Sister of bombing victim uncertain of verdict

Dianna Day-Stevens, the sister of Whisky Au Go Go fire bombing victim Darcy Day, looks over a letter sent by the bomber protesting his innocence.
Dianna Day-Stevens, the sister of Whisky Au Go Go fire bombing victim Darcy Day, looks over a letter sent by the bomber protesting his innocence. Craig Warhurst

A CEDAR Pocket mother, who lost her brother in the Whiskey Au Go Go fire 40 years ago today, is still questioning who was responsible.

As Dianna Day-Stevens takes time today to remember her 19-year-old brother Darcy Day, who died in 1973, a letter written to her parents in 1975 still calls the innocence of one of the convicted killers.

Fifteen people died while trying to escape Brisbane's Whiskey Au Go Go night club as it burned after two drums of petrol were set alight inside just after 2am on March 8, 1973.

Darcy was one of two members of the band Trinity, playing at the club that night, who perished in the fire as patrons attempted to escape via fire exits, which were reported to be blocked and had door handles greased to prevent escape.

While infamous pair James Richard Finch, 29, and John Andrew Stuart, 33, were convicted of starting the blaze, Mrs Day-Stevens is still apprehensive to lay blame.

Mrs Day-Stevens admits that "something is stirring" as the media re-ignites questions of who is responsible, as well as Queensland MP Peter Wellington, who had planned to reveal the identities of people he believed were involved with the fire to parliament.

Mr Wellington has since backed down citing his involvement in the crime and misconduct committee.

Her doubts around the rightful culprits of the fire have been enhanced by a letter signed by prisoner John Stuart addressing her parents Tom and Dulcie Day.

In the letter Stuart pleads his innocence to Darcy's parents, both of whom he had known before the fire.

Mrs Day-Stevens was just 14 when her brother died in what was Australia's biggest mass murder at the time.

While she said she wasn't aware of all going on around her back then, today questioned whether the real culprits were brought to justice.

"I don't know how much John (Stuart) and James Finch were involved with it," she said yesterday.

While today's anniversary reminds Mrs Day-Stevens of a long-held heartache, today's focus will be on celebration of the March 8 birthdays of both her daughter Maddi, 11, and son Clayton, 29.

 

The fire

  • 15 people died
  • Two band members and one waitress perished
  • Doors were greased to prevent escape
  • Two people were convicted
  • Both protested their innocence
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