Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Killer’s Great-Nephew to Appeal 43-Year Sentence for Axe Murder

David Auchterlonie, victim. Facebook photo.

The New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions announced today that it received a notice of intention stating that Matthew Milat and his co-defendant Cohen Klein will appeal their prison sentences for the axe murder of David Auchterlonie, 17. Last month, Milat,19, was was sentenced to 43 years with a non-parole period of 30 years and Klein, also 19, was sentenced to 32 years with a non-parole period of 22 years.

In a confession, Milat said he was just “doing what my family does” when he and Klein lured their friend Auchterlonie 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.”

Matthew Milat is the great-nephew of Ivan Milat, a convicted serial killer.  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.  Milat was found to be responsible for the killings, which became known as the Backpacker Murders.  He was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 18 years.

Read Matthew Milat’s poetry and a transcript of the recording here.

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