Newcastle Herald
Tuesday, 5 December 2023

Milat letter torments bereft families

By Dan Proudman
Updated October 31 2012 - 1:28pm, first published April 20 2009 - 12:11pm

IVAN Milat two words enough to produce tears and evoke intense anger from the families of Amanda Robinson and Leanne Goodall.Ever since he was linked to the disappearances of the missing girls during Strike Force Fenwick, the backpacker killer has been the centre of a range of emotions for the families."I just don't want it to be him," Amanda's mother Anne Robinson said."I just couldn't handle it."Milat was named as one of six persons of interest by State Coroner John Abernethy after he ruled Leanne, Amanda, and Robyn Hickie were murdered by persons unknown during the high-profile 2001 inquest at Toronto.In bringing down his findings, Mr Abernethy said Milat was of major interest to the investigation and had "definite links to the Hunter Region" in the late 1970s while employed as a road worker.He had stayed in a range of places across the Eastlakes area as well as The Star Hotel, where Leanne Goodall was reported to have been last seen on December 30, 1978.During the inquest, Milat was called to give evidence and played the game long enough to deny any knowledge of the missing girls before deciding not to answer any further questions.He incensed many observers, not to mention the families, when while giving evidence he leaned forward, stared at the families and said: "I was mystified when I read about one person who went missing in December and they didn't report her missing till February."I could ask how could they let a 14-year-old run around to midnight?"It was a nasty comment repeated in a letter he later wrote to the families in 2001 via the Newcastle Legal Centre after he agreed to reply to written questions.In the letter, the contents of which have never been made public until today, Milat tells the family that "even [if] I was given seven life pardons plus a million or seven million dollars . . . I still would not have been able to assist you"."So I feel I have done all I can to assist you "the prosecution of Ivan Milat", perhaps you should tell the families that due to their failures in taking more care prior to when their children went and more importantly the past then [sic] that the police played in looking after their reports of the disappearances, how they responded to it and the inadequate investigations by 'operation f - - -wits' it is doubtful it anything will ever be known," Milat wrote."Frankly I don't care what you tell, your miserable attempts to frame me may satisfy them, I do feel sorry for them."So good luck, I really hope you can find out whoever really did it, and hope you then give me an apology."The Leens believe Milat is the chief suspect in Leanne's case.

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