Relative of Australian serial killer admits murder

SYDNEY, Oct 24, 2011 (AFP) - A relative of notorious Australian serial killer Ivan Milat, who is in jail for murdering backpackers in the 1990s, on Monday pleaded guilty to the brutal axe slaying of a boy.

The teenaged Milat relative, who cannot be named, was charged over the death of 17-year-old David Auchterlonie, whose bludgeoned and partially buried body was found in the Belanglo State Forest in November 2010.

It is the same forest in the southern highlands of New South Wales state in which Ivan Milat dumped the bodies of seven backpackers during his murder spree.

According to papers filed with Sydney's Campbelltown Children's Court, the teenager told friends he had murdered the boy in a crime which was recorded on a mobile phone.

Australian news agency AAP reported that the day after the killing, he told friends: "I killed somebody last night."

"At one stage, the axe got stuck, so I had to kick the back of his head to get it loose," he said, according to the court papers cited by AAP.

The papers showed that the teenager had said he was going to commit a murder, but his friends presumed he was joking.

Two other teenagers had driven with him and Auchterlonie into the forest that night, with the killer at first swinging his axe into the victim's torso and accusing him of telling people about a theft he had committed.

Auchterlonie was then told to lie face down on the ground as the killer threatened him for 10 minutes, saying: "You move, I chop your head off." The phone then records the sound of an axe hitting the victim.

"The deceased died instantly, and the sound of the air leaving his body is also captured on the recording," the papers said, according to AAP.

The teenaged accused, who appeared via video link in the children's court, will be kept in custody until sentencing on December 2.

Auchterlonie's body was discovered after another teenager reported the death of the boy, who was his friend, to police a day after the killing.

That teenager was initially charged with being an accessory after the murder but this was later withdrawn.

Ivan Milat was sentenced to life in jail in 1996 over the backpacker murders after sensational evidence from Paul Onions, a British hitchhiker who escaped death in 1990 by jumping out of Milat's vehicle when he pulled a gun on him.

Onions reported the incident to police at the time but years later when he saw news reports of bodies found in Belanglo he contacted the Australian High Commission in London, eventually providing crucial evidence to the trial.

Other news