The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JAMES PHELPS

HAND­CUFFED to a hos­pi­tal bed and heav­ily se­dated in 2009 af­ter hack­ing off his own fin­ger, Ivan Mi­lat spoke about an ac­com­plice in what could be his only ad­mis­sion of guilt.

Australia’s worst se­rial killer told bed­side staff of a “sec­ond killer’’, dur­ing a 30hour hos­pi­tal stay caused by the fin­ger in­ci­dent, when he used a plas­tic knife and ra­zor blade to cut off his own fin­ger in protest at what he called wrong­ful con­vic­tions.

Mi­lat, who died last Sun­day in Long Bay pri­son’s hos­pi­tal, aged 74, never ad­mit­ted to the seven back­packer mur­ders of which he was con­victed, or the six un­solved mur­ders to which he was linked over the years.

The Sun­day Tele­graph has also ob­tained un­seen pic­tures of Mi­lat in the Goul­burn Hos­pi­tal bed in 2009, wear­ing pri­son green un­der­pants and strapped to a bed.

“We asked him why he did it, why he hacked his fin­ger off,’’ a for­mer Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices NSW of­fi­cer said.

“Ivan never talked. He was just ar­ro­gant and dis­mis­sive. But all of a sud­den, he got chatty and he started telling us that the rea­son he had chopped his fin­ger off in re­la­tion to the last mur­der. I reckon it was the painkiller­s he was on (that got him talk­ing).

“He said he did it (cut off his fin­ger) be­cause he wanted a re­trial and wanted to ex­pose an ac­com­plice. He started speak­ing about the DNA on the last body and said that there was more than his. He also said that there were two dis­tinc­tive sets of stab wounds on the vic­tim. He said that the killer blows were con­sis­tent with some­one that knew what they were do­ing but the other (blows) weren’t.

“He said that they would mea­sure all the stab wounds in a re­trial and that it would show that there were two killers. That some would be deep and full of pur­pose and the oth­ers would be hes­i­tant. The work of an ama­teur.’’

“He spoke about stab wounds heaps. The deep ones, the fa­tal one and the oth­ers that started shal­low and got deeper and deeper. He kept on say­ing it was some­one’s first time.’’

The bed­side staff pressed for more detail.

“We asked him who else was there,’’ the for­mer of­fi­cer said, “and he just smirked and then shut down.’’

Mi­lat or­dered a fe­male pri­son of­fi­cer out of the room be­fore giv­ing the full and grue­some de­tails of how he sev­ered his pinky fin­ger from his left hand.

“He said he went at it with a BIC ra­zor,’’ an­other cor­rec­tions of­fi­cer said. “They get given a sin­gle blade, a blue BIC, and he pulled out the blade and started rip­ping in.’’ The blade soon dulled. “He said he got through half the bone when the blade was dull as pa­per,’’ the of­fi­cer con­tin­ued.

“So he im­pro­vised and grabbed a plas­tic knife they get for din­ner. It has a ser­rated edge and can get through a steak. That got him a bit fur­ther but still not far enough.’’ Mi­lat said he used forced to force his fin­ger from his hand. “Have a look at the photo,’’ said the for­mer of­fi­cer. “You can see it is snapped off right at the knuckle. At the hand. That is where he broke it off him­self.’’

Speak­ing for the first time, the first pri­son of­fi­cer into Mi­lat’s Su­per­max cell fol­low­ing the self-mu­ti­la­tion said he was stunned by the scene.

“There was no blood,’’ said the of­fi­cer. “None. He was just sit­ting on his bed with a tis­sue on his hand. We stripped him, made him spread his arse cheeks and all that. He was clear so we cuffed him. There wasn’t much con­ver­sa­tion. He knew the drill. We searched him, put him in or­ange over­alls, an­kle cuffs, re­strain­ing belt, hand­cuffs ... from there we took him to Goul­burn base hos­pi­tal.’’

An of­fi­cer put Mi­lat’s pinky in his pocket.

“It was in ice,’’ said an of­fi­cer. “But it went into a pocket. There was no proper ef­fort to save it.’’

Pri­son in­sid­ers have re­vealed that Mi­lat be­gan head­but­ting walls fol­low­ing his failed self-mu­ti­la­tion bid for a re­trial.

“He ended up go­ing stir crazy and just head­but­ted the wall. He started go­ing nuts. He was per­ceived as a mon­ster and ended up be­com­ing one,’’ one of­fi­cer said.

An­other of­fi­cer who knew Mi­lat de­scribed the cut fin­ger as the be­gin­ning of the end.

“I reckon he gave up when that failed,’’ said a for­mer of­fi­cer. “He went all in and lost. He cut off his own fin­ger and got nowhere. What was next? He couldn’t go any big­ger. He

stopped talk­ing up de­fences and his in­no­cence af­ter that. He was so ar­ro­gant that he would never make an ad­mis­sion, but I reckon he knew he would die in pri­son. He lost hope, then he got can­cer, and then he died. Good rid­dance.’’

Sev­eral pri­son of­fi­cers, who spend their days deal­ing with the coun­try’s most dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals, said they re­served a spe­cial dis­like for “We try our best not to worry about their crimes,’’ said an of­fi­cer.

“But he was dis­liked more than any­thing be­cause of his ar­ro­gance.

“He played a power game that he al­ways had to win. He would al­ways ques­tion you and al­ways com­plain.

“He would tell you if some­thing wasn’t be­ing done to pro­ce­dure. He would go straight to the om­buds­man the mo­ment you chal­lenged him,” he said.

The fact that he al­ways talked about be­ing in­no­cent was also hard to deal with. He was just a vile hu­man.’’

He played a power game that he al ways had to win. H e was just a vile hu­man.

Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices of­fi­cer

Mi­lat’s hand with the sev­ered fin­ger.

Ivan Mi­lat in a hos­pi­tal bed af­ter cut­ting off his fin­ger in 2009. Mi­lat un­der guard in his hos­pi­tal bed in 2009.

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