January 27, 2009 / 8:11 PM / 11 years ago

Australia backpacker killer cuts off finger

A May 1994 artist's impression of Australian Ivan Milat. REUTERS/Handout

CANBERRA (Reuters) - One of Australia’s worst serial killers, jailed for the murders of several foreign backpackers, cut off his little finger with a plastic knife and tried to post it to the country’s top court, prison officials said on Tuesday.

Ivan Milat, 64, was convicted in 1996 of killing seven young men and women in the early 1990s, including two Britons, three German tourists and two Australians.

“He certainly has significant highs and lows, not always predictable, but that’s typical of Ivan Milat. Ivan is a control freak and his moods will fluctuate if he thinks he’s not in control,” Department of Corrective Services Assistant Commissioner John Dunthorne told local radio.

Prison officials said Milat, serving consecutive life sentences at the top security Supermax prison at Goulburn, southwest of Sydney, cut off his finger and placed it in an envelope addressed to the Australian High Court.

Doctors failed to re-attach the finger, authorities said.

Milat continues to protest his innocence and has previously swallowed razor blades. The High Court dismissed an appeal application in 2004.

Autopsies showed most of Milat’s victims were repeatedly stabbed, beaten, strangled or shot. Their decomposed bodies were found in shallow graves in a forest between Goulburn and Sydney.

Reporting by Rob Taylor, Editing by Michael Perry and Elizabeth Piper

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