true crime

Decades before he killed 7 backpackers, teenage Ivan Milat allegedly shot a taxi driver.

Update: Ivan Milat, widely known as one of Australia’s worst serial killers, has died in prison, aged 74. Milat was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer in May 2019, and was briefly treated at Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, before being returned to Long Bay Correctional Centre. He died in the medical wing of the prison on October 27.

Late one evening, a 17-year-old Ivan Milat allegedly hopped into the back of a cab near his home in Moorebank in Sydney’s west.

In the front seat was Neville Knight, a retired Navy morse code expert who’d turned his hand to driving.

Little did he know he had a sadistic teen with a penchant for violence in his rear view mirror.

Suddenly out of nowhere, Milat allegedly fired a shotgun from the backseat.

Here is a glimpse of the Sunday Night special aired in 2015, post continues after video.

Video by Sunday Night

It hit Knight in the spine and he couldn’t feel anything from the legs down.

He’d been paralysed for life.

This scene is the recollection of Boris Milat (now known as Steven Miller) one of the notorious killer’s nine siblings.


He says this was Milat’s first violent crime, a secret he kept for his brother for 52 years.

It was revealed in 2015 in an explosive joint investigation by Sunday Night and The West Australian, two decades after the discovery of Milat’s seven young murder victims in the Belanglo State Forest.

During the interview, Miller describes his younger brother as sneaky and sadistic.

He recalls incidents where he’d watch him attack animals with machetes during their childhood.

The morning after Knight was shot in the summer of 1962, he said Milat described the gun going off with a “hair trigger” and gave descriptions of his screams.

“You’ve ruined me,” he reportedly cried four or five times.

“[Ivan] told me so. He told me the day after it happened,” Miller told Sunday Night. 

Boris Milat
Ivan's brother (formally known as Boris Milat) spoke to Sunday Night and the West Australian in 2015. Image: Seven.

Milat was never charged.

Police had fingered a petty criminal for the crime, and when Alan Dillon realised his younger brother was the man they had in their sights, he confessed to protect him.

The brothers also spoke to Sunday Night, and admitted they'd never discussed the situation again before being approached by the TV team and reporters from West Australian.

Superintendent Clive Small led the investigation into the backpacker murders and now also believes Milat is responsible for the shooting of Knight.

The similarities between the crimes are chilling.

The seven victims of Ivan Milat. Image: Reuters.

“A number of the victims, most of the victims, had multiple stab wounds to the back, around the spinal area, which suggested he was trying to paralyse them while keeping them alive,” Small said on Sunday Night.

After he was left paralysed, Knight actually went back to school and became a computer engineer. He spent years advocating for the rights of people with disabilities before his death in 1988.

As for Milat, he went on to become Australia's most prolific serial killer.

Picking up seven young backpackers and killing them in the bush between 1989 and 1993.

Milat was sentenced to life in prison for those crimes in 1996, and is now dying of terminal cancer.

His death is imminent, and despite pleas for him to confess to multiple other alleged murders and crimes, as well as his alleged attack of Knight, it's unlikely he will.

He is yet to confess to the seven murders he was actually imprisoned for.