TWO of three "persons of interest" to appear before the coronial inquest into the deaths of Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans each claimed to know nothing about the 1974 murders.
Before Alan Neil Laurie, 63, had answered a question, his lawyer Andrew Bale told the court his client was an "unsophisticated man" and would claim privilege from questions in blanket form.
However, Coroner Michael Barnes said there would be many questions Laurie could answer that would not necessarily incriminate him.
As it turned out, Laurie didn't claim privilege on any questions.
He claimed he had been working and living in Tamworth at the time of the murders in 1974 and only returned to Toowoomba later that year.
Asked about his relationship to other persons of interest, Laurie said Donald "Donny" Laurie was a step-brother, Alan John "Shorty" Laurie was his uncle, while he was related by marriage to Wayne "Boggie" Hilton and that he had known Terrence James "Jimmy" O'Neill, Larry Charles and Desmond Roy Hilton.
However, he denied running around with the group but admitted having a beer with them at the pub.
He said he mostly knocked around with "Shorty" Laurie.
Asked by counsel assisting the coroner, Craig Chowdhury, if he was involved in the murders, Laurie said "No I wasn't".
He said the first he knew of the murders was when his mother had mentioned about two girls being murdered at the bottom of the Toowoomba Range after their bodies were found and he had not realised he was a suspect until last year.
He said he had never spoken to anyone about the murders despite Mr Chowdhury's suggestion that the discovery of the remains was the big talking point in Toowoomba at the time.
He denied having ever picked up a hitch hiker, ever struggling with women on the Range Hwy, ever attending bonfire parties in the bush, ever been in a car full of men picking up women.
He also denied he and Shorty were stand-over men in Toowoomba in the 1970s or that they went looking for fights.
Asked how many he fights he and Shorty had, he replied only the "odd one now and then".
Person of interest Terrence James "Jimmy" O'Neill, 61, also denied any involvement in the murders.
Asked about an allegation that the group had another man use a hose to clean out blood from the car the group had been travelling in one morning, O'Neill said the only blood he had seen in the car was his own after being bashed by Shorty Laurie.
He said there had been a fair bit of blood as he had sustained a broken nose and lost four teeth.
Asked why he would continue to mix with people who so regularly bashed him, O'Neill said he wanted to show them they couldn't push him around.
He denied being in a car with other suspects when a girl named Margaret was raped in the back seat en route to Echo Valley car racing.
At the conclusion of his evidence, O'Neill asked Coroner Michael Barnes if he could say something, then turned to the victims' families and said he was "sorry for your loss".
"I never had anything to do with these murders of your sisters or friends," he said.
Witness Betty Staid gave evidence by telephone telling the court the now dead Donny Laurie lived with her for some time in the late 1970s.
She said she had watched a crime show on television on the Murphys Creek murders with Donny Laurie, after which Donny had made comments about the murders that only someone who was there would know.
She said Donny had told her "nobody cared, people just kept driving past and nobody helped those girls".
He had wanted to give the girls a drink of water, she said.
Ms Staid said when she asked Donny how he knew these things, he said "I hear things".
She said as soon as Donny left the house she rang Jimmy O'Neill's wife Edith and asked if Donny could have been involved and Edith had said yes.
She said she called police and gave them Edith's phone number and a few days later police came and took Donny away.
He returned saying the police had asked him questions about the nurses murders.
She said Donny told her the girls had been tied to a tree for two or three days.
He had offered to take her to the crime scene but Ms Staid said she was worried he wanted to kill her because she knew too much and did not go.
The inquiry is expected to finish hearing evidence today with another person of interest Desmond Roy Hilton one of two people left to give evidence.
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