Serial killer Ivan Milat dies aged 74
| 27.10,19. 01:31 PM |
Serial killer Ivan Milat dies aged 74
Ivan Milat, one of Australia's most notorious serial killers, has died.
Milat died at Long Bay Hospital at 4.07am today, Corrective Services NSW said in a statement. He was 74.
The former road worker was sentenced in 1996 to seven consecutive life sentences for murdering seven backpackers whose bodies were found in makeshift graves in NSW's Belanglo State Forest in the 1990s.
A frail Milat, who had battled terminal oesophagus and stomach cancer, was moved to a secure annex at the hospital earlier this month, and reportedly took a turn for the worse on Monday night.
9News understands he had refused treatment in the last few days and was returned to jail before he died.
The diagnosis of oesophagus and stomach cancer saw the gaunt, balding killer transferred from Goulburn Supermax Jail to the Sydney hospital in May this year and he underwent chemotherapy.
During that visit, Milat was held in a private section of the hospital where inmates are treated under restrictive conditions put in place by Corrective Services NSW.
It is understood at least one form of restraint - handcuffs or ankle cuffs - stay on high-risk inmates during medical treatment subject to medical requirements.
The serial killer was initially taken from Goulburn's supermax jail to Prince of Wales on May 13 this year for medical tests.
His nephew, Alistair Shipsey, said at the time his uncle's condition was "very bad" and he only had weeks to live.
Milat was serving seven consecutive life sentences for the murder of seven backpackers in the early 1990s. This page contains a full list of Ivan Milat's known crimes and trials.
Born two days after Christmas 1944, Milat was one of 14 children of Australian-born Margaret and Yugoslavian-born Steven Milat who lived in Sydney's west.
He left school at 15, had minor dealings with the police and worked on the roads for years, around Sydney and country NSW.
He was arrested in 1994 and convicted in 1996 of slaying seven young travellers between 1989 and 1993.
His victims were British friends Joanne Walters and Caroline Clarke, Melbourne couple Deborah Everist and James Gibson, German Simone Schmidl and German couple Anja Habschied and Gabor Neugebauer.
Their bodies were discovered in shallow graves in the Belanglo State Forest, 15kms south west of the New South Wales town of Berrima in the NSW Southern Highlands.
The killings would become known across the world media as the "Backpacker Murders".
Over the years, Milat has been linked to the disappearance of other young men and women in areas where he worked with a road gang.
But while maintaining his innocence in the murders, Milat apparently made no deathbed confession to any other crimes
Criminologist Dr Xanthe Mallet, who studied Milat and his crimes for a new book, told 9News she believes he had more than the seven victims to his name.
Milat has been linked to other suspected murders including those of two Sydney nurses who disappeared from a Parramatta hotel in 1980 and wayward teenager Peter Letcher.
"There are a number of cases where people have disappeared in similar circumstances to those Belangalo victims and I think that they may just not have been found yet," Ms Mallet said.
She said of all the potential victims Milat has been linked to in the past, the most likely is Mr Letcher.
The 18-year-old's body was found near Jenolan Caves in 1988, and the manner of his death bore many similarities to Milat's backpacker victims.
The former road worker also kidnapped British tourist Paul Onions but he managed to escape from Milat's vehicle.
Mr Onions was a backpacker heading to a fruit picking job down south when he hitched a ride with Milat outside of Sydney in January, 1990.
Milat introduced himself to the then 24-year-old as Bob and soon into the journey pulled a gun on him and said: "this is a robbery".
When Milat tried to tie him up with a rope, Mr Onions opened the car door and jumped out onto the highway.
As he ran down the road Milat shot at him at least once.
Mr Onions reported the incident to police, but it was not until he was back in London and he saw reports of bodies being found in the Belanglo State Forest that he made the connection to Milat.
Ian Hayman is another man who claims to have escaped from Milat while hitchhiking in the 1970s. He also claims Milat had a companion.
Mr Hayman was just 15 when he decided to hitchhike home to Wollongong after being sacked from his job as a strapper at Sydney's Warwick Farm Racetrack in 1971.
He claims an old two-tone Holden, with Milat behind the wheel and another man in the front passenger seat, pulled up and offered him a lift.
"It just seemed a little strange because as we were driving along the Wollongong turn-off was there, and the Canberra turn-off was there, and they took the Canberra turn-off," Mr Hayman said.
He said the passenger, who had done all the talking so far, told Mr Hayman they knew the road, and the driver continued driving.
Yet when Mr Hayman told the pair his older brother was a paratrooper in the army, the passenger said the driver - who Mr Hayman claimed he addressed as "Ivan" - had also been in the army.
"And then (the driver) looked at me in the rear vision mirror, it was just horrifying," he said.
'They know he's coming'
He said the driver's eyes were "scary as hell, like black, dark".
Mr Hayman claims he was eventually told to get out of the car after the passenger convinced the driver Mr Hayman's family "know he's coming".
Lindsay Buckland claims to be another who – barely - escaped Milat.
Mr Buckland, was a self-described hippie 19-year-old, when he hitched from his home in Canberra to an alternative music festival south of Sydney in 1976.
He too claims Milat offered him a lift.
As the then teenager climbed into the passenger seat, Mr Buckland said he noticed a bottle of water and some coiled-up rope in the vehicle.
After being told firmly to "drink the water", Mr Buckland claims things went downhill with the driver going into a "sort of trance" and driving erratically.
After asking to be let out, Mr Buckland grabbed the steering wheel, which snapped the driver out of his "trance" and caused him to pull over on the side of the Hume Highway, not far from the Belanglo Forest turn-off.
Mr Buckland said that as he got out of the car and grabbed his backpack, the driver also climbed out.
"He's just standing behind me, hovering over me," Mr Buckland said.
"All of a sudden, he reaches in the back of the cabin, behind the seat, and I see this rifle being pulled out."
Claims of innocence
In a three-page handwritten letter dated July 11 and sent to The Sun Herald, Milat claimed he was innocent of the deaths.
The convicted killer said his life since being arrested and sentenced had been devoted "wholly to prove my innocence...(and) the court judiciary who conspired to obscure the miscarriages of justice".
"I am sure that you are aware of how cancer is, it's a grim finding and less than fifty per cent survive it and, I feel that the unpredictability of the effect of the treatment would overtake any commentary by me of it," Milat writes in the letter published in August.
"It is in the hands of my carers (doctors etc) and of course, Our Lord in Heaven."
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