Ivan Milat was an Australian serial killer who was convicted of the backpacker murders in 1996. He was born in December 1944 and passed away last month on October 27th, 2019. Milat was convicted of 7 counts of murder, 1 count of attempted murder, 1 count of false imprisonment and 1 count of robbery. This resulted in 7 life sentences without parole for the murders, along with 18 years’ imprisonment for his other convictions. However, Milat has been connected to other possible murders but failed to provide any information before his death.

The Backpacker murders were a spate of 7 serial killings that took place in New South Wales, Australia from 1989 to 1993. Police have maintained that Milat could have been involved in more attacks or murders than the seven for which he was convicted, but he never confessed to any killings for which he was not convicted.

The details of Milat’s crimes are horrific, compounded by the unsuspecting victims. He had no remorse and continued with his vulgar actions over an extended time. So what can we learn from the case of Ivan Milat?

The reasons why Ivan Milat committed his crimes have often been questioned. However, financial gain is arguably a significant factor. Whether a criminal marketplace for these crimes was created or not, we must acknowledge the need to fund investigations into financial agreements relating to murders. Large sums of money can cause individuals to act irrationally and neglect morals. Our enforcement services must continue to investigate into these marketplaces as a way to stop the financial incentive, which can breed these crimes.

Milat’s lack of empathy has also been considered a critical aspect of his criminal behaviour. Improving empathy within society should be a priority from early education to the workplace. It is essential to building good relationships and limits the capacity for isolation which can lead to criminal activity as portrayed by Ivan Milat. Building empathy can take many forms. Whether it be challenging yourself to learn a new skill, receiving feedback from others or trying to walk in others’ shoes, these activities all assist in growing empathy.

Destroying criminal marketplaces and growing community empathy are two ways that we can learn from the horror of Ivan Milat. However, nothing can replace the loss of seven and possibly more lives at the hands of one man.

Milat’s crimes are inexcusable, and we must all work to ensure that no individual is ever capable of committing such vulgar crimes again.


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