The murders of the seven backpackers had dominated headlines for years. The police, psychologists, scientists, and the international media were trying to work out exactly what went down in the Belangalo State Forest. The few leads the police had all seemed to point in one direction – towards a roadworker from Sydney with a passion for guns.
In this episode, your girls dive into the background of Ivan Milat and how he became the Backpacker Murderer, Jess's continued love for Paul Onions, and the unfortunate Milat family legacy. We also dive into perhaps the most burning topic related to the case – did Milat work alone? We don’t know for sure, but that’s not gonna stop us from wildly speculating!
Ivan Milat was born in New South Wales in 1944. The fifth child in a line of fourteen, he had a rough childhood, hanging out with his literal gang of brothers, causing trouble as a teen, and spending plenty of time in prison as an adult. Everyone who knew Ivan knew him to be a good guy, quick tempered, sure, and a bit of a fan of a firearm, but wouldn’t hurt a fly. Richard was the wildcard Milat, the one you needed to watch out for. But the evidence against Ivan was starting to pile up, piece by piece, until one day it all came crashing down.
While we know for sure that Ivan Milat was responsible for the Backpacker Murders, there are still many lingering questions about the case. Firstly, did Ivan work alone? The police, forensic psychologists, and the usual collection of armchair detectives on the internet think it is very possible he had an accomplice. And were the bodies in Belangalo State Forest Ivan’s only victims? With so many missing people in Australia and with a guy as batshit as Milat, it’s hard to think he stopped at seven.
Our main source this week was again the excellent Sins of the Brother. Please read it.
You can find more information than you can poke a stick at online about this case but here’s some links to get you started.
Firstly, read a slightly dry but very detailed sum up of the case in one of Ivan Milat’s appeal documents here http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/1998/795.html?context=1;query=ivan%20milat;mask_path=
A very detailed exploration into the case with a convenient timeline and some Web 1.0 goodness can be found herehttp://www.geocities.ws/darragh_scully/ivan_millat.html
Read about the trial and some info on R vs Milat: A Case Study in Cross Examination herehttps://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/the-prosecutors-question-that-was-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-serial-killer-ivan-milat/news-story/0cdc7bf3ae93319ab26d14bc732cc34b
To read one of the lead detectives and forensic psychologists in conversation about the case, go herehttp://medicolegal.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/The-belanglo-enigma.pdf