In the 1990s, the bodies of seven young backpackers were discovered in Belanglo State Forest, a 9,400-acre wood in New South Wales, Australia. The bodies, each riddled with stab wounds, had been posed face-down with loose hut-like structures of sticks constructed over them. The killings, which became known as the Backpacker Murders, were discovered to be the work of Ivan Milat, an Australian man with a prior history of abduction and rape. He was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 18 years.
Yesterday, Milat’s great nephew, Matthew Milat, 18, was convicted of murdering one of his friends with an axe in Belanglo State Forest. In a confession, Milat said he was just “doing what my family does” when he and Cohen Klein, 19, lured their friend David Auchterlonie, 17, into the forest on November 20, 2010. Milat and Klein had told Auchterlonie that they were going there to drink and smoke marijuana, but when they arrived, Milat accused Auchterlonie of “going round telling people [his] affairs,” and told him, “Look at the f*ckin dirt Auchto. I am going to f*ckin kill you if you keep f*ckin movin’. Look at the ground and answer my questions.” Milat continued to interrogate and threaten Auchterlonie while Klein recorded using his cell phone. The 15-minute audio recording, which captures the sound of the axe hitting the victim’s body, was played in court, with Auchterlonie’s family members present. A third teenager, Chase Day, was with Klein and Milat and tried to stop Milat from swinging the axe, but was told by Milat to “get back in the car.” Also presented in court were several poems written by Milat prior to the killing. One poem, entitled Killer Looks and on Evil Side reads, “Take a dash, safety in 2′s /look for a friend so you feel safe,/trust them or your life they might take,/Are you safe? you’ll never know,/but one day you might come to blows.” Another, Cold Life, contains the lines, “Kill for cash, Is what I do/call me up I’ll work for you,/I am not fazed by blood or screams,/Nothing I do will haunt my dreams.“ Milat and Klein both pleaded guilty to murder yesterday, and await sentencing.
Below is an excerpt of the audio transcript:
Milat: Look at the dirt. Don’t look at me. Look at the dirt. Don’t look at me.
Milat: Look at the f*ckin’ dirt Auchto. I am going to f*ckin’ kill you if you keep f*ckin’ movin’. Look at the ground and answer my questions.
Milat: You keep looking at me I’ll cut your head off. Look at the ground c***. Tell me. Is it true you have been going around telling people my affairs?
Auchterlonie: Not it is not true, Matt.
Milat: Don’t look at me, alright.
Auchterlonie: I am not man.
Milat: Look at the dirt.
Auchterlonie: I am. It is not true.
Milat: Put your arms up around your head.
Auchterlonie: It is not true, Matt.
Milat: Shut up c***. Put your hands down next to your face. Pull them up to your face … You going to keep meddling with me?
Auchterlonie: No I won’t. I swear to God, man.
Milat: How am I going to know that?
Auchterlonie: You have my word.
Milat: How good is your word to me but?
Auchterlonie: Mate we have been mates for ages. My word is good.
Milat: Yeah we have been mates for ages and how many times have I’ve been told that you are dogging me behind my f*ckin’ back c***. Right? You got me?
Milat: Look at the ground. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?
Auchterlonie: Yes man. I understand dude.
Milat: Do you really but?
Auchterlonie: Yes man.
Milat: Do you really but?
Auchterlonie: Yes dude.
Milat: Yeah, I don’t believe you c***.
Auchterlonie: I am serious man. I swear to God to you dude. I never said nothing about you.
Milat: I really do not f*ckin’ believe you right now. Alright?
Auchterlonie: Man I give my word. I would not…
Milat: Yeah you give me your word and your word isn’t f*ckin’ good enough Auchto. I’ve had your word before and it ain’t worth a pinch of cold f*ckin’ sh*t.
Sound of axe hitting Auchterlonie.