Ivan Milat reacts to calls for confession

From the family: "Everybody wants to know whether he had made a deathbed confession so we put it to him," Ivan Milat's brother Bill said.
From the family: "Everybody wants to know whether he had made a deathbed confession so we put it to him," Ivan Milat's brother Bill said.

Convicted serial killer Ivan Milat "categorically denied" being the backpacker murderer as he lay gravely ill in his hospital bed, telling his brother and sister-in-law he didn't need a priest because he had nothing to confess.

Milat is serving life sentences for the murder of seven backpackers whose bodies were found in the Belanglo State Forest, and the attempted murder of English tourist Paul Onions.

He has always maintained his innocence, despite prosecutors and a judge describing the case against him as "overwhelming".

Name: Bill and Carol Milat at their Southern Highlands home. Photo: Sylvia Liber

Name: Bill and Carol Milat at their Southern Highlands home. Photo: Sylvia Liber

He has unsuccessfully appealed his conviction several times, with evidence linking victims' belonging to him described as "so comprehensive, and so overwhelming in its force".

Knowing the world was hoping for a deathbed confession, his family members Bill and Carol Milat asked Ivan, who is known to his family as "Mac", on Saturday morning whether he had anything to say.

"We asked Mac the question, 'are you guilty?' And he categorically denied it," Carol said.

Mac knows why people ask and understands how the victims feel but there's nothing he can do about it - it's not his fault.

Bill Milat, Ivan Milat's brother

"I said 'look, I know you're a Christian, you have Christian faith, and so do I ... did you do it or not? Because if you want to speak to a priest we can arrange it. He said 'No' and he started rattling off the reasons and times and days of why he couldn't have done those things. But nobody wants to hear that.

"I apologised for asking. I said 'everyone wants to know'. I said 'we know you didn't do it'. We've been punished all this time because of our surname.

"He knows, but he said there's nothing he can do about that, because he didn't do any of those things but no one wants to believe him.

"They are happy to wipe their hands of it because he's dying. The murderer is dying so who cares. That's the easy way."

Cancer: Ivan Milat leaving Prince of Wales Hospital for Long Bay jail in May. Picture: Nine News

Cancer: Ivan Milat leaving Prince of Wales Hospital for Long Bay jail in May. Picture: Nine News

Carol said her brother-in-law was in a bad way, unable to walk. "We don't think he's going to make it back to the Bay (Long Bay jail). He has said he's not for resuscitation. Bill and I were watching how he was breathing. It was like he'd run up a dozen stairs - breathing so heavy and very tired."

"He can't get out of bed, he can't stand up. He's hooked up to oxygen and a canular for antibiotics."

MIlat was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal and stomach cancer in May. He has cancer lesions on his liver, lungs, bones and lymph nodes and fluid on his heart.

Relatives: Bill and Carol Milat insist the convicted serial killer is innocent of the backpacker murders.

Relatives: Bill and Carol Milat insist the convicted serial killer is innocent of the backpacker murders.

In recent days, the families of some of his victims have said they hoped for a deathbed confession to bring some form of closure. "Over the week he hasn't got any worse but he hasn't got any better," said Bill of his younger brother who now weighs 57 kilograms but was once an athletic 83 kilograms.

"Everybody wants to know whether he had made a death-bed confession so we put it to him," Bill said. "Everybody kept asking so we put it to him and he categorically denied it and he always denied it."

Bill said his brother had sympathy for the victims' families. "Mac knows why people ask and understands how the victims feel but there's nothing he can do about it - it's not his fault," he said.