‘Five reasons Milat is innocent’
SUPPORTERS of infamous serial killer Ivan Milat have not been deterred by this month's True Crime Australia revelations that he acted alone to murder seven backpackers in the Belanglo State Forest.
They remain adamant they will prove his innocence as they now raise new theories and analyse other evidence to show it could have been anything from a cult group to a German father behind the gruesome slayings.
Milat's nephew Alistair Shipsey, who has spent decades publicly campaigning for a retrial for his uncle, said he was enraged by claims science had now ruled out there having been another killer present in the NSW forest in 1992.
For more than 20 years, strands of hair found clasped in the hand of one of the victims, Joanne Walters, were unable to be identified by DNA testing.
Milat's supporters had latched on to an early forensic finding that the hair was that of a man and not Milat, thereby making him innocent.
But a fortnight ago, True Crime Australia revealed new technology had identified the hairs as Ms Walter's own.
Former Assistant Commissioner Clive Small, the former detective who headed Task Force Air to convict Milat, confirmed this month the strands of hair that were initially unable to produce a match with conventional DNA testing had been tested more recently with more advanced technology.
Since Milat was given seven life sentences in 1996, Small has maintained that there was only one man behind the crimes - and he was the one locked up.
But Mr Shipsey refuses to give up in his campaign.
"Did you see Clive Small on TV the other night lying to the whole of Australia again about Ivan?" said Mr Shipsey, who runs the pro-Milat Facebook page The Milat Letters.
"He was lying! They went on at (Milat's) trial for days about the group. They said there was no way Ivan could have did it on his own because the two German (backpackers) - he couldn't hold the gun on them. Now Clive Small's saying Ivan acted alone, but they went on for days about the group, and there was a group."
Mr Shipsey is so confident in his case, he is challenging the former top cop to a public showdown on Nine's current affairs show, 60 Minutes.
"How about it, Clive? Me and you, 60 minutes. You bring your evidence, I'll bring mine," he said, adding he has previously posted the challenge on his Facebook page but has not heard from Mr Small in response.
Mr Small told True Crime Australia there had been numerous conspiracy theories over the years based on very little.
He said even old beer bottles found in Belanglo Forest and unrelated to the crime scene were seized upon by conspiracy theorists - many of whom were championing Milat's innocence - as supporting the possibility he had a helper.
"There were five other people that were abducted by him that he wasn't charged for, from the 1970s through, and in all those cases he was by himself," Mr Small said.
"There was nothing that ever pointed us to an accomplice, nothing, no-one at all, no.
"One of the other things that was notable was all the items of property, camping equipment and so on that were recovered came from Ivan and no-one else. He kept them and was gifting them out to other members of the family but it was given out by Ivan and no-one else.
"These were the indications he acted alone for sure. There were those reports about beer bottles and cigarette butts, well those (butts) they were linked to the woman who was taken with Joanne (Caroline Clarke)."
However, Mr Shipsey believes he has enough evidence to get Milat's conviction overturned if his relative is granted a retrial.
These are his and his supporters' top five arguments:
Another murderer has been identified
The most explosive of Mr Shipsey's theories is that the murders were committed by a now deceased German man called Wynn Kaaspercheck.
Mr Shipsey said he was in regular contact with a Wollongong mother who claims her ex-husband is responsible for the killings.
In a video posted to The Milat Letters' Facebook page, the woman (whose identity is obscured) is interviewed on video, saying that her children claim they witnessed their father committing several murders.
"They started speaking about seeing their father murder people," said the woman.
"The method they said he used was a frenzied stabbing attack as well as shooting them with a gun. He stabbed them over and over again. That was between about 1990 when my son was three and early 1993."
The children reportedly told their mother they were taken to a forest a long way from home described sand under their feet and palm trees.
"My kids have described that one time their father picked up a hitchhiker and murdered her," said the woman.
"I'm not sure where but after mutilating the body and making the kids help to put it in plastic bags, including cutting off the little finger of the left hand and mutilating the reproductive organs of this woman, their father took the body in the back of the Mazda station wagon that I owned and took it into the bush and dumped it."
The woman said her husband forced her to take the car to the wreckers soon afterwards, claiming it was full of rust, which she thought was unusual.
The Benetton jumper
A Benetton jumper became a crucial piece of incriminating evidence during Milat's trial, with police alleging the jumper linked Milat to British victim, Caroline Clarke.
Days after police arrested Ivan Milat in 1994, analysts noticed a photograph of Milat's girlfriend Chalinder Hughes, posing innocently by the ocean. In the photographer, Hughes wears a green and white Benetton top identical to one owned by Clarke.
The top has never been found but detectives confirmed the style of garment was not sold in Australia and therefore the only way Ms Hughes could have gotten it was as a gift from Milat.
But Mr Shipsey said this evidence should be discounted.
He posted a side-by-side comparison of the photographs on Facebook to detail his argument.
"The Benetton writing is displayed across the entire jumper of Caroline Clarke, Hughes (sic) jumper Benetton is written in bold small writing under the right breast only," he said.
The post also indicates the two jumpers have different V-necks, sleeve lengths, wrist band widths and ages.
Witness Paul Onions got it wrong
The testimony of British backpacker Paul Onions gave Task Force Air detectives a huge break during investigations and implicated Milat.
However, Mr Shipsey is suspicious Mr Onions' initial description of his attacker did not match Milat.
Onions rang CrimeStoppers from England, after news of the Backpacker Murders became an international news story.
Onions told police on May 5, 1990, he accepted a lift from a man, who introduced himself as Bill, on the Hume Highway.
The man was initially friendly but about an hour into the journey his attitude changed, in a transformation Onion described as a "Jekyll and Hyde" moment.
The man parked the car beside the Belanglo forest on the guise of getting some cassette tapes and then pulled a revolver on Onions, who bolted.
The two men were seen struggling on the highway, as the man chased and tackled Onions.
Onions later picked out a photo of Milat from 13 possible offenders' photographs shown to him by police.
However, the original statement Mr Onions made in which he described the offender was lost.
In that statement, Mr Shipsey claims a different individual was described.
"He said the guy was over 6 foot. And he had booze bottles in his car and nicotine stains on his fingers. Now Ivan didn't drink or smoke," he said.
Framed by the Olympics
Mr Shipsey believes the announcement that Australia had won rights to the 2000 Olympics put incredible pressure on the police to solve the case and led to Milat being framed.
Australia had, in part, won the honour based on the nation's reputation as a safe, friendly nation and the announcement of an unapprehended serial killer attacking tourists put officials under considerable heat to resolve it.
"A political decision was made to frame Ivan Milat," Shipsey wrote on his Facebook page.
"This is why they will not give him a retrial when even the judge said they had no proof Ivan murdered any of the victims, that alone should be enough to give Ivan a retrial."
The vengeful brother
Ivan's brother, Boris Milat, has spoken extensively to the media about his conviction in Ivan's guilt but Mr Shipsey is adamant that Boris' views are influenced by a longstanding grudge against Ivan.
Most recently he appeared alongside Mr Small to speak about revelations Milat had acted alone.
"He was so dirty on Ivan because he found out that the child that he brought up was Ivan's child so he would have said anything on tele to keep Ivan in there and ruin his life cos that was his plan," said Mr Shipsey.
It is understood the child was conceived when Ivan had an affair with Boris' former wife, Marilyn.
There are other points Milat's supporters claim too.
One woman who believed it was Milat who attempted to abduct her on the road to Goulburn prior to the backpacker discoveries had also reportedly come forward and apologised to Milat family members for the trouble caused to them.
This was seized upon by Milat supporters, claiming police were fitting him up.
There were rumours there was also "other" DNA found on the victims which didn't match Milat, but this information has long been discounted.
Psychologists have also highlighted how unusual it was that the one killer used varied killing methods including knives and guns and also full decapitation for one victim.
Questions have also been asked over how one person could have contained two people at a time, since six of the victims were abducted in pairs.