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In the Badlands: Murder Mysteries

3 minutes to read

Content Warning: Some of the crimes discussed in this article are violent, cruel and graphic in nature. The previous article in this series is just as bad –  read it here

Australia is great for mysteries. There always seems to be something worth unearthing. Did Milat act alone? Did a dingo really take her baby? What’s in a servo meat pie?

But everybody knows the high-profile cases. Australia’s dark zaniness goes back to colonial times and permeates almost every locale in the country; from Melbourne’s sprawling suburbs to windswept Wanda Beach and upmarket Perth neighbourhoods. Here are a couple of cruel, creepy and downright odd happenings from our short, checkered history.

Mr Cruel

He wore a mask, left no forensic traces, and was softly spoken. Mr Cruel was responsible for at least three sexual assaults on young victims, and was suspected of the bloody murder of another. Victorian police described him as ‘super cool & super cruel’. To the media, and the terrified residents of Melbourne, he was just ‘Mr Cruel’.

A very helpful police sketch of the suspect. Source

What set Mr Cruel aside from other criminals of his ilk was his calculating modus operandi – it’s speculated that the man placed his victims under surveillance prior to carrying out an assault, sometimes even cutting telephone lines – as well as the fact that he’s never been caught. Here are some details that may be key to identifying Cruel:

1. Mr Cruel may have been a school teacher, or trained in security & forensics. He committed his crimes during the school holidays, and was adept at erasing forensic evidence.

2. He may have lived in or owned a house below one of the flight paths of Melbourne Airport, with one victim reporting she heard the sound of planes overhead. 

Mr Cruel was not known for killing his victims, but it is suspected that he may have been behind the murder of 13 year old Karmein Chan, who he abducted in 1991, because she saw his face. Chan was found with multiple gunshot wounds a year after her disappearance. Cruel had previously told a victim “My freedom is more important than your life.”

There is a one million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of Mr Cruel.