A youthful Ivan Milat.
A youthful Ivan Milat.

Ivan Milat’s cause of death revealed by NSW Coroner

The NSW State Coroner has confirmed Australia's worst serial killer, Ivan Milat, died of throat and stomach cancer in 2019.

The inquiry released its findings on Tuesday, where it was found the cause of Milat's death was metastatic gastro-oesophageal adenocarcinoma and he died from natural causes in Long Bay Jail's hospital wing on October 27, 2019.

He had been serving seven life sentences in Goulburn Jail's Supermax before being transferred to the high-security section of Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital in May for further treatment after being diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.


Convicted murderer Ivan Milat (R) leaves an appeal court in a police car Nov 04, 1997, in /Sydney
Convicted murderer Ivan Milat (R) leaves an appeal court in a police car Nov 04, 1997, in /Sydney "Backpacker Murders" (AP Photo/Rick/Rycroft) Crime murder NSW headshot laughing


The inquest found the cancer had also spread to the stomach.

The 74-year-old was convicted of murdering seven backpackers and hitchhikers in 1996.

However, it has been suggested he was responsible for the deaths of at least six more people whose disappeared and possibly dozens more in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.

These claims were never confirmed by Milat before his death.

The Coroner, who is responsible for holding an inquiry when there is a death in custody, found nursing staff had been performing hourly observations.

The staff had observed him sleeping at their 3am check but when they checked again an hour later Milat was seen to not be breathing.


A youthful Ivan Milat.
A youthful Ivan Milat.


Justice Health nursing staff performed investigations using an oxygen saturation machine which recorded no heartbeat or oxygen level, the findings read.

The report found Milat, who had a standing not for resuscitation order, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was not commenced and he was subsequently pronounced life extinct at 4:07am.

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The Coroner also found the care Milat received in custody was "an adequate and appropriate level of medical care" and there was no evidence it contributed to his death.