Strands of hair reveal tragic final moments of Ivan Milat victim

More than 20 years after Australia’s most infamous serial killer was jailed for life, one last secret of Ivan Milat’s gruesome crimes has been picked apart.

Forensic evidence has now confirmed that Milat acted alone during his backpacker killing spree, despite long-running theories about an accomplice.

Hair strands found clenched in the right-hand grip of 22-year-old Joanne Walters have helped to answer the question: did Milat act alone?

There has long been a question over whether serial killer Ivan Milat, pictured, acted alone. Source: 7 News
New forensic evidence has shed light on victim Joanne Walters’ final moments. Source: 7 News

It was originally thought that the hair belonged to an unknown male person, fuelling speculation that Milat had an accomplice.

The hairs have been re-examined, however, and have subsequently been identified as belonging to the victim.

Rather than implicating someone else, the find not only endorses the belief Milat acted alone – it also paints a tragic picture of Joanne’s last moments alive.

Former NSW Assistant Commissioner Clive Small said Walters was most likely shielding her face when she was attacked by Milat. Source: 7 News

“It appeared from the position of the hairs that she’d gone like that [protecting her face] when she’d been attacked,” former NSW Assistant Commissioner Clive Small said.

Mr Small headed up Task Force Air, the operation charged with bringing Milat to justice.

“It’s another piece that’s out of the way and I think it’s quite positive that it’s come out; it’s a good opportunity to explain it,” he said.

Milat was jailed in 1996 for his backpacker killing spree. Source: 7 News

Homicide detectives have confirmed to Seven News that there are no outstanding elements to the investigation on the question of an accomplice, confident that Milat acted alone.

Milat was jailed in 1996 after the bodies of seven young people, aged between 19 and 22, were found partly buried in the Belanglo State Forest between 1989 and 1993.