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Australian serial killer who murdered seven backpackers dies

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FILE PHOTO JULY96 - Australia's notorious serial killer Ivan Milat (left) is led from court during his trial in Sydney July 8, 1996. Milat, 51, serving a life sentence for the murder of seven backpackers

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An Australian serial killer who killed seven backpackers, including two Britons, died at 74.

Ivan Milat died in the medical ward of Sydney's Long Bay Prison, officials said months after being diagnosed with esophageal and terminal stomach cancer.

He was arrested in 1996 for the murder of three Germans, two Australians, and two British backpackers Caroline Clarke and Joanne Walters.

From above (left) Deborah Everest, Australia; Anja Habschied, Germany; Simone Schmidl, Germany;
Lower (left to right) Joanne Walters, United Kingdom; Gabor Neugebauer, Germany; Caroline Clarke, United Kingdom; and James Gibson Australia. Victims of Ivan Milat
Image:
Ivan Milat Victims: Deborah Everest, Anja Habschied, Simone Schmidl and (Bottom Line) Joanne Walters, Gabor Neugebauer, Caroline Clarke and James Gibson

Milat had killed his victims after offering them a ride as pedestrians.

Their mutilated bodies were found in forests near Sydney for 14 months in 1992 and 1993.

Clarke, 21, and Walters, 22, were found in September 1992, five months after they disappeared.

In 1993, the bodies of Australian couple Deborah Everist and James Gibson, both 19 years old, were found.

Nearby police searches revealed the body of German Simone Schmidl, 21, and German couple Anja Habschied, 20, and Gabor Neugebauer, 21, who have been missing since 1991.

Milat, a road worker and gun enthusiast, was arrested in 1994.

Briton Paul Onions helped police identify the killer.

Onions almost became one of Milat's victims, accepting a ride from him in 1990, but managed to escape, fleeing when Milat shot him.

When police searched Milat's house, they found guns, including parts of a rifle used in the murders and belongings of some of its victims. They also found ropes and plastic ties worn on the victims.

In 1996, Milat was convicted of seven murders and ordered to serve seven consecutive life sentences.

But police think he killed other people, including three people found buried in forests between 1971 and 1991.

Clive Small, the detective who led the murder investigation, said: "I had absolutely no respect for him.

"I thought that if he had a shred of decency he might have demonstrated it before he died, admitting and clarifying a number of outstanding issues."

Ian Clarke, Clarke's father, based in Northumberland, said of Milat's death: "No matter how Christian you are, you can't help but be happy that it happened."

New South Wales Counterterrorism and Corrections Minister Anthony Roberts said authorities had made sure Milat did not die in a public hospital bed.

Roberts told the Sydney Daily Telegraph: "He showed no remorse. We guarantee that the sentence has been enforced.

"He can rot in hell."

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