Police had hoped for a deathbed confession, and families of suspected victims wanted answers, but Australia’s most notorious serial killer used his final, sealed message to demand a state-funded funeral.
Ivan Milat, who was serving life for seven murders, died of cancer on Sunday morning in Long Bay prison.
Days earlier he had handed a sealed letter to his brother, asking that it be opened after his death.
Milat, who was successfully prosecuted in 1996 in part because of the testimony of British tourist Paul Onions, used the letter to leave his belongings to his brother Bill and to insist that his family not pay for his funeral.
Bill Milat said he believed “100%” that his brother was innocent. Another brother, Boris Milat, condemned Ivan as a “psychopath” in a recent interview with 60 Minutes.
“I see a frail old pathetic man that to me died a long time ago. He’s nothing but an evil killer,” he said.
Ivan Milat’s final letter, first published in full by 10 Daily today, said: “Please don’t pay for my funeral services or contribute in any way. CS NSW to fund it all. A paupers (sic) burial or whatever is suitable.”
It concluded with: “I am innocent of the crimes convicted of.”
Milat was also linked to the disappearance of three young women and girls in Newcastle, New South Wales in the 1970s, and one in the same area in 1994.
In June this year NSW Police reopened the cases of three of Milat’s suspected victims.
Amanda Robinson was 14 when she vanished in 1979. Her mother Anne told local media in June: “I hope to God they get answers for some of us. It’s hell on earth, heartache and suffering for 40 years.”
Pam Mitchell, whose sister Leanne Goodall has been missing since December 30, 1978, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation after Milat’s death that her family “would have loved to have answers, to know where (Leanne) was, where she was buried”.
“Even for him to have admitted to us without being recorded, even just say to us ‘yes, it was me’ – it would have been good to have that opportunity,” she said.
After revealing the contents of his brother’s letter, Bill Milat told 10 Daily he felt “awfully sorry” for “these people have lost their loved ones”. “You’ve got to feel for them… I just hope this doesn’t happen again,” he said.