On January 25, 1990, Paul Onions was looking for work in New South Wales when he was picked up by a road worker called ‘Bill’.
It was a decision that almost cost the British backpacker his life.
At first, ‘Bill’ came across as a typical friendly, charming Australian. The 45-year-old man had offered Paul a lift to go fruit picking.
But before long, Paul noticed that something was very, very wrong.
Watch the official trailer for miniseries Catching Milat, which is coming to Stan this April. Post continues below…
After suddenly becoming aggressive and threatening, it soon became obvious that ‘Bill’ was not who he claimed to be.
The man who picked up Paul was Ivan Milat – the man who would become one of Australia’s most notorious serial killers.
After Milat stopped his vehicle to pull out a length of rope and a gun, Paul miraculously escaped, running along the Hume Highway as Milat fired at him until he was able to escape into the car of a passing motorist.
Speaking to the media two decades after the harrowing attack, Paul shared how he narrowly escaped Milat.
“I can remember the silver bullets shining in the chamber, but then I saw the rope and that scared me more,” he said.
“I just thought, ‘This is it… run or die’, so I undid my seatbelt and jumped straight out of the vehicle and ran.”
Following the attack, Paul reported Milat’s appearance and a description of the car he was driving to the Bowral police station. No charges were laid and Paul was given $10 to get to Sydney’s British High Commission.
Several years later, back in Britain, Paul read reports that the remains of several backpackers had been found in the Belanglo State Forest, triggering him to contact NSW Police once again.