Ivan Milat thought an early-morning telephone call warning him that armed police were about to raid his home was a prank.
In conversations taped by police just minutes before his arrest on May 22, 1994, Ivan Milat told police he thought it “really weird” that they would phone him before approaching the house, and he had thought the call was made by someone from his work.
Siege and counter-terrorist negotiator Detective Sergeant Wayne Gordon said he had called the house at Eagle Vale in Sydney’s south-west just after 6:30am and told Milat police had surrounded the house.
“Mr Ivan Milat, is it?” A male voice answered, “No.”
“Is Ivan Milat there?”
“No, he’s not here at the moment.”
“Is that the premises at 22 Cinnabar Street, Eagle Vale?” Gordon asked.
“I’m a negotiator with the State Protection Group.”
“I want you to come outside for the safety of yourself and whoever’s in the house with you. Now what I want you to do is to come out the front door. I want you to turn left, go through the front gate. I want you to walk with your arms out, exposed from your body …”
“You’ll be met by some State Protection Group police who’ll be dressed in black. They will be armed and I want you then to lie face down on the ground.”
In the tape, Milat can be heard saying, “Righto, I’ll just put my pants on,” but did not emerge from the house. In a call five minutes later, Sergeant Gordon again spoke to Milat who said, “Hang on, hang on, I just assumed you were someone from work ringing up.“
“It is no joke, no prank, I’m from the police,” Sergeant Gordon said, and repeated his directions to leave the house.
“Why didn’t you knock on the bloody door or something like that?” Milat answered.
The negotiator explained to him that it was police procedure to ring the occupants of a house before a search.
Milat then said, “Hey, I’m just lookin’ out the window. I can’t see anybody.” and he asked if he wanted him and his girlfriend to walk out “lookin like an idiot or something“. Gordon, insisting again that it was no joke, told him once more who he was. Milat said : “Well, that doesn’t mean anything to me.“
Gordon repeated once again his instructions and suggested that he leave, and walk out of the front gate. Ivan replied, “We haven’t got a gate. It strikes me as slightly weird, but anyway …I’ll play your little game...”
When Gordon suggested that Ms Hughes could follow him out, Ivan said : “I think we’ll just walk out together. I’m not really keen on this.“
In a third call seven minutes later, Ivan’s girlfriend, Chalinder Hughes, answered and said they were about to leave the house and that Milat was “just trying to find the keys; he’s always losing them in the morning“.
Milat was arrested on the front lawn of the house shortly after.
Sources : The Canberra Times – 10 November 1994 and Highway to Nowhere by Richard Shears.