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Australia: Dead Nurses 'Tied To Tree For Days'
An inquest into the death of two nurses who were found bound and beaten in a Queensland bush four decades ago has heard how they were tied to a tree for days.
A second inquest into the 1974 killings of hitch-hikers Lorraine Wilson, 20, and Wendy Evans, 18, has reopened.
In one of the country's most shocking unsolved crimes - the women's skeletal remains were discovered near the town of Murphy's Creek in 1976.
Their skulls were crushed and their bones tangled with cord from venetian blinds.
Betty Staid, who gave evidence via phone, said one of the key persons of interest - now deceased, Donald "Donny" Laurie - lived with her for five weeks in the 1970s and made some shocking admissions at the time.
While they were watching a crime show about the murders, she said Mr Laurie told her he had wanted to give the women water when they were tied to a tree for two or three days.
"I was in shock and said: 'How did you know that, Laurie?'," said Ms Staid. "He looked at me like he'd said too much and said: 'I hear things.'"
Ms Staid said her housemate once offered to take her to the crime scene but she refused.
Two of the only three surviving persons of interest in the case - who were named for the first time last year - have given evidence at the inquest while the third, Desmond Roy Hilton is due to take the stand.
Allan Neil "Ungie" Laurie, 63, and Terrence James "Jimmy" O'Neill insisted they had nothing to do with the murders.
The inquest was told the men had a habit of abducting women, taking them to the bush, beating them and raping them - which they also deny.
Trevor Hilton, the uncle of key suspect Wayne "Boogie" Hilton, said his nephew and his friends would ambush young women in Toowoomba's main street on a weekly basis.
Mr Hilton said the group of men, which included now deceased Allan John "Shorty" Laurie, Donald "Donny" Laurie, and Larry Charles, were notorious about town.
Ms Wilson and Ms Evans were last seen leaving a relative's home in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill in October 1974 to hitch-hike to Goondiwindi where they were to pick up a car and drive to Sydney.
An inquest held in 1985 found the women had met foul play, but no charges were laid.