Story of murder comes to town

AUTHORS of Lingering Doubts – Going inside Brisbane’s Arcade Murder, Deb Drummond (nee Brown) and Janice Teunis (nee Herbertson) will include Goondiwindi in their upcoming speaking tour. 

Deb and Janice are cousins, both granddaughters of Reginald Wingfield Spence Brown who was convicted of murder in 1947 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Strongly professing his innocence, Reginald Brown died in a Boggo Road Gaol cell just days after his trial.  

Deb says, ‘sharing our grandfather’s story with residents of the town I once called home will be very special and probably quite moving’.

 ‘I started school at Goondiwindi State and left at the end of Year 4 when my parents, Ian and Sybil Brown, gained the position as managers of Caloundra Motel, which was then affiliated with Goondiwindi Motel.  

As a child I learnt to water ski out at Boobera Lagoon. Dad built his own speed boat and on Sundays Mum drove the boat most of the day for the ski club members but she was an accomplished skier herself.’

In the mid 50s, Ian Brown commenced his business, Goondiwindi Welding Works, in Pratten Street across from the Queensland Hotel.  He worked day and night, specialising in steel fabrication and welding repairs. Ian Brown repaired implements and farm machinery for most local property owners, also accepting an offer to become a franchisee for Connor-Shea Farm Machinery Co., before eventually selling the business to Tony Francis. Tony, as a 15 year old, had commenced his apprenticeship with Ian. 

 During their time in Goondiwindi, Ian and Sybil had a second daughter, Faye, and well remember their welcome move from a rough workers cottage beside the welding works to a new home in Lucas Street. Ian was a Rotarian and both he and Sybil were members of the Golf Club, Go Kart racing circuit and ski club.

But unbeknown to all who knew Ian he was concealing a secret so painful it would be another 60 years before he could bring himself to speak about it. Ian, now 87, and his sister, Valerie Herbertson (nee Brown), still bear the scars from the catastrophic event that robbed them of their father when they were teenagers. 

Lingering Doubts analyses the police investigation into a young woman’s death in Brisbane’s CBD, including the alleged motive swiftly formulated by Queensland Detective (later Police Commissioner) Frank Bischof.  The case became widely known as the ‘Arcade Murder’.

The authors say their findings not only throw significant doubt on their grandfather’s guilt, but raises doubt about the guilt of many others who, in by-gone Brisbane, found themselves defenceless against ‘police generated’ evidence.  Matthew Condon who wrote Three Crooked Kings and the recently released Jacks and Jokers, based on Condon’s personal interviews with former Police Commissioner Terry Lewis, has become a staunch supporter of Lingering Doubts.

For more information see

The authors will present their grandfather’s story at 10.30am on Thursday, July 24 at the Goondiwindi Library.  Bookings required.  Ph 4671 7470

Noted crime investigative reporter and author, Bob Bottom OAM travelled from interstate to launch Lingering Doubts at Brisbane’s landmark Regatta Hotel, built in 1886 by the authors’ great-great-grandparents, William and Margaret Winterford.

“I think it’s amazing what Deb and Jan have done,” says Bob.

“Let me tell you, I have been involved in investigative journalism for half a century, and they’ve done a job in some ways more professional than many professional journalists.”

  Matthew Condon (Murder in the Frame), QWeekend April 12-13 

‘It is astonishing to look at the Reg Brown murder case through contemporary eyes, and this is one of the finer achievements of Lingering Doubts. The passage of time has revealed the flaws in the design.’ 

Matthew Condon QWeekend April 12-13

‘This is a book which has all of the classic ingredients of a “miscarriage of justice” case. ..... It is clear that they have worked hard to do what those with legal responsibilities in relation to the case failed to do.

  Lingering Doubts Review - Dr Robert N Moles Assoc. Professor of Law