On January 9, 1991, Ivan Milat showed up on his old flame and former sister-in-law’s doorstep, Maureen Murray, after having lost contact for 10 years :
He came in, and she made him coffee. She hadn’t forgotten that he had it in a white mug, black, no sugar, but she made the mistake of using a plunger. “Can I have a real cup of coffee,” he complained. He wanted instant because it came out hotter. They chatted about old times and about the family. (…) He told her he had gone the heavy on this bloke who got one of his nieces pregnant. “I think he’s going to behave himself now,” he said. “He’ll do the right thing by her.”
She asked about his divorce with Karen. “I was at work and came home and she was gone with everything…” He thought about Jason (Karen’s son) a lot, he said. “I hope he can find me…I’d like to see him. I’m the only father he’ll know…You think he’ll ever contact me?”
“Yeah, well they get curious, just like what my kids have been through. If you haven’t really offended or hurt the mother, of course he’ll want to find you one day. I always told my kids, “You’re not going to find your father until you’re eighteen. I went through too much to get your custody. I’ve brought you up. He hasn’t helped me at all. When you’re eighteen, you’re an adult, you go off on your own terms.””
Then Ivan told her about Karen. “I tracked her down to her parents’ house and set fire to the garage. I went to another street and saw the fire engines and all of the commotion.” He sounded amused, and it was hard to tell if he was being serious, but she thought he was. It was night, he said, and he poured petrol all over her parents’ car.
“You’re an idiot,” she told him. “Jason won’t want to see you now. He won’t respect you, because you’ve done this to his grandparents, more than his mother. He’ll hate you for that.” Ivan sat there without comment, but she could tell he didn’t like being told basic truths. She told him how her own daughter Susan had become more curious about Wally because she was too young to be affected by all the troubles like Robert had been. Robert didn’t want to know about Wally.
They talked for about three hours. He and Maureen always had an affinity. He told her he was in the fourth week of a six-week holiday, on his way to visit Mick and his wife Sherie, up at Nanango, 200 kilometres norht-west of Brisbane. “And I’m going to see a lady friend on the way.”
Maureen had some fun with this. “Who is it?” she hassled him. “Come on. You can tell me. Who?”
He reluctantly confessed. “It’s Marilyn. She’s at Austral Eden.” Maureen knew all about Ivan and Marilyn (1), but was surprised to find Marilyn was living in the tiny village only a half hour’s drive away.
Maureen walked him out to his car about five o’clock and her strong sense of family history demanded she should get a picture of the occasion. Not that the kids seemed to care that they didn’t have any pictures of that side of the family. Susan had already come in, paid Uncle Ivan no attention and left. Robert didn’t want to be in the picture, so he took the shot of Ivan and Maureen in a light embrace in front of Ivan’s Nissan Patrol.
“That’s a nice car,” she commented.
“Yeah, it’s okay.” She wrote the date, 9 January 1991, in her diary and sent a copy of the picture to Ivan.
Source: Sins of the Brother by Mark Whittaker and Les Kennedy.
1 – Marilyn Milat had an 11 year affair with Ivan while she was in a relationship and then married to Ivan’s brother, Boris. They had a child, Lynise, born in 1965 who raised by Boris. Marilyn thought Ivan was the love of her life.