Charge over 1964 Qld jewel heist murder

Vincent O'Dempsey was in his mid-twenties when he allegedly killed Vincent Raymond Allen.
Vincent O'Dempsey was in his mid-twenties when he allegedly killed Vincent Raymond Allen.

In what police believe may be the oldest cold case resolution in Australia, Vincent O'Dempsey has faced court accused of murdering a Queensland police informant 55 years ago.

Now aged 80, O'Dempsey allegedly killed Vincent Raymond Allen, 22, in 1964 near Warwick, west of Brisbane.

A week earlier, two men had been arrested over heists at two jewellery stores as a result of information Mr Allen gave to police.

The charges against the pair had to be dropped after he disappeared.

Mr Allen, a labourer, was last seen in a car with someone he knew about 5pm on April 18.

He failed to turn up to play in a rugby league game the following day and his body has never been found.

O'Dempsey, who knew Mr Allen, was interviewed by police in 1975 and 1979 over the suspected murder.

A 1980 coronial inquiry, at which O'Dempsey gave evidence, found he was likely to have been murdered near Warwick.

Mr Allen was a construction worker at the Leslie Dam, just outside Warwick, before working for Queensland Rail.

Police have looked at whether his body could be in the wall of the dam, Detective Senior Sergeant Tara Kentwell said on Tuesday as she told reporters of the cold case arrest.

She didn't say if this would be investigated again.

But she urged anyone with any information about Mr Allen's remains to come forward.

"I think that would be good for the family," Det Sen Sgt Kentwell said.

"We're of the opinion there are still people out there who can help."

Mr Allen was one of 10 children. He is survived by four sisters and two brothers.

She said Mr Allen's family were extremely relieved to hear about the arrest on Tuesday of the man allegedly responsible for their brother's murder.

Police charged O'Dempsey, a Wacol man, with Mr Allen's murder.

He appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon and was remanded in custody to reappear in the same court on September 16.

"We believe this may be the oldest cold case to be solved in Australia," Det Sen Sgt Kentwell said.

His arrest comes after the state government last month announced a $250,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person responsible of the murder.

In addition to the reward money, indemnity from prosecution was to be recommended for any accomplice who was the first to hand over information leading to a conviction.

Australian Associated Press