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'He Then Realised What He Said': Ivan Milat's Accidental Confession

When news broke that Ivan Milat has terminal oesophageal cancer, many hoped the serial killer would finally confess to murdering seven backpackers in the 1990s.

Instead, Milat -- who has always maintained his innocence -- wrote a letter from his death bed insisting he didn't commit the crimes and was framed by senior members of NSW Police.

He sent the handwritten, three-page letter to The Sun Herald, renewing claims he was framed by those responsible for putting him behind bars -- former Assistant Commissioner of NSW Police, Clive Small and his team.

READ MORE: Ivan Milat Has Been Transferred Back To Prison

But Clive Small told The Sunday Project that Milat accidentally confessed to him in 2007. Small was visiting the prison where Milat was being held, where the pair had a chance encounter.

Ivan Milat. Source: AAP Photos.

"He looked at me a few times and said 'I know you. You're Clive Small,'" Clive Small told The Sunday Project.

"And I said, 'Yes I am' and his response was, 'Well, why are you and my lawyer going around telling everyone that my sister Shirley was also involved in the murders with me?'"

Small told Milat he'd never suggested Shirley or anyone else was involved with the murders.

"I said, 'No I've never done that, I've never said your sister was involved with you because I know that you did the killings by yourself.' And I got the shock of my life when he said, 'Yes, so why are you telling people she was involved?'"

"I think he then realised what he said and shut up ... so he's confessed to me in that way that I have just described, not an official way and he didn't repeat it after he realised what he said."

Clive Small appeared on The Sunday Project. Photo: The Sunday Project.

Small also said he has reliable information to suggest Milat confessed to his mother before she died in 2001.

Margaret Milat would visit her son at the prison regularly until she was diagnosed with a serious illness and told she didn't have long to live.

"So she went down to the jail again to tell him that it would be the last time she would be seeing him and I am told by someone I consider reliable that she put the pressure on him," Small told The Sunday Project.

"He is alleged to have admitted to the murders to her."

Despite the two 'confessions' Milat has never officially admitted to any wrongdoing and Small believes the families of the victims are not going to receive the death bed confession they'd hoped for -- especially in light of The Sun Herald letter.

Ivan Milat. Source: AAP Photos.

"Ivan has refused to admit to basically anything since his arrest. He's the type of person in my view who, when he dies, he wants to go thinking he's still the boss," Small said.

"I think it just shows what a cold-blooded person Ivan Milat is. He has no regret or remorse for what he has done, whether it be these backpackers or a number of other people and he's got no remorse or sorrow for the families adversely affected."

In May, Milat spent two weeks in hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer before being transferred back to the hospital section of Long Bay Jail.

Ivan Milat in a wheelchair being transferred to Long Bay Jail hospital.

Milat is currently serving seven life sentences for the murders of seven backpackers between 1989 and 1992. Their mutilated bodies were found in the Belanglo State Forest.

Milat was arrested in relation to the murders in 1994 and was convicted two years later in 1996.

READ MORE: How Much It's Cost To Keep Ivan Milat Behind Bars

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au