'Silent screams' still haunt brother as end to inquest nears

Sydney nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans.
Sydney nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans. State Coroner’s Office

WATCHING and listening to every minute of evidence of the coronial inquest into the murders of his sister Lorraine and her friend Wendy Evans has prompted a range of emotions for Eric Wilson.

Mr Wilson and his now late mother had pressed for years to have an open coronial inquiry into the murders of the two nurses whose bodies were found in a paddock off Murphys Creek Rd in 1976.

They had gone missing while in the Toowoomba area two years earlier.

Lorraine, 20, and Wendy, 18, were ultimately raped, tortured and bludgeoned to death, most likely on the day they were picked up hitch hiking on the Warrego Hwy, October 6, 1974.

Mr Wilson was pleased State Coroner Michael Barnes agreed to the inquest and happy that at last names of suspects were publicly revealed.

He was even tentatively hopeful that someone might be held accountable. He still is, but after hearing counsel assisting the coroner Craig Chowdhury submit there was insufficient evidence to put anyone alive on trial for the murders, Mr Wilson had been left disappointed.

"I'm still hopeful the coroner might have something positive when he brings down his findings next week," Mr Wilson told The Chronicle.

"I can't complain about the justice system and I think Craig (Chowdhury) and Michael (coroner Michael Barnes) have done the best job they possibly could have in the circumstances.

"I'm happy we got this far and if nothing else at least people now know the names of those suspected as being involved and that these people exist."

Eric Wilson is angry no one will face trial over the murders of his sister Lorraine and her friend Wendy Evans.

Of seven "persons of interest" identified by investigators, four are dead: Allan John "Shorty" Laurie, Wayne "Boogie" Hilton, Donald Laurie and Larry Charles, while three others Allan Neil "Ungie" Laurie, Desmond Roy Hilton and Terrance James O'Neill gave evidence at the inquest, each denying any involvement.

Mr Chowdhury told the inquest that, had he still been alive, he believed there was enough evidence to charge Wayne "Boggie" Hilton.

However, hope had all but faded that anyone would face a trial.

"I've gone through a range of emotions from anger, shock, frustration to a feeling of helplessness that we couldn't help the girls," Mr Wilson said.

"I still hear their silent screams."

Mr Wilson some years ago wrote a book on the murders, "The Echo of Silent Screams", which since the inquest has been a much sought after read from the Toowoomba Library.

"I intend to update the book from where it left off," he said.

"I think I owe it to the community to finish the book."