Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ivan Milat: The Last Ride

Profile of a Killer

Weeks after the discovery of the two bodies, Detectives Godden and McLennan had amassed an array of physical evidence, but were no closer to gathering any real clues as to the identity of the person responsible. There had been several alleged sightings of the girls prior to the discovery and even a few after the time the girls had died. The trail was already cold when police became involved. Now it was becoming colder.

In attempt to try to shed new light on the investigation, Dr. Rod Milton, a forensic psychiatrist with over twenty years' crime scene experience, was asked to consult on the case. Dr. Milton had previously aided police in the hunt, and subsequent arrest, of John Wayne Glover, the "North Side" serial killer, who had bashed and strangled six elderly women in 1989. The "profile" that Dr. Milton had provided to police was incredibly accurate except for the age. Milton had suggested that the killer would be a teenager, based on historical data which indicated the most serious offences against aged victims were committed by persons under twenty. His analysis, although slightly inaccurate, led to Glover's capture. Glover was fifty-nine years of age at the time of his arrest.

The detectives drove Dr. Milton to Belangalo at his request. As he explained to them, even though he had access to the detailed police reports and photographs, he needed to view the crime scenes for himself so that he could get a feel for the way that the killer had approached his victims. He stepped from the car and walked to the two grave sites in turn. After wandering slowly around the area for some time, he sat quietly in the middle of the scene and thought about why the killer had chosen that particular site. Why did he leave the victims the way he did, what was his motivation?

His first thought was that the killer was familiar with the area.

From experience he knew that killers very rarely operate in unfamiliar surroundings. This wasnt a crime of opportunity but rather a planned murder. Walking between the two graves, he quizzed the police on the details of the investigation. What was found and where? He pondered the variations between the two deaths.

Caroline Clarke was killed in a cold and calculating fashion. The way that the article of clothing had been wrapped around her head indicated that the killer had done so to "depersonalize" her. The angle of the shots suggested that the first bullet may have been fired while she was kneeling. Her clothing was intact, except for her front fastening bra, which was unclipped. The clothing on her lower body was in place at the time of death. This indicated to Milton that her killing was not sexually motivated but more in the style of an execution. The single stab wound to her body, he believed, was inflicted after death as a final example of the killer's control over the victim, or perhaps the work of an accomplice. In fact prior to Dr. Miltons involvement, Police thought the murders to be the work of more than one killer. The manner in which Miss Clarkes body was laid out with the arms above the head also suggested control and planning on the part of the killer, with the victim acting out the role of supplicant after death.

In comparison, Joanne Walters body and burial site indicated rage and uncontrolled frenzy. The disarray of the clothing, Milton thought, indicated more of a sexual attack. The shirt and bra had been pushed up, but the clasp was still fastened. The zipper of the jeans were undone but the top button was done up. No panties were found on the body or in the area. Milton theorized that because the shoes were still on and laced up, the jeans had not been taken completely off. It was more likely that they were dragged down to enable the killer or killers, to commit a sexual act. Before or after death. The underwear may have been cut off and taken as a "trophy."

When asked by police for a possible motive, the basis of most homicide investigations, Milton uttered a single word. "Pleasure." He believed that if there were two killers involved, one would be older and dominant, the other although equally sadistic, would tend to be more submissive. He suggested that they could be brothers, sharing a common interest in guns and hunting and had probably been involved in other sexually related crimes either together or separately.

Later at his Sydney office, Dr. Milton recorded his "profile" in point form.

The main offender he believed would:-

  • Live on the outskirts of a city in a semi-rural area.
  • Be employed in a semi-skilled job probably out of doors.
  • Be involved in an unstable or unsatisfactory relationship
  • Have a history of homosexuality or bi-sexual activity.
  • Have a history of aggression against authority.
  • Be aged in his mid thirties.

At no time did Dr. Milton give any indication that the deaths were the work of a serial killer.

As the end of the year drew closer, the investigation team dwindled in size as the resources were redirected to other crimes. They knew that they would need some startling piece of evidence or a stroke of luck if they were to solve the riddle of the Belangalo killings.

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