves Southport watch house, 13/12/89
Vince O'Dempsey leaves Southport watch house, 13/12/89

SHOCKING CASES: Murders, deaths that rocked Warwick

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Gail Lynch, the McCulkin family, Klarissa “Sal” Callow, and more.

They’re the names the Warwick community will always remember, whose brutal murders or suspicious disappearances have left a permanent mark on the town’s memory.

These were the murders and deaths that rocked Warwick:

Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki and Leanne. The family disappeared in 1974.
Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki and Leanne. The family disappeared in 1974.

McCulkin family

Warwick man Vincent O’Dempsey was found guilty of the murders of Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki, 13, and Leanne, 11, 43 years after their deaths.

The then-34-year-old and his accomplice Garry Reginald ‘Shorty’ Dubois lured the mother and her children from their Highgate Hill home late in the evening on January 16, 1974.

The Brisbane Supreme Court heard the two men bound the 34-year-old mother during the drive to an unknown bush location.

O’Dempsey strangled Mrs McCulkin a short distance from where Dubois raped Vicki and Leanne, before they were also killed.

The 78-year-old was convicted of the three murders, and his co-accused the manslaughter of Mrs McCulkin and the rapes and murders of her two daughters.

Both men were sentenced to life in jail with no eligibility for parole.

The three victims’ bodies have never been found.

Family member Lyn McMillian with Gail Lynch could finally some peace after the court case.
Family member Lyn McMillian with Gail Lynch could finally some peace after the court case.

Gail Lynch

Ian Hannaford was sentenced to life behind bars for the murder of his former partner Gail Lynch.

The 58-year-old was found guilty of killing the 55-year-old grandmother when she ended their relationship.

The Toowoomba Supreme Court heard the Warwick woman’s DNA was found in drops of blood on items in the boot of Hannaford’s car, on a towel inside his Rockville unit, and on an axe Hannaford had bought the day after Ms Lynch disappeared.

Ms Lynch was last seen leaving her Guy St unit in July, 2012, and her body remains undiscovered today.

Hannaford will be eligible for parole in 2027.

Bowan Taylor Wade leaving Toowoomba Supreme Court. Photo Jeremy Sollars / Warwick Daily News
Bowan Taylor Wade leaving Toowoomba Supreme Court. Photo Jeremy Sollars / Warwick Daily News

Klarissa “Sal” Callow

Bowan Taylor Wade was convicted of manslaughter after leaving his 17-year-old girlfriend for dead in a locked storage shed.

The Toowoomba Supreme Court heard the then-22-year-old pushed or threw Klarissa “Sal” Callow off boxes inside the Stanthorpe storage shed in August, 2009, then choked her for a short time until she turned blue.

Thinking the girl dead, possibly from a broken neck, Wade fled the scene and made no attempt to call emergency services. He handed himself over to Warwick police the next day.

A forensic pathologist found blood flowed to the 17-year-old’s nose, pointing to asphyxia, and indicated she likely survived for several hours after Wade left the scene.

Wade pleaded guilty to Ms Callow’s murder when he appeared in Toowoomba Supreme Court in March, 2011, but the Court of Appeal set aside the plea because it found it had been made under extreme distress.

He was sentenced to nine years’ jail with eligibility for parole at the halfway date.

Zoeie Makylev

Gregory William Shean was sentenced to life in jail for strangling his housemate and former lover Zoeie Makylev to death and dumping her body in an orchard at The Summit.

He pleaded guilty to the murder in the Toowoomba Supreme Court in 2010 after four years of investigation.

The court heard the pair’s pending eviction from their Stanthorpe residence led Shean to commit the murder, in which he twice struck her in the face before choking her with a belt.

Putting a plastic bag over her head, Shean placed her body in the boot of her car and drove to an orchard on Tennant Rd in The Summit. Ms Makylev was found nearly three weeks later.

He was sentenced to life behind bars with a minimum of 15 years, but his 1161 days in pre-sentence custody were taken into account.

Mick Isles

Doubts over the cause of former Warwick policeman Mick Isles’ death prompted his family to consider legal action against the state government.

The senior sergeant was last seen at his North Queensland home in 2009, with a coronial inquest in 2012 determining the man took his own life.

An appeal against the decision was filed in the Brisbane District Court, but it was dismissed by Judge Douglas McGill who said evidence to suggest ill will against Senior Sergeant Isles could not justify “setting aside the finding of suicide”.

The missing policeman’s son Steven Isles said the family would have to “agree to disagree” with the verdict, and would push for an independent inquiry into police corruption.

Senior Sergeant Isles was a respected police officer who served in Warwick until 1989, before shifting to Ayr police station where he was stationed until his disappearance.



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