Embarrassing defeat: Killer’s kids keep $1m estate
THE state's anti-crime watchdog has dropped its legal bid to seize $1m worth of Queensland farm land purchased by infamous killer Vince O'Dempsey in an embarrassing defeat under proceeds of crime laws.
In the Supreme Court in Brisbane last month, the Crime and Corruption Commission quietly consented to orders to abort its bid - launched five years ago - to have the two farms at Womina, near Warwick in southeast Queensland, and $8015 held in a lawyer's trust account, seized and forfeited to the state under laws aimed at stopping criminals benefiting from crime.
The CCC had previously argued in court that the two farms - including 16 hectares where O'Dempsey lived and bred alpacas until he was remanded in custody in 2014 for the murder of Barbara McCulkin and her two daughters, Vicki and Leanne - were purchased with dirty money from a "large scale" cannabis trafficking ring O'Dempsey's allegedly ran in Warwick for "an extended period".
However, since O'Dempsey financed the purchase of the five hectare farm in 1995 for $25,000 and bought the second 16ha in 2007 for $595,000, he transferred one to his daughter Sharon Margaret Mary Kelly, also known as Sharon Wells, a mother of seven who manages the Horse and Jockey Hotel in Warwick and he "gifted" the second farm to a discretionary family trust in 2011 just three years before his arrest for murder.
Mrs Kelly told the court she bought the smaller farm in her name with money loaned to her by her father in the hope she could subdivide it in the future for a profit, although no receipts were filed in court to show her repaying the loan.
O'Dempsey told the court he couldn't recall where he got the $25,000 to lend to Mrs Kelly.
Mr O'Dempsey, Mrs Kelly and the discretionary trust -- of whom Mrs Kelly and her half-sister Kelly Dianne Jimeena Pritchard, 42 are trustees -- denied the farms were proceeds of crime.
Mrs Pritchard is a shareholder in a company which trades as Granite Belt Dental in Warwick.
The CCC dropped its bid to seize the properties "because financial investigations were not able to establish the properties were 'illegally acquired property' as defined by the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002," a CCC spokesman told The Courier Mail.
The CCC can apply to court to seize property even though O'Dempsey has not yet faced trial for cannabis trafficking.
Mr O'Dempsey is awaiting trial in the District Court in Brisbane on ten charges including trafficking in cannabis between 1996 and 1999 and between 2002 and 2014.
The case is due back in court on June 22.
Detective Virginia Gray, from the Homicide Unit, told the proceeds of crime hearing in 2015 that documents bearing Mr O'Dempsey's name, and what was believed to be his handwriting were found buried at a farm owned by Thomas Edward Martin, a long-term associate of Mr O'Dempsey, in the town of Massie, north-west of Warwick during searches in 2014.
Police followed a primitive hand-drawn "mud map" marked with an "X" and the word "DIG" and found the documents alleged to belong to O'Dempsey.
Originally published as Embarrassing defeat: Killer's kids keep $1m estate