Walking into the home of Ivan Milat has been described as coming across an “Aladdin’s cave of evidence”.
Detective Clive Small won’t ever forget the day he led teams of police onto Milat’s property in the early hours of May 22, 1994.
In his book Milat: Inside Australia’s biggest manhunt, he recalls the bulletproof vests under the uniforms of police dressed in black, as they circled the home of the man they believed to be responsible for the murder of seven people found buried in Belanglo State Forest.
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The lead negotiator with the State Protection Group, Detective Sergeant Wayne Gordon, phoned Milat, who believed the police raid was a prank pulled by a friend.
Gordon calmly explained it wasn’t.
Eventually Milat surrendered and was handcuffed, before being formally charged for the murder of Caroline Clarke, Joanne Walters, Simone Schmidl, Anja Habschied, Gabor Neugebauer, James Gibson and Deborah Everist.
While he was being questioned, investigators found “suspicious or incriminating material” in just about every room in his house.
There were guns and bullets that matched those used on the people found dead in Belanglo. There were postcards addressed to ‘Bill’ – a fake name Milat used on hitchhikers like Paul Onions who narrowly escaped in 1990.