`Scum' charge levelled at Sydney murder suspect

There was a tense moment in Australia's backpacker murder trial yesterday when a friend of two British women described the man accused of killing them and five other hitch-hikers as "scum".

Pauline Vuletich had just given evidence in the New South Wales Supreme Court about her friendship with Joanne Walters and Caroline Clarke, both 22, whose bodies were found in the Belanglo State Forest south of Sydney in September 1992, five months after they disappeared. Ms Walters had suffered multiple stab wounds and Ms Clarke had been shot 10 times in the head.

Ivan Milat, a 51-year-old road worker, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering the Britons, three Germans and two Australians. He has also denied a charge of kidnapping Paul Onions, another British tourist, who identified Mr Milat in court three weeks ago as the man who abducted him and threatened him with a revolver on the road near the forest in January 1990.

As Mrs Vuletich left the witness box she walked past Mr Milat in the dock. She turnedtowards him and said "scum". He did not respond.

Mrs Vuletich told the jury of eight men and four women how she had met Ms Walters while travelling in Greece in 1990, before Mrs Vuletich married. They became friends and travelled to Australia together the following year. On the night of Good Friday 1992, Mrs Vuletich visited Ms Walters at her Sydney flat where Ms Walters and Ms Clarke told her of their plans to hitch-hike to Western Australia in search fruit-picking jobs.

"It was the last time I saw Joanne," Mrs Vuletich said. The two women disappeared after setting out from Sydney together the next day.

Earlier, Gillian Walters, Joanne's mother, was overcome with emotion and unable to give evidence. Choking back sobs as she entered the witness stand, Mrs Walters nodded as Mr Justice David Hunt, the trial judge, asked her if she would prefer to be excused.

Ray Walters, Joanne's father, said their daughter had left their home in south Wales for a travelling holiday with Mrs Vuletich (then Reid) in Australia in May 1991. "She rang us every two weeks from Australia," he said. "She wouldn't go anywhere or change addresses without letting us know." The telephone calls stopped on the Wednesday before Easter 1992.

Caroline Clarke's parents, Ian and Jacqueline Clarke, of Hexham, Northumberland also gave evidence yesterday about their last contact with their daughter.

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
(L-R) Amanda Peet as Tina Morris, Melanie Lynskey as Michelle Pierson, Abby Ryder Fortson as Sophie Pierson, Mark Duplass as Brett Pierson and Steve Zissis as Alex Pappas in Togetherness
TV First US networks like HBO shook up drama - now it's comedy's turn
News
i100
Travel
Pool with a view: the mMarina Bay Sands in Singapore
travel From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect