Backpacker killer Ivan Milat includes spiteful final dig in last letter

A serial killer who murdered seven backpackers used his last letter to deliver one final insult to the Australian public.

Ivan Milat died yesterday morning in a hospital bed at Long Bay prison in Sydney, Australia.

Two days before taking his final breath the 74-year-old, who slaughtered seven young hitchikers travelling along a remote highway in Australia in the 1990s, penned a letter to his brother Bill.

The final document delivered a post-humous parting shot to the Australian government Milat maintained had wrongly convicted him until his death.

“Please don’t pay for my funeral services or contribute in any way,” part of the letter read, Bill told 10 News First.

“(Corrective Services New South Wales) to fund it all. A pauper’s burial or whatever is suitable. I have assured the commissioner of CS of NSW of my wishes.”

His brother, who is in line to inherit all of Milat's possessions, agreed with the idea that the Corrective Services should "foot the bill", because they had "had him all his time".

He added: "(The taxpayer) can be outraged. It was the taxpayer that put him in there, it’s the taxpayer that has to pay, and remember I’m one of them too.”

Mr Milat maintains that his brother was not responsible for the killings.

"He was an all-round nice bloke. We don't believe for one second that he did it," he told The Daily Telegraph.

Despite his conviction that Milat was innocent, his brother has decided to hold a private crematorium and not to erect a gravestone – fearing irate members of the public would disrupt or vandalise them.

The convicted murderer signed off the letter with a small stick figure with a halo and the word 'innocent'.

He died two days later at the end of a six month struggle with throat and stomach cancer.

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.

It was triggered by 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.

The dead bodies were uncovered by a group of orienteers which stumbled upon two decaying corpses partially buried in the woodland.

They were British nannies Joanne Walters, 22, and Caroline Clarke, 21. 

Caroline had gone to Australia in 1991 on a dream working holiday, having spent months saving up to pay for her trip by working at Pizza Hut.

She and Mid Glamorgan nanny Joanne were hitching from Sydney down the Hume Highway when they accepted a lift from Milat.

When the missing persons alarm was raised 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.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald Caroline's dad Ian expressed hopes the serial killer would admit to all the crimes he was suspected of before dying.

"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," he said.

"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."

Over the course of the next year the remains of five more victims were discovered – including the body of decapitated traveller Anja Habschied, whose head has never been found.

Milat's 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.

The 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 he injured himself swallowing razors and staples, before losing 25kg in a hunger strike he hoped would convince prison staff to get him a Playstation.

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