The end is near for killer Ivan Milat
HOSPITALISED backpacker killer Ivan Milat has been diagnosed with cancer and is unlikely to return to Supermax.
His weight has plummet to 66kg and he has told his family he is struggling to keep food down.
The once-powerful former road worker, who was convicted of murdering seven backpackers in the Belanglo State Forest, is now looking frail, his nephew Alistair Shipsey said on Wednesday. He has also been showing symptoms of dementia for more than a year.
Milat, 74, was this week transferred from Goulburn Supermax to the high-security section of Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital where he is undergoing a battery of tests and will probably need an operation, Mr Shipsey said.
He said the family was shocked at reports Milat was in the advanced stages of cancer but said he was not surprised after his weight had dropped more than 20kg from 88kg in just two months.
Mr Shipsey said he had a letter from his uncle Ivan from Goulburn's Supermax a week ago saying he had a stomach problem. Mr Shipsey's mother Diane is one of Milat's sisters.
"I spoke to her tonight and she didn't know he had cancer. He hasn't told anyone," Mr Shipsey said.
"Ivan was saying he's got a problem with his stomach and he can't keep the food down.
"He's had a lot of specialists in to prison to see him.
"They don't know what it is. Nothing has worked."
He has not even been able to keep protein drinks down, Mr Shipsey said.
"He's very frail at the moment but he's in good spirits. He's OK," he said.
"If he does have terminal cancer it is going to be a shock. We all like Ivan."
Milat was sentenced to life in jail in 1996 for the murders of the seven backpackers between 1989 and 1993 who were shot, stabbed and one was beheaded. Inquests have subsequently linked Milat to the disappearance of a number of young people while he was working on road gangs in their area.
Even in hospital, Milat is either handcuffed or cuffed by his ankles as is the usual procedure for high-risk inmates during medical treatment.
But Mr Shipsey, who believes his uncle Ivan is innocent, said he was no threat to anybody, even while outside Supermax.
"He's harmless," he said. "People think he's onto a good thing because he's in hospital but he's not.
"He doesn't see anybody. Some people are saying they hope he dies so we can save the taxpayer money and other people are saying I hope he lives so he can clear his name.
"I don't want him to die."
In 2011, Milat lost 25kg on a hunger strike in an attempt to get a PlayStation in his cell.
In 2001, he swallowed paper staples and a small metal chain from a pair of nail clippers and in 2009 was taken to Goulburn Hospital after cutting off a finger with a plastic knife with the intention of mailing it to the High Court.
It is understood only one of his brothers, Wally Milat, has been permitted to visit him.