Ivan Milat, Australia’s most notorious serial killer, was transferred from prison to hospital last week after his health reportedly took a turn for the worse. Milat, 74, was diagnosed with terminal oesophagus and stomach cancer back in May, and has since been held in the medical wing of Sydney’s Long Bay jail after being transferred there from Goulburn Supermax via Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, eastern Sydney.
The ABC reports that the killer has now been sent back to Prince of Wales, as it was determined that the Long Bay facility could not provide adequate pain relief. Sources close to Milat claim he’s been “in agony” of late, and said they believed he was “only days away from his death bed”.
The NSW Department of Corrective Services confirmed that Milat was transferred from jail to hospital last Friday under high security.
Milat, known colloquially as the Backpacker Killer, first gained infamy in the early 90s when the bodies of two British tourists—Caroline Clark and Joanne Walters—were found decomposing in Belanglo State Forest, New South Wales. The bodies of five more victims—including German backpackers Simone Chmidl, Anja Habschied and Gabor Neugebauer, and Australian couple James Gibson and Deborah Everist—were subsequently discovered in 1993. On May 22, 1994, Milat was hauled from his house in Eagle Vale, south of Sydney, and charged with murder. He later received seven life sentences—one for each victim.
Milat has always maintained his innocence, however, and never confessed to the string of murders for which he was convicted. As recently as May 1, he signed off letters to relatives with the signature “Ivan the innocent,” The Australian reported. It was previously understood that NSW police had planned to interrogate Milat in the event that he changes his stance before he dies.
“I personally would be very keen for Mr Milat to come forward with the information that he is still refusing to share with the people of New South Wales and the larger Australian community,” Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin told media at the time.
Milat does not appear to have come forward with any new information.