Australia: Serial killer's relative convicted

AP News
Posted: Oct 24, 2011 2:19 AM
Australia: Serial killer's relative convicted

A teenage relative of a notorious Australian serial killer was convicted of murder Monday after officials say he used an ax to slay a friend and left the body in the same forest where his infamous relative killed seven backpackers.

The teenager, whose name cannot be released because he was a minor at the time of the crime, pleaded guilty in western Sydney's Campbelltown Children's Court to killing 17-year-old David Auchterlonie. Auchterlonie's battered body was found last year in the remote Belanglo State Forest southwest of Sydney.

The teen convicted in the slaying is a relative of Ivan Milat, who is serving a life sentence for killing seven young backpackers between 1989 and 1992. Milat buried his victims in shallow graves in the Belanglo forest.

According to court documents, the teen bragged to his friends a day after killing Auchterlonie: "I killed somebody last night."

In court papers, officials said the teen, Auchterlonie and two friends drove into the forest on the night of Nov. 20, 2010. The killing and the dialogue that preceded it was captured in a mobile phone video taken by one member of the group.

The video shows Auchterlonie rolling a marijuana cigarette in the front seat when the teen, who was standing by the trunk of the car, called out to him. Auchterlonie got out of the car to join him. The teen then swung an ax into Auchterlonie's torso, accusing him of telling people the teen had stolen money from his own mother, according to court papers.

Auchterlonie tried to run away, but the teen chased him down and forced him to lie on the ground. The teen continued to accuse Auchterlonie of spreading rumors, and then struck him on the back of the head with the ax. The sound of the ax striking the victim and the victim's last breath can be heard in the video recording, according to the court papers.

The teen and one of his friends then covered Auchterlonie's body with branches before all three left the forest in the car.

Auchterlonie's father, whose name is also David Auchterlonie, said his son was "a character" who was always getting into trouble.

"Just a general teenager doing what silly kids do," the elder David Auchterlonie told reporters outside court. "It's been nearly a year since his death. I'm sure he would've grown out of his ways and maybe these kids as well."

Auchterlonie's killer will be sentenced on Dec. 2. He faces up to life in prison.