Australia’s most notorious serial killer, who brutally murdered young backpackers during his reign of terror, has died of cancer.
Backpacker killer Ivan Milat slaughtered seven young hitchikers travelling along a remote highway in Australia in the 1990s.
He has died at 74, nearly six months after being diagnosed with throat and stomach cancer, according to reports.
Two British backpackers, Caroline Clark and travel companion Joanne Walters, were among Milat’s victims.
Australia’s ABC reports the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services announced Milat had died in hospital in Sydney at 4.07am Sunday, local time.
The families of the dead feared the killer would go to his deathbed without ever confessing to the crimes that shocked Australia and the world.
He had been moved to the city’s Prince of Wales Hospital on October 11 from Goulbourn Supermax jail, where he had been serving his life sentence in solitary confinement.
Milat was arrested in 1994 following one of the biggest police investigations in Australian history following the discovery of seven bodies in shallow graves in the Belanglo State Forest, southwest of Sydney, during 1992 and 1993.
Milat is also suspected of being involved in at least three other missing persons cases.
The disappearances of three women in the Newcastle region of NSW, near where Milat was roadworking in the 1970s, remain unsolved.
Caroline’s dad, Ian Clarke, said earlier he had hoped the killer would finally confess to all of the crimes he is suspected of committing before he died.
He previously told the Sydney Morning Herald: “It’s a horrible way for anybody to end their life but then it was even more horrible the way our daughter and so many others lost theirs, so sympathy isn’t high on the list, I’m afraid.
“If he was to finally face up to the fact and admit to any others that he has done, if indeed he has, then I think that would be a wonderful thing for those parents, because for the short time that we didn’t know, I know just how they must be feeling.
“It was in its way a form of closure, that we’d found her and we were able to lay her to rest properly. It’s these other parents who don’t have the luxury of being able to do that.”
Milat, who is described as one of Australia’s worst serial killers , dumped his victims’ bodies in the Belanglo State Forest between 1989 and 1992.
His horrific crimes were uncovered after orienteers stumbled upon two decaying corpses partially buried in the Belanglo State Forest.
Two missing British nannies Joanne Walters, 22, and Caroline Clarke, 21, were to be the first of seven sets of human remains found in shallow graves scattered around the forest.
Caroline, a former Pizza Hut assistant manager, had gone to Australia in 1991 on a dream working holiday, after spending months saving up to pay for her trip.
She and Joanne, a nanny, from Mid Glamorgan, were hitching south from Sydney down the Hume Highway when they accepted a lift from Milat.
They were subsequently reported missing and Caroline’s parents flew out to Australia in August, 1992, to help in the search.
The following month, the bodies of both backpackers were found in shallow graves.
Caroline had been stabbed and shot 10 times in the head.
Over the course of a year, five more victims’ remains were discovered – including the body of decapitated traveller Anja Habschied, whose head has never been found.
His other victims included Deborah Everist and James Gibson, both 19, from Victoria, Simone Schmidl, 21, from Germany, and Gabor Neugebauer, 21, from Germany
Milat had been a road worker at the time of his crimes, giving the weapons-obsessed ex-convict opportunity to scope out the forest alongside the remote highway as his hitchhiker hunting ground.
It was noted during his trial many victims were shot multiple times, as if he had been using them for target practice.
Court documents showed sexual interference with the corpses, either before or after the victims’ deaths, in all but one case.
Milat was convicted in 1996 and jailed for life, but never admitted to the murders.
The detested serial killer had previously spent time in hospital before his final trip to his deathbed.
In 2009 Milat cut off his pinky finger with a plastic knife- reportedly with the intent to send it to the High Court. The finger could not be surgically reattached.
In 2001, the killer injured himself swallowing razors and staples.
In 2011, he staged a hunger strike, losing 25kg in a bid to get a Playstation.