How Channel 9’s Under Investigation episode on Mr Cruel plagiarised from Melbourne Marvels

How the Nine Network’s Under Investigation program on Mr Cruel presented material that was copied from the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map and falsely claimed that it was the work of ESRI Australia’s mapping tool.

In early March 2022 the Nine Network aired a special on the Mr Cruel case for the Under Investigation Australia program.  The program made the claim that by using new  “GIS mapping technology” they were able to establish a previously unknown theory about the Mr Cruel case – that there was a strong correlation between electricity substations and most of the known crime scenes in the Mr Cruel case.  This “new” theory they claimed was a significant lead that would be a breakthrough in the case.  Only, this “breakthrough” was not a new lead in the case at all.  It had been extensively written about by a number of people previously – most notably the researcher who goes by the pseudonym Clinton Bailey in his Mr Cruel manuscript as early as 2014 – a manuscript that the Nine Network had full access to before the creation of their UIA episode.  Furthermore, a number of anonymous commenters on the Reddit forum r/MrCruel had brought the theory up in discussion as early as 2019.  

However, perhaps the most blatant point of plagiarism was that the program had relied almost completely on the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map which had mapped all of the electricity terminal and substations outlined in the program in a Google Map MM had created in January 2020.  

This blog post will show how the Nine Network knowingly ascribed the mapping of the electricity substation sites to mapmaking company ESRI, claiming that it was a new technology. However, it was not ESRI and their fancy GIS technology that mapped these sites out.  Rather it was an “armchair detective” at Melbourne Marvels using nothing more than a laptop with access to online copies of the Melway street directory who discovered them.  

What is the Electrical Connections theory?

Melbourne Marvels was not the originator of this theory – that is, that the unknown offender who committed the Mr Cruel crimes may have been involved in a work capacity with electricity or may have worked for the SECV.  In fact, the first time the author of the Melbourne Marvels website was exposed to the theory was in early 2019 when reading a post by the Reddit user Cam41eron.  In the post titled “electrical substation locations in Melbourne” the user pointed out a number of key points.

  1. Both Karmein Chan and Nicola Lynas were dumped right next to electrical substations (Kew substation in the case of Nicola Lynas and Thomastown Terminal Station in the case of Karmein Chan whose body was found in a landfill site one year after her disappearance).  
  2. Three of the victims, Sharon Wills, Nicola Lynas and Karmein Chan, lived “within 6 minutes” of an electrical substation.  
  3. The author speculated as to whether an electricity substation could have been used as the site of the detention premises of the offender where the offender took his two abduction victims, Sharon Wills and Nicola Lynas.

In reply to this post, user “dulcineadoll” left a comment which pointed out that the Wills family home was located right next to a large pylon carrying overhead transmission lines, which seemed to add evidence to the theory that perhaps the offender was a linesman who had worked in the area.  

Fascinated by the Mr Cruel case, I began in 2019 to research it by visiting the State Library of Victoria and by trawling through old copies of newspapers on the case.  However, this only served to highlight to the author a number of major contradictions in the case that didn’t add up.  I then made it my mission to begin writing blog posts which found all of the original sources on the case in order to try to make some sense of all of the confusion.  

As part of this process, in January 2020, I created a Google Map which was to map all of the sites in some way connected with the Mr Cruel case and uploaded it to the Melbourne Marvels blog.  Among other things the map included the crime scenes where the attacks had occurred, highlighted the geographic location of where the crimes had occurred, highlighted the flight path corridors of Tullamarine Airport and started mapping the locations of electrical terminal stations, substations and transmission lines.  In addition, the approximate locations of where the seven main suspects lived (according to a 2016 Herald Sun article by Keith Moor) were also included.  Other sites of interest were also included, including the approximate location of a series of attacks that had occurred in the 1980s. Police were unsure as to whether it was the same offender who had committed these attacks.  The map also included the approximate locations of the attacks committed by suspect Brian Elkner between 1972 and 1974 and the approximate location of this individual’s houses in both Hampton (from 1972-1974) and Thornbury (from 1985 onwards).  The Map was, and still is, the most comprehensive map on the Mr Cruel case and has been updated with new information as it has come to hand.  This Google Map was published on the Melbourne Marvels website on 26 January 2020 at the bottom of the post about the Lower Plenty Attack.

From 26 January 2020 Melbourne Marvels also started producing a series of blog posts and podcasts about the Mr Cruel case.  This continues to the present day.  One of the main goals with this work is to attempt to clarify some of the seeming contradictions associated with this case and to correct quite a lot of misinformation associated with it.  To this end, Melbourne Marvels has had great success in a number of areas.  An example of this is the fact that it was Melbourne Marvels that was able to correct the record in the case of the 1987 Moonee Ponds attack of a 48 year old woman.  A 2019 book by author Xanthe Mallet titled had wrongly attributed this attack as being the work of Mr Cruel.  By trawling through old copies of newspapers, Melbourne Marvels was able to confirm that, in fact, serial rapist Christopher Clarence Hall had been convicted of this attack in 1994, and that Mr Cruel had been ruled out of committing the crime.

Then, in February 2021 Melbourne Marvels was contacted by researcher Clinton Bailey, another “armchair detective” researcher on the case.  Clinton Bailey is actually a pseudonym for a man who has written a manuscript about the Mr Cruel case.  In the manuscript Bailey writes about a number of possible investigative avenues for police to pursue.  Bailey provided Melbourne Marvels with a copy of this manuscript. 

In one chapter of this document Clinton Bailey put forward the case “for the offender known as Mr Cruel being involved in the electrical trade, possibly as a linesman, based on geographical evidence”.  The chapter was a highly detailed work on this theory, and included an explanation of how electricity is transferred from the high voltage transmission lines to the lower voltage suburban lines through terminal and substations.  The chapter also included some crude maps detailing how different terminal and substations were connected through transmission lines.  Included in the map were the following Terminal stations: Thomastown, Templestowe, Ringwood, Clifton Hill and Richmond.  The substations that were included were Lower Plenty (SEC site), Kew, Deepdene and Bayswater.   

I was fascinated with the document and this initiated much back and forth email and telephone discussion about the case with Clinton Bailey.  In these discussions, it became apparent that Bailey did not have access to many copies of the Melway. I soon realised that I could greatly help with this research by trawling through old copies of the Melway street directory online and marking the locations of electrical infrastructure on the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map.  

I began this work in February 2021 and this same month I mapped the locations of several other sites that I felt may be significant to the case, including the Keilor Terminal Stations, the Electrical Zone Substation in Coolaroo, the Watsonia Electrical Substation, the Burwood substation and the Box Hill Electricity Service Centre (both located across the road from Presbyterian Ladies’ College where two of the victims went to school), the East Camberwell Substation (a railway substation), and the Heatherton Substation.  In addition the author mapped much of the transmission line network throughout the eastern and south eastern suburbs of Melbourne.  All this electricity infrastructure was marked on the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map in February and March 2021.  Melbourne Marvels also released a Youtube video showing how to use this map in March 2021, where all of the aforementioned electrical substations are clearly marked.  It was necessary to use old copies of the Melway street directory for this work as Google Maps usually does not have this type of infrastructure marked, and if it is marked, it does not necessarily mean that it was in the same location 30 years previously. 

In addition to this work, Melbourne Marvels began publishing chapters from Clinton Bailey’s manuscript from March 2021, including the chapter titled  “The offender and electrical connections” on 31 March 2021. 

In April 2021.  Mike King released a podcast about the Mr Cruel case for his podcast titled Mapping Evil.  Included with the podcast was a website posting on the Esri Australia website which gave information about the case and included a “story map” of it as well.  The information described in this post was largely a rehash of what journalist Keith Moor had written about the case in a series of newspaper articles for the Herald Sun in 2016.  It also included a number of mistakes about the case that are often repeated by the media, such as saying that the offender wore the same black ski mask for each of the attacks (in fact, he always wore a different balaclava), and saying that all four attacks had occurred during school holidays (Clinton Bailey had established years previously that only two of the four attacks had occurred on school holidays).  Furthermore, the mapsidentified the wrong location for where Karmein Chan’s house was, putting it 2km east of where the real location was.    

The Esri Australia article on the case included an analysis of the geography of the 4 sites where the 4 victims had been attacked. It used the Story Maps software tool for this analysis.  There were closeups of the four sites which mapped a number of sites because “examining potential initial contact sites in close proximity to each abduction – such as schools, local transport stops, shopping centres, parks and playgrounds – can help authorities identify where the victim and predator came into contact, and narrow the field of suspects by uncovering important links.”  Except, this analysis did not include as part of its analysis any electricity related infrastructure, such as electricity substations, terminal stations or transmission lines.  In fact, the analysis seemed to rely on data that had been gleaned from a modern map, so was 30 years out of date. It also failed to make note of other sites of interest such as the tennis court in Lower Plenty, or the Chan restaurants located in Eltham and Bulleen.  I was thus unimpressed with the work. 

In September 2021 Melbourne Marvels was contacted by email by a researcher named Danielle Collis who works for the Nine Network and was ultimately the producer of the March 2022 Under Investigation episode on Mr Cruel.  This researcher complimented me on my research and requested the contact details of Clinton Bailey.  I provided them with Bailey’s email address.  

Also in September 2021, Clinton Bailey initiated email contact with Mike King to inform him of the high number of mistakes on the Esri Australia website posting “The case of Mr Cruel” and that were in his podcast on the Mr Cruel case, Mapping Evil.  During this back and forth email exchange Clinton Bailey was also put into contact with the Nine Network researcher that had contacted Melbourne Marvels looking for Clinton Bailey’s contact details.  Clinton Bailey has informed me that it was at this time that he recommended to Mike King the Melbourne Marvels website as the best source of truth on the Mr Cruel case on the internet.  However, he also informed Mike King that it was of utmost importance to correct the record about the false information the Victoria Police provided to the FBI about all of the four canonical cases having occurred on school holidays.  He therefore, introduced Mike King to the Nine Network researcher hoping that Mike King would appear on the upcoming special 9 had planned to do about the case in the hopes that Mike King would bring this fact to the table.  

Mike King then went into negotiations with the Nine Network to appear on the Under Investigation program.  Nothing more was heard by either Clinton Bailey or Melbourne Marvels from Mike King or the Nine Network about the program until March 2022 when the Nine Network aired its special on Mr Cruel.  It was therefore with great shock that Melbourne Marvels discovered that the Nine Network claimed in the program that the electrical connections theory was a new lead in the case that had been discovered through ESRI Australia’s application of GIS mapping technology to locate a number of electrical substations next to many of the crime scenes.  What’s more, the program had clearly plagiarised directly from the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map as it had mapped the Watsonia Electrical Substation, the Burwood Substation, and the Heatherton substation.  All of these sites had only previously been mapped on the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel map.  

Figure 1 (Under Investigation Map of Melbourne eastern suburbs)

The above screenshot from the Under Investigation special on Mr Cruel (see figure 1) depicts many of the same sites depicted in the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel map and falsely claims to have discovered this association through the employment of GIS mapping technology.  Pictured here are the Thomastown Terminal Station next to the site where Karmein Chan’s remains were found; the Watsonia Electrical Substation “near”  the site of the Lower Plenty attack, the Chan household “near” the Templestowe Terminal Station, the Bayswater Zone Substation “near” the Sharon Wills dumping site; the Ringwood Terminal Station next to the Wills household, the Burwood Substation; the Lynas household next to the East Camberwell Substation, the Nicola Lynas dump site next to the Kew Substation.  All of these sites were published on the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map one year prior to the airing of the Under Investigation program which claimed it had discovered this link using GIS mapping. 

Figure 2 (Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map of Lower Plenty region)

The Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map (see figure 2) showing the Lower Plenty attack location (bottom right white gun with red background – not the actual location to protect the identity of the unnamed victim) and the Watsonia Electrical Substation (top left, lightning bolt with purple background).  However, despite the Under Investigation Australia episode claiming the victim’s house was close to the Watsonia Electricity Substation, it was in fact very far away from it at over 5km as the crow flies.  There is a much closer SECV site (bottom centre, lightning bolt in purple background) located to the south west of the attack location, but this was no longer in use even in 1987 and is still 1 km from the crime scene.  The red line running between the Watsonia Electrical Substation and the other SECV site in Lower Plenty is a transmission line running on tall electricity pylons. This too is located approximately 1km from the crime scene, not particularly close. Therefore, despite the program claiming that the crime scene was located right next to a substation, there is absolutely no significance of the crime scene in relation to any electricity infrastructure.  

Figure 3 (Lower Plenty region, with detail on the Lower Plenty attack)

Clicking on any particular icon on the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map brings up more information about that particular marker.  For example, in figure 3 I have selected the white gun marker which indicates an attack and it has brought up the details of the Lower Plenty attack.

Figure 4 Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map showing the Ringwood region.

The Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map (see figure 4) showing the Ringwood abduction location (top centre, white gun with red background) and the Ringwood Terminal Station (bottom centre, lightning bolt with purple background), Antonio Park Primary School (top left). Also shown as a red line is the transmission line which runs on tall pylons right behind the house where the abduction took place.   Once again all icons are clickable for more information, as can be seen in Figure 5 in which the Ringwood Terminal Station has been selected.

Figure 5: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map showing the Ringwood region.  The Ringwood Terminal Station has been selected.

Figure 6: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map of Bayswater region.

The Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map (see figure 6) showing the Bayswater crime scene where Sharon Wills was dumped (green marker on left) and the Bayswater Zone Substation (top centre, lightning bolt with purple background), Food Plus convenience store (bottom  left, purpe), Baywsater High School tennis courts (top left, purple), a possible witness sighting of the offender’s vehicle (right centre, green). Once again all icons are clickable for more information, as can be seen in Figure 7 in which the dumping site has been selected.

Figure 7.  From the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map showing the Bayswater region.  Dump site of Sharon Wills has been selected.

Figure 8: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map showing the Canterbury region

The Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map (see figure 8) showing the Canterbury house where Nicola Lynas was abducted from (red marker top left), the East Camberwell Substation (purple marker, bottom left), the crime scene where it is believed the offender dumped the Lynas family vehicle (bottom right, car with red background), the crime scene from where it is believed the offender forced Nicola into his own vehicle (roughly centre, car with red background). Once again all icons are clickable for more information, as can be seen in Figure 9 in which the crime scene from where it is believed the offender forced Nicola into his own vehicle has been selected.

Figure 9: Melbourne Marvels Map of Canterbury region.  Location offender switched cars with Nicola Lynas has been selected.

Figure 10: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map showing Kew region.  

The Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map (see figure 10) showing Kew substation where Nicola Lynas was dumped (green marker top left) and Eglinton Reserve where the offender may have fled through (red marker, centre right). Once again all icons are clickable for more information, as can be seen in Figure 11 in which Eglinton Reserve has been selected.

Figure 11: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map of Kew region (with Eglinton Reserve selected).

Figure 12: Melbourne Marvels Map of the Templestowe region.  

The Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map (see figure 12) showing the Chan household where Karmein was abducted (gun in red marker top left), the location of the offender’s getaway vehicle (car red marker, top right).  To the east of the Chan household a red line running from between the north east and south west signifies a transmission line running along tall electricity pylons.  This is located  455 metres as the crow flies from the Chan household at its closest point on The Grange. Once again all icons are clickable for more information, as can be seen in Figure 13 in which the marker indicating the location of the offender’s getaway vehicle is selected..

Figure 13: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map of Templestowe region (with offender’s getaway vehicle selected).

It should be noted here that the Channel 9 Under Investigation Australia program made the false claim that the Chan household was located “near” to the Templestowe Terminal Station.  This is not the case as can be seen Figure 14, a zoomed out image of the same region.  Here the Templestowe Terminal Station is located in the top right in purple.  It is over 3 kilometres from the 1991 Chan household.  Given that substations or terminal stations feature in most Melbourne suburbs, this is not close at all.  

Figure 14

Figure 14: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel map of wide view of the Templestowe region showing Templestowe Terminal Station 3km distant with transmission line travelling along tall pylons towards Serpells Road.

Figure 15: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map showing Burwood region.

The Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map (see figure 15) showing Presbyterian Ladies’ College where both Nicola Lynas and Karmein Chan went to school (schoolchildren in purple marker centre), the Burwood Substation (lightning bolt in purple marker centre) and the Box Hill Electricity Service Centre (lightning bolt in purple marker, bottom right).  Once again Channel 9 made the association between a significant location and a substation.  Except Melbourne Marvels had this mapped on this Google Map one year  before they claimed to have uncovered the connection using GIS technology.  Figure 16 shows the same map with the Burwood Substation selected.

Figure 16: Melbourne Marvels Map showing the Burwood Region with the Burwood Substation selected.

Figure 17: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map showing Hampton region.

The Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map (see figure 17) showing the approximate locations in Hampton of two attacks that police speculated may have been earlier attacks by the offender known as Mr Cruel (top left, handgun symbol in purple background), one on a 14 year old girl in February 1985 and one on a 14 year old boy in July 1985; the approximate location of the home of suspect Brian Elkner between 1972 and 1974 (top left, house symbol in grey background); the site where the 14 year old girl victim was dumped in February 1985 (green marker); and the Heatherton Substation (right centre, grey background with lightning bolt symbol).  Once again the Channel 9 Under Investigation program falsely claimed that a crime scene was located “near”  a substation, but in this case the substation is more than 5km distant from where the victim was dumped.  Once again, this is not close at all.  Figure 18 shows the same area with the site where the 14 year old female victim was dumped selected.

Figure 18: Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map showing the Hampton region with the site the 14 year old female victim of an offender who may have been “Mr Cruel” selected.  

Thus far we have seen how Melbourne Marvels had mapped all of the substations named in the Under Investigation Australia special on Mr Cruel 1 to 2 years prior to it airing in March 2022, despite the program making the false claim that these sites were discovered first by researcher Mike King employing GIS technology to find them.  Rather, Melbourne Marvels discovered the sites by trawling through old copies of the Melway street directory dating from 1985 to 1991.  

However, this is not where it stops.  After the airing of the UIA special on Mr Cruel some newspapers picked up the story, falsely reporting that Mike King had discovered the electrical connection theory using GIS technology.  An example of this was an article by Rhiannon Tuffield in The Australian  on 17 March 2022 titled Forensic Technology links Mr Cruel to Melbourne electrical industry.  The first paragraph in the article reads:”A major breakthrough has been made in one of Melbourne’s most notorious abduction mysteries more than 30 years after an unknown masked offender kidnapped young girls.”  In fact, it was neither forensic technology employed that discovered the link, nor a major breakthrough.  Rather, the link was first written about by researcher Clinton Bailey as early as 2014 by observing the crime scenes in question.  The manuscript containing this theory was sent to both the researcher working for the Channel 9 program Under Investigation Australia and the American researcher Mike King in September 2021.  The theory was expanded upon by Melbourne Marvels who began mapping the locations of the electrical infrastructure in January 2020, completing this mapping in March 2021.  Furthermore, the program exaggerated the electrical connections  link by making false claims, such as by stating that Watsonia Electrical Substation was “near” the Lower Plenty victims house when it was more than 5km away, stating that Karmein Chan’s house was next to the Templestowe Terminal Station when it was more than 3km away, stating that the Bayswater Zone Substation was close to the dumping spot of Sharon Wills when it was more than 1km away, and stating that the 14 year old Hampton victim was dumped near a substation when the location was more than 5km away from it. 

Furthermore, I discovered in April 2021 that Victoria Police themselves were aware of the electrical connections evidence as early as the early 90s.  I have spoken myself to a number of linesmen who informed me that detectives entered their work premises to interview linesmen at Watsonia Electrical Substation, the Electrical Zone Substation in Coolaroo and the Thomastown Terminal Station during Operation Spectrum.  Therefore the claim that this is a “new” breakthrough is something that is probably being laughed at by police who worked on the case back in the day. 

The Under Investigation program has displayed a shocking lack of journalistic integrity by knowingly copying the theory off other researchers, claiming it was the work of “forensic technology” and knowingly deceiving the public as to the veracity of the theory.  It is extremely shocking to me that a mainstream news organisation would display such recklessness in attempting to make a profit off the map created by Melbourne Marvels and put in the public form for free.  Furthermore, by knowingly putting false information about the case in the public, they are preventing justice from being served in this case.   

Further evidence of copying.
On 14 March 2022 Mike King published a video on his Youtube Channel titled “Mr Cruel’s Rabbit Hole” in which he talks about the Mr Cruel case once again.  He links to clips from the discredited Under Investigation program, but he also shows a different map (see figure 19) of the Mr Cruel case from the one that was shown on Under Investigation.  This one seems to be from a software tool he uses for his website Profiling Evil.  As if it couldn’t be any clearer that he had blatantly copied the mapping of the substations from the Mr Cruel Map, this map included the mapping of substations not mentioned on the Under Investigation program – and they were all the remaining ones that had been mapped on the MM Mr Cruel Map between one and two years previously. 

Figure 19: Profiling Evil map of Melbourne showing markers that have clearly been copied from the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel Map.

In Mike King’s Profiling Evil map, every single marker is also included in the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel map, including two electrical stations not included in the Under Investigation Australia program.  The electrical substations or terminal stations are marked by an exclamation marked inside a triangle in an orange background.  The map includes the Keilor Terminal Station and the Electrical Zone Substation in Coolaroo.  This means that Mike King’s Profiling Evil map contains the exact same electrical stations that are marked on the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel map.  The chances of this being a coincidence are astronomical as there are many other electrical terminal and substations in the Melbourne area that are not marked on either map.  

What is more, every other marker on the Mike King Profiling Evil map is taken from the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel map.  For example, he has marked (white humanoid figure) the approximate residential locations of three of the Sierra 7 suspects, this includes the current and former houses of Brian Elkner in Thornbury and Hampton respectively, and two other suspects residences in Balwyn and Glen Iris.  He has also marked the location of the attack of a 48 year old former nun who was attacked in her home in Moonee Ponds in November 1987.  This attack, while initially linked to the offender known as Mr Cruel, was actually the work of serial rapist Christopher Clarence Hall, who was convicted of the rape in 1994.  Despite the fact Hall was convicted of the crime Xanthe Mallet mistakenly claimed it was the work of Mr Cruel, based on a conversation she had with criminal psychologist Tim Watson-Munro, in her 2019 book Cold Case Investigations.  Melbourne Marvels discovered the mistake in June 2021.  

Other Shocking Inaccuracies aired on the Under Investigation Australia special on Mr Cruel.

I have already spoken in detail about some inaccuracies that were aired on the UIA Mr Cruel episode, namely, that the program falsely claimed that a number of substations and terminal electrical stations were close to the crime scenes from the case.  Now, I will detail a host of other shockingly inaccurate details aired on the program which have also done more damage than good if it is our hope to lead to a breakthrough in the case.  I will now deal with these in detail.


Perhaps the most shocking mistake aired on the program was that the program was advertised by Channel 9’s marketing division as a program about “Australia’s worst serial killer”.  Even now the 60 Minutes Youtube Channel still contains this shocking error as the video for the UIA episode on Mr Cruel is titled: “Hunting Mr Cruel: Where is Australia’s worst serial killer?”.  This is shocking misinformation as anyone who knows the case knows full well the offender is only deemed to be responsible for one murder. Liz Hayes even states at the beginning of the program: “But there were four involving the assault, kidnap and murder of young girls that police beleive was undoubtedly the work of this depraved predator who has never been caught.” Again, this kind of misinformation in the public forum harms the chances of the case ever being solved.  

Second, the host of the program, Liz Hayes, repeatedly states throughout the program “We can narrow down the location of Mr Cruel’s lair to the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne.”  This while showing a map which clearly shows the flight paths in the north western suburbs of Melbourne, where the “lair” was believed by police to have been located..  

Third, the program incorrectly states that the offender’s detention premises had a driveway on the left hand side of the residence.  Anybody who knows the case well, knows that police have repeatedly stated in press releases that, in fact, the driveway of the detention premises was on the right hand side of the residence.  Once again, this puts false information out in the public forum which damages the chances of the case being solved.  

Fourth, the program repeated an oft-repeated mistake in the Mr Cruel mythos when it stated that the first abduction victim was released wearing nothing but garbage bags.  In fact, it was established in an article by Keith Moor for the Herald Sun in 2016 titled Victoria Police and FBI dossier on shocking Mr Cruel child abductions that the offender took the bags off before releasing the girl at Bayswater High School and the victim was found wearing a man’s shirt.  The Melbourne Marvels blog post on the abduction of Sharon Wills details how the mistake began when a police detective was misquoted by newspaper journalists in 1988 and the mistake was repeated ad infinitum afterwards.  

Fifth, the program showed archival footage of a restaurant named Ming Chu in Main Street, Lower Plenty whilst a newsreader stated: “Karmein Chan’s parents Phyllis and John were working at one of the restaurants they own.” However, the restaurant Ming Chu was not owned by the Chan family.  In fact, they owned the restaurants named “Mings” located  in Main Street, Eltham and the Bulleen Plaza and it was the former they were at on the night of their daughter’s abduction.  This is another feature of the misinformation that Channel 9 has been regularly putting in the public forum regarding this case for decades.  I thank the Reddit user pwurg, whose excellent research discovered this fact.

There were a number of other mistakes aired in the program that I won’t even bother listing here as to do so would border on the pedantic.  However, the five listed above are proof enough that the Nine Network’s so-called investigative journalism should be avoided at all costs when it comes to cold cases.

Request to the Nine Network and Mike King of Profiling Evil.

I request that both the Nine Network and Mike King acknowledge the fact that they did not discover the fact that many of the crime scenes have electrical connections. Not only did police themselves make the link to electrical infrastructure in the early 90s, but the pseudonymous Clinton Bailey wrote about the link as early as 2014.   I also want them to acknowledge that they relied on the Melbourne Marvels Mr Cruel map and not GIS or any other forensic technology to discover the locations of these substations or terminal stations.  Lastly, they should  acknowledge that they have knowingly exaggerated the electrical connections theory by incorrectly claiming that many of the substations/terminal stations were “near” a crime scene.  Specifically, the latter is true for the Watsonia Electrical Substation, the Templestowe Terminal Station, the Bayswater Zone Substation and the Heatherton Substation.  By falsely claiming these sites were “near” crime scenes, both the Nine Network and Mike King have exhibited a shocking lack of responsibility to the victims of the crimes who are still waiting for justice in this cold case.

Note.  On 1 April 2022 True Crime News Weekly published an article for True Crime News Weekly detailing the nature of the plagiarism described above.

Melbourne Marvels March 2022

Mr Cruel – Trade and occupation comparisons by Clinton Bailey (pseudonym)

Clinton Bailey (pseudonym) has written a manuscript analysing the Mr Cruel crimes. This manuscript was originally written in 2014 and has been updated several times. He has provided the manuscript to the Victoria Police. It has not been published previously on the internet. Clinton has given me permission to publish sections of it here.

Melbourne Marvels 12 April 2021

Mr Cruel – The offender and industrial relations by Clinton Bailey (pseudonym)

Clinton Bailey (pseudonym) has written a manuscript analysing the Mr Cruel crimes. This manuscript was originally written in 2014 and has been updated several times. He has provided the manuscript to the Victoria Police. It has not been published previously on the internet. Clinton has given me permission to publish sections of it here.

Melbourne Marvels 12 April 2021

Mr Cruel – Potential crime scenes by Clinton Bailey (pseudonym)

Clinton Bailey (pseudonym) has written a manuscript analysing the Mr Cruel crimes. This manuscript was originally written in 2014 and has been updated several times. He has provided the manuscript to the Victoria Police. It has not been published previously on the internet. Clinton has given me permission to publish sections of it here.

Melbourne Marvels 8 April 2021

Mr Cruel 3 – Other attacks attributed to Mr Cruel

Listen to the podcast for this episode here.

Another 12 possible sexual assaults

For the best part of 30 years the majority of media reports have linked the perpetrator known as Mr Cruel with 4 attacks on children aged between 10 and 13.  As mentioned in previous posts, these attacks, known as the ‘canonical’ Mr Cruel attacks, were the sexual assault of an 11 or 12 year old girl in Lower Plenty on 22 August 1987; the abduction of Sharon Wills on 27 December 1988; the abduction of Nicola Lynas on 3 July 1990; and the abduction of Karmein Chan on 13 April 1991 (and her subsequent murder).  

However, at different times since 1985, the police or the media have also linked this same perpetrator to another 12 sexual assaults at least.  At present, it is unknown if any of these attacks have been definitively ruled out by investigators as being the work of Mr Cruel.

Some of these attacks are as follows:

  1. The abduction and sexual assault of a 14 year old girl in Hampton in February 1985.
  2. The abduction and sexual assault of a 14 year old boy in Hampton in July 1985.
  3. The sexual assault of a 30 year old woman in her Warrandyte home on 4 December 1985.
  4. The sexaul assault of a 30 or 35 year old woman in her Donvale home on 6 December 1985.
  5. The sexual assault of a 34 year old woman in her Bulleen home on 7 December 1985.  
  6. The sexual assault of a woman in Greensborough in March 1987.
  7. The sexual assault of woman in Greensborough in August 1987.
  8. The sexual assault of a 48 year old woman in Moonee Ponds on 10-11 November 1987. NB: This attack has been verified as being perpetrated by the Ascot Vale Rapist Christopher Clarence Hall, who was convicted of this rape, and that of many other women, in 1994.
  9. The sexual assault of an unknown victim in Hawthorn between 1985-1987.
  10. The sexual assault of an unknown victim in Brighton between 1985-1987.
  11. The sexual assault of an unknown victim in Caulfield between 1985-1987 (unknown if this is the crime referenced in this newspaper article in which a woman was abducted from her Caulfield home on 16 February 1986 and driven to Chelsea Heights).
  12. The sexual assault of an unknown victim in Dingley between 1985-1987.
Watch Youtube video of episode here.

“The Hampton rapist”

Let us analyse what has been said about these attacks in the media and who has linked them to Mr Cruel over the years.  The sexual assault of a 14 year old girl in Hampton, in February 1985, was first linked to the perpetrator known as Mr Cruel by writers John Silvester and Andrew Rule in their 2008 book Rats, Crooks who Got Away with it : Tales of True Crime and Mystery from the Underbelly Archive.  The co-writers wrote only briefly about this attack stating: “Police had been looking for a man they called the ‘Hampton rapist’ who, they suspected, abducted a fourteen-year-old from her home in February 1985.  They believe the same man was responsible for attacks in Caulfield, Hawthorn, Brighton, Dingley and Donvale.  He was an opportunist who would break into houses looking for money, but who would sexually assault victims if he had the chance. The ‘Hampton Rapist’ was believed to be the same man responsible for later attacks, including Karmein Chan’s. Much later, after thousands of hours of fruitless investigations, police were to conclude there were probably two offenders – possibly one a copycat. While some of the Hampton assaults had striking similarities to the later one, police finally established that the first-known attack by Mr Cruel was in Lower Plenty, in August 1987.”

One confusing point about this information is that Silvester and Rule’s book suggests that police later ruled out the earlier attacks “after thousands of hours of fruitless investigations”. Yet, this contradicts Keith Moor’s later information that some detectives did indeed consider at least two of the 1985 attacks in Hampton as being the work of Mr Cruel. Furthermore, this is the only source on the public record that has ever attributed attacks in Hawthorn, Caulfield, Brighton and Dingley as being possibly the work of Mr Cruel, and nothing more is known about any of them. The Donvale attack referred to must be the same one mentioned in the contemporary newspaper articles as that of the rape of the 30 or 35 year old woman in December of 1985. 

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“Scared and scarred schoolgirl”

The sexual assault of a 14 year old girl in Hampton in February 1985 was also linked to the perpetrator known as Mr Cruel by journalist Keith Moor in his article for The Herald Sun Mr Cruel suspected of at least a dozen attacks on children, dated 12 April 2012.  In the article Moor stated: “One of the incidents police believe may have been one of the first Mr Cruel attacks involved a 14-year-old girl who was abducted from her Hampton home in 1985. She was tied, gagged and blindfolded before being driven to a vacant building site and assaulted. The scared and scarred schoolgirl was dumped at the nearby Moorabbin Bowl on Nepean Highway at 2.10am, nearly five hours after being kidnapped”

“The 1985 survivor, in her statement…believes the assailant ejaculated in her and swabs were taken.”

I cannot find any reference to this crime in any major Melbourne newspaper, nor any local newspaper from the time period.  Another reference I have found to this crime was in Adam Shand’s documentary Australian True Crime Stories, season 3 episode 7, which appeared on the Nine Network in 2019.  

“As I mentioned earlier Mr Cruel could be connected to up to 12 assaults.  I’ve spoken at length to Mr Cruel’s first documented victim from 1985.  Understandably she doesn’t want to talk on camera.  But, she did relay what he said to her during the assault.  “My liberty, my freedom is more important than your life.  This is very telling when viewed through the lens of the Karmein Chan murder.  In the mid 1980s, DNA testing was in its infancy and poor forensic work in the early cases, dramatically impacted later investigations.”.  

The scene then cuts to an interview with Keith Moor, who states: “Quite a lot of the original witness statements from 1985, ‘86, ‘87, that David Sprague desperately wanted were never able to be found.  In one case, I think it was his first victim, had been tied up.  The rope was retrieved, but the rope had been put into a plastic bag.  Whilst he got very good at covering his tracks, common sense suggests, you don’t start off that good.  If he was ever going to make mistakes, it would have been in those early days.  That rope could have had his DNA on it.  And the Spectrum Taskforce were mortified when they couldn’t find the rope.”  The documentary then cuts to a visual of a plastic bag marked with the title “police evidence” and a hand belonging to an unknown person picking it up and taking it out of the scene.  It is not clear what the producers of this film were implying by showing this visualisation, but it certainly seems to hint at some sort of conspiracy.  

The scene then cuts back to Adam Shand interviewing former detective Chris O’Connor and Shand states: “The 1985 survivor, in her statement…believes the assailant ejaculated in her and swabs were taken.  Do you think, if they are around, they could still be tested?”  Chris O’Connor replies: “they could certainly be matched, if they’re still in existence”.  What is unclear about this exchange is whether the swabs taken from the 1985 Hampton victim are still in existence or not.  The placing of this scene in which the question is put to O’Connor by Shand just after the scene in which Keith Moor has described the police losing evidence is odd indeed, but it is not clear what the intention was here since it is never verified that the semen swabs taken from the 1985 Hampton victim were also lost.  The viewer then, is left to decide for themselves as to whether a) the semen swabs are still in existence; and b) there was some sort of conspiracy that led to police evidence being lost in this case. Furthermore, what that conspiracy might be in the latter case is never dealt with.

Neither Keith Moor’s article, nor Shand’s documentary state what month in 1985 the attack on the 14 year old girl occurred, but we can deduce that it occurred in February 1985 because Moor’s article states that the next attack attributed to Mr Cruel, that of a 14 year old boy, occurred “on July (sic) 1985, five months after the attack on the 14 year old Hampton schoolgirl”  and this matches up with the date given by Silvester and Rule in their own discussion of the same attack.

“He was held captive and assaulted in unknown premises for just over three hours”.

Keith Moor in his article for the Herald Sun titled Victoria Police and FBI dossier on shocking child abductions, dated 8 April 2012, goes into detail about an attack on a 14 year old boy that also allegedly occurred in Hampton in 1985.

“Another unsolved attack in Hampton, Bill’s stamping ground at the time, bore many of the hallmarks of a Mr Cruel attack — except it was on a 14-year-old boy. Experts say with such offenders it is often more about control and power over victims, rather than the sex of the victim. The schoolboy was abducted from his Hampton home about 8.25pm on July 1985, five months after the abduction of the 14-year-old Hampton schoolgirl. He was held captive and assaulted in unknown premises for just over three hours before being released in Caulfield South about 11.45pm.” The person named Bill here, is the pseudonym Keith Moor gave to one of the main suspects in the case, who was later named by Channel 9 as one “Brian Alan Enkler”. This however, was a mistake, as his actual surname is Elkner.

Again, I could find no reference to this attack in the newspaper articles of the day, either in local newspapers or the The Age, The Sun News Pictorial, or The Herald.

“A 30 year old woman from Warrandyte was raped by a man who confronted her in her bedroom”

The next non-canonical attack which has been attributed to Mr Cruel and for which we have a date was the 4 December 1985 rape of a 30 year old woman in Warrandyte.  The first article to appear in the press about this attack was a 9 December 1985 article in the Sun titled New silver gun terror in rapes by Michael Reid.  The article reported about a group of 3 rapes that had all occurred within the space of 4 days in the Eastern suburbs of Warrandyte, Donvale and Bulleen.  The comment about the “new silver gun rapist” was a reference to a previous rapist, Peter Vaitos, a man who had terrorised the eastern suburbs in the late 1970s and had been sentenced to a long prison term in 1981.  He had used a silver handgun in his attacks on women, and it appeared that this new attacker was doing the same thing.  On the Warrandyte attack, the article stated “On Wednesday night a 30 year old woman from Warrandyte was raped by a man who confronted her in her bedroom.  The man wore a balaclava and was possibly armed with a sawn off shotgun.  He was aged 30-40, about 180cm tall, broad-shouldered and medium build.  

Addendum: In a November 2020 interview with Matt Dunlop Media, retired detective Ron Iddles talked briefly about some of these earlier attacks.  When questioned about the earlier attacks he stated: “On one of the occasions…it’s a vacant house which is up for sale.  Now, there was no forced entry so how did he get access?  And then there were questions about, well, could he be a real estate agent?  But, the way in which he cleaned up, the MO is nearly identical, so that’s why they were put in I guess a basket, to say well, he might have started back in ‘85 and you’re looking about every six eight months for an attack.  So, they were very, very similar.”  It is not clear which of these earlier attacks Iddles is referring to here.  However, the fact that he states that there was no forced entry seems to rule out the attack on the 14 year old boy, as Moor stated that attack occurred at “unknown premises”.  Rather, Iddles’ description seems to match up with that of the attack on the 14 year old girl which was the attack that Moor described as occurring at “a vacant building site”, but this cannot be 100% confirmed.  

‘New silver gun terror in rapes’, Michael Reid, The Sun News Pictorial, 9 December 1985

The man, armed with a gun, appeared from a walk-in wardrobe while the woman was getting ready for bed

The next day on 10 December 1985, the Doncaster and Templestowe News published an article with no author listed titled Police seek man after rape.  The article was only about the Warrandyte rape and did not mention the other two that occurred the same week.  It included extra details about this attack stating: “A spokesman for Doncaster CIB, said the man, armed with a gun, appeared from a walk-in wardrobe while the woman was getting ready for bed about 11:10pm on Wednesday.  Detectives are searching for a man 30-40 years old and about 177.5 to 180cm tall in connection with the incident.  He is believed to be of medium build with broad shoulders and a pale complexion.  Police said he was wearing fawn overalls, a dark balaclava and gloves.  A car, which police said was used as a getaway vehicle, was sighted in the area.  Police are carrying out a doorknock to try to find more clues.”

‘Police seek man after rape’, The Doncaster and Templestowe News, 10 December 1985

“Police said he is well-spoken and might drive a white car, possibly a Mercedes-Benz.”

One week later on the 17 December 1985, also in the Doncaster and Templestowe News, another article was published giving more information about the rapist.  The article told of a Neighbourhood Watch meeting which had taken place in Templestowe Heights.  At the meeting Sergeant David Trueman had told the group that “women who came home to an empty house should be especially careful”.  He went on to say “he appears to have observed his victims’ movements, as in each attack he has known there will not be a man in the house”.  The description of the offender stated: “The man is believed to be in his late 20s to early 30s, with a muscular chest and clean-shaven”.  A description of his getaway vehicle was also given: “Police said he is well-spoken and might drive a white car, possibly a Mercedes-Benz.”

‘Police warn about rapist’, The Doncaster and Templestowe News, 17 December 1985

As mentioned in the Melbourne Marvels blog post about the Lower Plenty attack, the Warrandyte attack was still being linked to the Lower Plenty attack in newspaper articles that appeared in 1987 and 1988.  After this though, it is not mentioned again in the press.  Clearly however, the MO is extremely similar.  It is unknown whether the Warrandyte rape was ever completely ruled out as being the work of Mr Cruel, or whether any arrest was ever made.  

“A 30 year old woman was raped at her Donvale home”

The second of the attacks that occurred in December of 1985 was the 6 December rape of a 30 or 35 year old woman in Donvale.  This attack was still being linked to Mr Cruel by Keith Moor and Geoff Wilkinson as late as 2019, so it is an attack that police who studied it felt had many of the hallmarks of a Mr Cruel attack.  It is first mentioned in the aforementioned The Sun article by Michael Reid on 9 December 1985.  On the Donvale attack, Reid wrote: “On Friday night a 30 year old woman was raped at her Donvale home.  The attacker was in his late 20s or early 30s, slim, clean-shaven with a muscular chest and polite, well-educated voice.  He was armed with a rusty silver revolver.”

As mentioned in the previous blog post about the Lower Plenty attack, the Donvale rape was strongly linked with the Lower Plenty attack.  In that blog post, I detailed how Detective Sergeant Val Simpson had told me when I interviewed him, that he believed it was the same perpetrator in both attacks.  He had said how the rope used in both attacks was identical, and was not made in Australia.  He had conducted a fruitless search by visiting rope factories in an attempt to identify the source of the rope.

He waited in a house for a 30 year old woman and her 17 year old sister” 

The victim in the Donvale rape was described as 35 years old in the 19 November 1987 Jim Tennison article for The Sun titled Police hunt for ‘Mr Cruel’, but this was possibly a mistake as, as mentioned in the Lower Plenty blog post, a more detailed description of the Donvale rape appeared in the 12 May 1988 Innes Willox article for The Age titled, Police seek a new ‘Mr Stinky’ rapist.  Willox described the attack as thus: “Police are certain the first rape was in Donvale on 6 December 1985, when he waited in a house for a 30 year old woman and her 17 year old sister.  When the women arrived home at 10:30pm, the older woman was confronted by a man in the lounge at the back of the house.  He had broken in through the back door.  Armed with a long-barrelled pistol, the man took the woman to a bedroom where he had heard the younger woman talking.   Using pantyhose he tied the girl up and locked her in a bedroom wardrobe, securing the door handles.  The man then took the older woman to another bedroom, tied her up and raped her.  Police said that during the attack, he called to her sister in the wardrobe to check on her.  The rapist spent about 90 minutes in the house after the attack.  He stole a small amount of money and ripped the telephone from the wall.”  

Police hunt for ‘Mr Cruel”, Jim Tennison, The Sun News Pictorial, 19 November 1987

The Donvale attack was being written about as possibly linked to the other Mr Cruel attacks as recently as 2019 when Keith Moor and Geoff Wilkinson republished Mugshots 1.  Moor and Wilkinson mention an attack on a 30 year old woman in 1985 in this book (although no suburb is mentioned, this is probably a reference to the Donvale attack).  As mentioned previously, I believe the same attack was that that was referred to in John Silvester and Andrew Rule’s book Rats, Crooks who Got Away with it : Tales of True Crime Mystery from the Underbelly Archive.  Therefore, we know it is still considered to be likely the work of Mr Cruel.  

“A Bulleen woman, 34, was asleep with her six year old daughter when she was awoken by a man about 11:30pm”

The last attack that occurred in the spate of rapes in December 1985 was the one on a 34 year old woman in Bulleen on 7 December 1985.  In his article, Michael Reid described it thus: “On Saturday a Bulleen woman, 34, was asleep with her six year old daughter when she was awoken by a man about 11:30pm. Police said he was armed with a silver pistol or sawn-off shotgun.  The man was described as in his late 20s or early 30s, slim with mousey hair and wearing faded jeans and a t-shirt.”  

I have not found any other sources that describe this attack.  It was still being considered as possibly linked to the Lower Plenty attack when the latter occurred in August 1987, meaning it went unsolved until at least this date.  Like the Warrandyte attack it disappears from being mentioned in the same breath as other Mr Cruel attacks after 1987, but I do not know if it was ever solved.  

“The woman told them she fought with the man as he tried to pull off both his and her clothes”

Next we come to the Greensborough attacks that occurred in March and 8 August 1987.  These offences were first written about by Sally McDonnell for the Diamond Valley News on 25 August 1987 in an article titled Would-be rapist may strike again: police.  The 8 August attack was described thus: “Police said the masked man forced his way into the Joyce Av. home at 5am on Saturday August 8.  The woman was asleep alone in the house.  Police said the woman told them she fought with the man as he tried to pull off both his and her clothes.  She told police the man repeatedly assaulted her during the 15 minute ordeal.  The woman said the man forced her to commit an indecent act on him.”

‘Would-be rapist may strike again: police’, Sally McDonnell, The Diamond Valley News, 25 August 1987

“Wore a stocking mask and was of muscular build”

The same article described the first Greensborough attack in March thus: “Det Sen Constable Wayne Amor, of Greensborough CIB, said a similar incident occurred at Poulter Av. also in Greensborough last March at 1am, when a man forced his way into the house occupied by a woman and two young children.”  Amor was then quoted as stating: “There are certain factors which are similar and certain factors which aren’t so.  Whether it’s the same person at this stage we don’t know”.  The article went on to state: “Det Sen Const Amor said the two houses were one street away from each other.  He said on both occasions the man who forced his way into the house, wore a stocking mask and was of muscular build.”  Amor was quoted as saying: “What disturbs us is that it appears that in both instances the offender had prior knowledge of the house and its occupants and may well have been watching the house prior to the offence…The offender is described as being 175cm-177cm (5’9”-5’10”) and of muscular build.”

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, the Greensborough attacks were mentioned as being possibly linked to the Lower Plenty attack in the Sally McDonnell article about the latter crime when it was reported on in the Diamond Valley News on 1 September 1987, describing those attacks thus: “Det Sgt Simpson said police were keeping an open mind as to whether he was the same person responsible for two recent attempted rapes in the Joyce Av, Greensborough, area.  On both of those occasions a man forced entry into houses at about 4am early on Saturday mornings and attempted to rape the female occupant of each house.”  However, afterwards, the Greensborough attacks are not mentioned again in the press in the same breath as the other Mr Cruel attacks.  What cannot be denied however, is the striking similarity of the description of this offender and the man who committed the December 1985 attacks.  It is unknown if the Greensborough attacks were ever completely ruled out of the Mr Cruel case, or whether any arrests were ever made.  

‘Task force to hunt rapist’, Sally McDonnell, The Diamond Valley News, 1 September 1987

“Threatened her with a knife, bound and gagged her, and then raped her”

I covered the Moonee Ponds attack quite extensively in the blog post about the Lower Plenty attack because they were strongly linked at the time and occurred within 3 months of one another.

It was first reported about under the title ‘Police hunt for Mr ‘Cruel”, by Jim Tennison, in The Sun on 19 November 1987.

Tennison said that the offender in this attack broke into the home of a 48 year old woman and “threatened her with a knife, bound and gagged her, and then raped her”.  The man then stole her bank card and went to a bank in Moonee Ponds, where he withdrew $300 from her bank account.  He had then returned to the woman’s house and “sexually assaulted her again, before leaving in the early hours of last Wednesday morning”.  

“Park St or Clarinda Rd”

On 25 November 1987 an article by Nadine Hartnett said that the attack occurred at “10pm” before  describing the attack in the same way as was in Jim Tennison’s article.  However, more information was given on the location and the description of the attacker.  He was described as “a slim man wearing pale blue jeans” and “could have been seen near Park St or Clarinda Rd between 9:30 and 10 pm on November 10, or at the Commonwealth Bank in Puckle St, near Pratt St, between 1 and 1:30am the next morning”.

‘Task force to hunt rapist’, Nadine Hartnett, The Essendon Gazette, 25 November 1987

“He admonished the woman and raped her again”

The next article to cover the Moonee Ponds attack in detail was by Innes Willox for The Age in an article titled Police seek a new ‘Mr Stinky’ rapist on 12 May 1988.  He stated that the attack occurred on “10 November 1987.  The man broke into the house at 9:20 pm (notice this is different from the time of 10 pm given in Nadine Hartnett’s article in the Essendon Gazette) and used a knife to threaten the 48 year old woman who lived alone.  She was sleeping when she was attacked.  The rapist did not turn on the lights.  He tied her up with a nylon cord which is not available in Australia, and then raped her.  He emptied her handbag and took her automatic teller machine card.  Police are certain he planned the attack because he walked almost a kilometre to a bank with an automatic withdrawal machine.  He withdrew $300 from the woman’s account and walked back to the house.  He was away about 45 minutes.  During that time the woman freed herself of her gag and called for help.  When the man returned, he admonished the woman and raped her again, before ripping out the telephone and leaving.  The woman’s ordeal lasted more than four hours”. 

‘Police seek a new ‘Mr Stinky’ rapist’, Innes Willox, The Age, 12 May 1988

Mr Cool?

In a long article for The Age titled Brutal abductor breeds fear with cruelty, published 3 weeks after Karmein Chan’s abduction, Antony Catalano claimed that a police taskforce, set up after the Moonee Ponds attack, dismissed it as not the work of Mr Cruel.  This is strange indeed as, as recently as 2019, Xanthe Mallett in the chapter of her book Cold Case Investigations that dealt with Mr Cruel, was asserting that the Moonee Ponds attack was the work of Mr Cruel.  

Catalano also offered a speculative origin story for the term “Mr Cruel”, claiming that it was coined when police initially thought the identity of the attacker of the 48 year old former nun and the Lower Plenty victim were one and the same.  They had, he claimed, called the perpetrator in the Lower Plenty case “Mr Cool”, so when Chief Police Commsioner for Crime, Mr Vaughan Werner, described that perpetrator in the Moonee Ponds case as “cruel” the name “Mr Cruel” appeared as the headline the next day in the Sun article by Jim Tennision about the rape.  However, I can find no source that backs up this story as being fact.  While the perpetrator in the Lower Plenty attack case had been described as “cool and calculating”, nowhere have I found evidence that he was referred to as “Mr Cool”.  Furthermore, the fact that Catalano refers to the linking of the Moonee Ponds rape with the Lower Plenty rape as a “mix-up”, when some experts have more recently asserted that the two crimes were linked, makes this information even more confusing.  As mentioned previously John Silvester and Andrew Rule also argued this origin story for the name ‘Mr Cruel’ in their 2008 book.  However, I suspect they have simply repeated Catalano’s speculation, as I have not found one source which backs the claim that he was originally referred to as “Mr Cool” in the published record. 

‘Brutal abductor breeds fear with cruelty’, Antony Catalano, The Age, 4 May 1991

“No, Mr Cruel wasn’t an exclusive paedophile”

The most recent publication to link the Moonee Ponds attack with Mr Cruel was Xanthe Mallett in her 2019 book Cold Case Investigations.

Mallett then went on to describe her belief that the offender “specifically targeted children in their pre-pubescent stage before they go through puberty and develop secondary sexual characteristics. I was interested to know whether Mr Cruel was a paedophile in the true sense of the word.”  She then goes on to state that she knew criminal psychologist Tim Watson-Munro had worked on the Mr Cruel case and so she asked him his opinion on whether Mr Cruel was a paedophile.  “No, Mr Cruel wasn’t an exclusive paedophile”, he replied. Mallett then goes on to explain in Watson-Munro’s words how he had been retained by Victoria Police to profile Mr Cruel’s offending which exposed him to the “full range of his actions. These included the rape and confinement of an elderly nun in a Melbourne northern suburb, with him brazenly taking her car and her ATM card in order to drive to a local bank and steal her savings.” This is clearly referring to the Moonee Ponds attack on the night of 10-11 November 1987. Except, Tim Watson-Munro has referred to the woman as “elderly” when the woman in question was reported at the time as being only 48 years old.  And there is another inconsistency.  According to Mallett, Watson-Munro told her that the offender stole the woman’s car and drove it to the bank. However, Innes Willox’s article from 12 May 1988 clearly stated that the offender walked to the bank before stealing the woman’s savings. Mallett also said that Watson-Munro told her the woman was a nun.  Antony Catalano’s 4 May 1991 article which mentioned the Moonee Ponds attack stated that the woman in question was a “former nun”. Catalano also claimed that police had ruled out the attack as being the work of Mr Cruel. 

One can only speculate that Mr Watson-Munro may have remembered this case incorrectly. It is possible of course that the police publicly stated that the woman was only 48 years old, so as to protect her true identity from being revealed publicly, as the police were known to do this in the 1980s. Whether the woman was a nun or a former nun however, I do not feel like I can speculate on. 

Update 7 June 2021

On 5 June 2021, I discovered an Age newspaper article by Philip Johnson from 13 May 1994, that confirmed for me that the Moonee Ponds rape was committed by a serial rapist by the name of Christopher Clarence Hall. The article stated “Hall bound and gagged a 48-year-old victim after raping her, and took her credit card, withdrawing $300, and then returned and raped her again”. This description is clearly referring to the Moonee Ponds victim that Melbourne Marvels has repeatedly written about as possibly being one of Mr Cruel’s victims. This is astonishing because it means criminologist Xanthe Mallett was unaware that the rape of this woman in Moonee Ponds had actually been solved, when she referred to it as being one of Mr Cruel’s unsolved crimes. The fact that we now know the crime was solved all but ensures we can now rule it out as being the work of Mr Cruel. Of course, there is still the lingering possibility that it was Mr Cruel, in that it is possible that Christpher Clarence Hall was Mr Cruel. However, this seems unlikely, since police have access to Hall’s DNA profile, and it seems not to be a match for the profile the Channel 9 documentary suggested police had for Mr Cruel from the 1985 Hampton attack. Furthermore, it seems the vast majority of Hall’s victims were adult women, which would suggest that it is unlikely he is responisble for the abductions and sexual assault of the child victims of Mr Cruel. Hall was free until 1993, so, some may argue he would still make a good suspect for the Mr Cruel series. All his crimes being committed in the north western suburbs of Melbourne, however, also suggests that it may be unlikely.

Update: March 2022. Christopher Clarence Hall can now be categorically ruled out as being Mr Cruel – well at least he can be ruled out as being the same perpetrator who abducted both Sharon Wills and Nicola Lynas. This is because we know he was in prison in South Australia during the commission of these crimes. Furthermore, we know more about the nature of his attack on the 48 year old former nun who he raped on 11 November 1987. This is from what was published during an appeal he filed to his conviction in 1994. You can access this file here. It should be noted here that the attack on the 48 year old former nun was particularly vicious and cruel which is likely what prompted the police to refer to the attacker as “cruel” in the first place. Thus, in a way, you could say the moniker Mr Cruel should be changed, perhaps to Mr Careful, as this moniker suits our man better.

‘Rapist gets 34 years for reign of terror’ Philip Johnson, The Age, 13 May 1994.

Four mysterious attacks

Lastly, we come to the four mysterious attacks on girls and women that, according to John Silvester and Andrew Rule’s 2008 book Rats, occurred between 1985 and 1987 in the suburbs of Hawthorn, Caulfield, Brighton and Dingley.  Unfortunately, I can find absolutely no reports of these attacks in any of the contemporary newspaper sources.  All we know is that some police believed that they were possibly the work of Mr Cruel.  Perhaps more will be revealed about these attacks at some point in the future.

It may be that the Caulfield attack referenced here is that of the abduction of a woman from her Caulfield home at 12:40am on 16 February 1986. The woman was blindfolded and forced to lie on the floor of a red Toyota sedan by a bearded man in his late 20s who wore jeans and silver-rimmed glasses. The woman was driven to Chelsea Heights where she managed to esacape at 3:15pm.

Melbourne Marvels

April 2021

Please leave a comment below if you would like to contribute to the discussion. Alternatively you contact me on melbinmarvels@gmail.com if you have any information about the case.

Note. If you have gained something from this post please consider donating to my Patreon to cover the costs I have incurred in researching it.

Sources

  1. Reid, Michael, New silver gun terror in rapes, The Sun News Pictorial, 9 December 1985.
  2. Police seek man after rape, The Doncaster and Templestowe News, 10 December 1985.
  3. Police warn about rapist, The Doncaster and Templestowe News, 17 December 1985.
  4. McDonnell, Sally, Task force to hunt rapist, Diamond Valley News, 1 September 1987.
  5. Tennison, Jim Police hunt for Mr ‘Cruel’, The Sun News Pictorial, 19 November 1987.
  6. Hartnett, Nadine, Taskforce to hunt rapist, Essendon Gazette, 25 November 1987.
  7. Willox, Innes, Police seek a new ‘Mr Stinky’ rapist, The Age, 12 May 1988.
  8. Catalano, Antony, Brutal abductor breeds fear with cruelty, The Age, 4 May 1991.
  9. Johnson, Philip, Rapist gets 34 years for reign of terror, The Age, 13 May 1994.
  10. Silvester, John & Rule, Andrew, Rats, Crooks who Got Away with it : Tails of True Crime and Mystery from the Underbelly Archives, 2008.
  11. Moor, Keith Mr Cruel suspected of at least a dozen attacks on children, The Herald Sun, 12 April 2012.
  12. Moor, Keith Victoira Police and FBI Dossier on shocking Mr Cruel child attacks, The Herald Sun, 8 April .2016 (paywalled).
  13. Mallett, Xanthe, Cold Case Investigations, 2019.
  14. Moor, Keith & Wilkinson, Geoff, Mugshots 1 , 2019.
  15. The Nine Network, Australian True Crime Stories Mr Cruel, 2019.

Mr Cruel – Evidence from photographs by Clinton Bailey (pseudonym)

Clinton Bailey (pseudonym) has written a manuscript analysing the Mr Cruel crimes. This manuscript was originally written in 2014 and has been updated several times. He has provided the manuscript to the Victoria Police. It has not been published previously on the internet. Clinton has given me permission to publish sections of it here.

Melbourne Marvels 5 April 2021