true crime

The seven names, faces, and stories we need to remember when we talk about Ivan Milat.

This post deals with murder and torture and might be triggering for some readers.

Ivan Milat was evil until his dying day.

“People die, they should just get over it,” The Australian reports he told a detective who tried to get him to confess in his final hours on this earth.

Then he died, at 4:07am Sunday in Long Bay jail, maintaining his innocence over the brutal murders of seven young backpackers found in the Belanglo State Forest between 1989 and 1993.

Sunday Night’s report on Ivan Milat. Post continues after video.

Video by Nine

It’s believed he was responsible for many more. At least 14 other murders over the years have borne similar gruesome and macabre similarities to Milat’s killings.

Milat was convicted over the deaths of Caroline Clarke, 21, Joanne Walters, 22, James Gibson, 19, Deborah Everist, 19, Simone Schmidl, 21, Gabor Neugebauer, 21, and Anja Habschield, 20.

He wasn’t arrested until May 1994, and despite the victim’s possessions being found in his home and various other evidence linking him to their crimes, he has never shown remorse for his actions.

He spent 25 years in prison until his death this weekend.

Here are the faces we need to remember when we talk about Ivan Milat:

James Gibson and Deborah Everist

James and Deborah went missing in Decemeber 1989. Image: AAP.

19-year-old James Gibson was described by family and friends as friendly, free-spirited and nomadic. He loved art and the environment, and often volunteered in the country fire service and anti-logging protests.

He wanted to have one more adventure before returning to study, and deferred the sculpture course he'd enrolled in at Frankston Tafe, inviting his girlfriend to join him on his travels.

Deborah Everist was also 19, and was described by friends as vivacious, funny and bubbly. She was studying psychology while working at the Quadriplegic Society part time, but had dreams to one day become a journalist. She also deferred university to look after her ailing father, so had some free time up her sleeve to join James.

On a Saturday morning in December 1989, the couple decided to hitchhike north to Sydney and meet some friends before heading to a bush camping festival near Albury.

They made it to Surry Hills, Sydney, with no issues, but arrived to find their friends had already headed to the festival. They stayed the night and checked in with their parents before setting off down the Hume Highway again the next morning.

Two weeks later, their frantic parents reported their children missing.

Four years later, the young couple's bodies were found 25 metres apart in the Belanglo State Forest. Both had suffered multiple stab wounds and had paralysing spinal wounds.

Simone Schmidl

Simone Schmidl. Image: APP.

German born Simone Schmidl was known to friends as "Simi" and loved travelling.

When she was 21, she travelled to Australia after working hard as a bookkeeper to save enough money.

She left Guildford in Sydney's west on January 20, 1991, with the plan to catch a bus to Liverpool and hitchhike along the Hume Highway to Melbourne.

By this point, she'd already hitchhiked along the familiar Hume Highway numerous times with fellow backpacker friends after travelling large chunks of the country with companions she'd met along the way.

This was the first time she'd done it alone.

Her body was found two years later in the Belanglo State Forest, she was gagged and had an elastic band around her skull. She died from multiple stab wounds.

Anja Habschied and Gabor Neugebauer

Anja Habschied and Gabor Neugebauer. Image: AAP.

German couple Anja Habschied, 20, and Gabor Neugebauer, 21, were easy going travellers, who neither drank nor smoked. They'd already travelled Europe together before they ventured over to Indonesia.

Gabor was quiet and shy, but was a confident backpacker. After serving 15 months compulsory service in the German military, he applied to study geology, but when he didn't get entry he settled for philosophy instead. He told his parents he'd transfer to something else once he'd done some more travelling.

His girlfriend Anja loved the environment and was also eager to travel before continuing her studies. She'd just completed a drafting course when they made their way to Indonesia. However, the couple were forced to make a spur of the moment decision to change their travel plans to Australia when the weather took a turn for the worst.

They landed in Darwin in December 1991 and made their way to Bondi Beach for Christmas Day.


They left their hostel in Kings Cross on Boxing Day planning to head down to Adelaide and back towards Darwin. They weren't enjoying Australia and were keen to fly out after that.

Their bodies were found two years later in the Belanglo State Forest. Anja had been decapitated and Gabor gagged and shot in the head multiple times.

Caroline Clarke and Joanne Walters

Caroline Clarke and Joanne Walters. Image: AAP.

Caroline, 21, and Joanne, 22, were both British travellers who met up in Australia and became firm friends, deciding to team up as they travelled around the south of the country.

Joanne had always dreamed of visiting Australia, imagining it to be a lot more exotic than her native Cardiff in Wales. She was warm and dedicated to her studies and worked as a nanny for a while in Sydney when she first arrived in the country.

Caroline, who was from Surrey, England, was well-educated, sporty and determined. She had applied for a job as a police officer aged 20, but was advised to go and get more life experience before starting in the force.

In February 1992, the women left a backpackers hotel in Sydney and hitchhiked their way to Mildura, where they took up some fruit picking work. They then headed to Tasmania and travelled around with a third friend they met along the way.

In April, the two girls once again found themselves hitchhiking together on the Hume Highway.

In September, their bodies were found in the Belanglo State Forest.

Joanne was stabbed 14 times, some of the wounds had paralysed her spine before her death. Caroline was shot 10 times, and was also paralysed with a stab to the spine.