Ghost Gate Road is one of those rare stories that you can never unhear, and it will embed itself in your subconscious like a virus and haunt you. Through time psychopaths have lived amongst us. But there are psychopaths and then there is Australia’s Vince O’Dempsey. Currently in prison for life for three murders, and charged with another, he has self-confessed to thirty-three killings. His weapons of choice are knives, and as a last resort, his bare hands. On the serial killer pop charts thirty-three victims puts him way above the Milwaukee cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, on a level-pegging with the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy, and just a fraction behind the infamous Ted Bundy. But Vince’s criminal associates laugh at his humility when it comes to a body count. All are convinced that his tally exceeds 100 victims. In this podcast series, author and journalist Matthew Condon, takes us back to Vince’s early years, where he terrorised a small country town and ultimately graduated to become the most feared man in the Australian underworld. We will piece together the story of his victims over half a century. We will talk to men and women who were close to him - family, workmates, fellow gangsters - and survived his evil. Gang members and criminals who worked shoulder to shoulder with Vince in the underworld finally speak out about the killer in their midst. And we will search deep into wild bushland for that unholiest of Grails – Vince O’Dempsey’s mythical private graveyard, where his many victims rest.
Hold Close Your Loved Ones
The clock is ticking and psychopath Vince O'Dempsey, after so many decades of freedom, is finally held accountable for murder. Justice may be served in the McCulkin case, but countless questions remain unanswered. What of the string of missing persons - from prostitutes and low-level criminals to drug crop cooks, female backpackers and even a four-year-old child - that police think may be linked to Vince? With Vince in his 80s, it's a race against time for cold case detectives to resolve these mysteries. And finally, have we found Vince's private graveyard, and the last resting place of Barbara, Vicki and Leanne McCulkin?
Dead Horse Lane
Episode 8: As homicide detectives get closer to arresting Vince, he disappears deep into the Australian bush, living off the land, hiding in caves and dug-outs in and around Ghost Gate Road. Vince is finally captured and charged with the McCulkin murders, as is his accomplice Shorty Dubois. But it's still a long road to a guilty verdict, and like a trapped wild animal, Vince starts making plans to eliminate some of the witnesses who plan to testify against him.
Knives, Guns and God
Episode 7: Vince and his de facto, Di Pritchard, are like Australia's version of Bonnie and Clyde, keeping one step ahead of the police for years after the McCulkin triple murder. Meanwhile, more details emerge of people around Vince who have vanished. After an inquest recommends that Vince be charged with the murders, the Queensland Government declines to pursue the case in court and, once again, Vince is set free. Then forty years to that day after the McCulkin killings, two tenacious detectives decide to crack the cold case once and for all, and they set their sights on Vince.
In Vince's Private Graveyard
Episode 6: Stunning revelations emerge about the possible location of Vince's almost mythical private graveyard, where he has buried his victims and visits them when it takes his fancy. Meanwhile, Vince goes on the run after the McCulkin murders and unbelievably plots another hideous multiple murder. This time he wants the girls - who saw him and his mate Shorty with the McCulkins before they disappeared in Dorchester Street - liquidated.
In the Ashes
Episode 5: In the aftermath of the Whiskey tragedy, to that point Australia's worst mass murder, two men are arrested and charged, but did police get all of the perpetrators? Shocking new details emerge about the planning behind the Whiskey attack, and the possible involvement of corrupt police and organised crime. And one of the country's most notorious police officers lets slip a tantalising clue about Vince and the firebombing. Within 10 months of the blaze, suburban mother Barbara McCulkin and her two young daughters are taken into bushland outside Warwick and brutally murdered and raped. Why? Did Barbara and the girls die because she knew the truth behind the Whiskey?
Whiskey Au Go Go
Episode 4: Vince organises an arson attack on a Brisbane city restaurant for top-level gangsters as part of an insurance scam. Soon after police begin hearing whispers on the street about the pending firebombing on a nightclub. In the early hours of March 8, 1973, the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub is attacked, killing 15 innocent people. Survivors tell of the chaos and mayhem inside the club during that horrific moment. And the question remains - was Vince O'Dempsey behind the Whiskey mass murder?
Have just binged on this podcast.
Amazing that he lived amongst us so easily for so long! Horrifying actually.
So much work has gone into this!
Thank you Mathew!
It’s very close to my heart given that I grew up in Brisbane & used to hang around Billy Phillip’s tattoo shop in my younger days. I actually met Vince a few times & didn’t like or trust him straight away. Then I was told that he was a rapist & a few other things. I didn’t want to know the ins & outs back in the day, as that was the way of things, but now days I’m a lot quieter & live a totally different life- thankfully.
This podcast gave me goosebumps! What a great job you did & you obviously weren’t intimidated by Vince.
I was bought up with the ‘code’ too but I believe if it was a murder I knew about then I would have become a ‘dog’ too!
I used to think Billy Phillips & the like were all so staunch but then you find out the truth…
Excellent history podcast.
Matthew Condon is always great. His investigative journalism is conducted really well, with good writing and a flowing story.
This is definitely worth a listen.