Ivan Milat died believing he was the “boss” and in control of his situation – despite having spent his final years behind bars serving seven life sentences for the murder of seven young backpackers.
Milat, 74, who had been in prison since 1994, died at Long Bay Hospital at 4.07am on Sunday, Corrective Services NSW said in a statement.
Milat had been undergoing chemotherapy since being diagnosed with oesophageal and stomach cancer in May.
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.
He was arrested in May 1994, following two months of surveillance by a team of NSW police investigating the murders, led by former detective Clive Small.
Milat went to his grave maintaining he was innocent of the crimes, despite detectives trying to extract a confession from him right up to the end.
Australia’s most notorious serial killer, Ivan Milat, is dead. After 25 years behind bars, the man responsible for the infamous backpacker killings died in prison. Clive Small was the detective who led the investigation that brought Milat to justice and he joined us at the desk. pic.twitter.com/Qpc2tq1H40
— The Project (@theprojecttv) October 27, 2019
Mr Small said if the convicted killer had any decency he would have shown it by admitting his guilt and clarifying a number of outstanding issues – but said he believed there was a reason he did not.
“Ivan, having information that he knew others didn’t have, he saw himself as being the boss or in control of the situation,” he told 2GB radio.
“I think he believed that once he gave that information up he no longer had the power.”
Police still believe Milat may have been responsible for other murders carried out with similar characteristics, including three people whose bodies were found in three other forests from 1971 to 1991.