It was bold and highly premeditative. Mr. Cruel had meticulously planned the attack on Hillcrest Avenue in the Ringwood district of Melbourne, Australia. It was an enormous advance over what he had done in Lower Plenty on August 22, 1987. He had planned it for so long he knew that it would ruin this Christmas for his victim and perhaps many to come. But planning an attack to take place only a couple of days after Christmas ensured that his victim would be home.
Somehow he knew of the 10 year old girl, Sharon Wills. He knew her name. Some think it was because it had appeared in the newspaper about 6 months before, due to a report about a fire in their residence. But that can’t explain how he knew everything else. Somehow he had learned the routines of the household. He knew the father kept the front door key in the lock on the inside of the door. Mr. Cruel ingeniously figured out what to do. He brought paper and a device to gain entry, and he had prepared himself what to do inside.
For this attack was going to be very different from his first attack. He intended to kidnap the small, underage daughter and take her with him. His intent was to hide her in his home, in a specially prepared room, and there sexually assault her while filming it on camera.
Though Attack No. 2 was far quite different, Mr. Cruel was laying down a stalking pattern. Left, above, an overhead of Para and Main, Lower Plenty, Melbourne. The house is near a park and the main roads. Right, Hillcrest Avenue, Ringwood, Melbourne. The house was on a street next to a web of highways and their on- and off- ramps. Both areas were easy to access, surveille, and easy to escape.
Unlike other abductors who kidnapped kids and kept them stashed in a basement for months or even years in order to have one when they wanted to abuse them, he did not want the responsibility of feeding one and taking care of them for a long time. He wanted his own short thrill. Nothing more. He had to carefully work out how to make himself, the girl, and the surroundings so anodyne that no forensic evidence could be traced to him. He intended to do his “thing” and then return her.
This is indeed a cold, calculating, arrogant and selfish mind. But one who had the self assurance and knowledge to get away with it.
In his first attack there was something about his outfit that seemed disposable. It was clothes that didn’t seem congruous– a sport blazer, tight denim jeans, basic running sneakers . . .and underneath a waterproof nylon windbreaker. Every bit of this outfit could simply have been recently purchased at a thrift store and then worn for the attack and then discarded.
For this night, Mr. Cruel selected blue overalls, gloves and a blue ski mask.
The attack had long been planned, but it must have almost seemed foiled. The night of December 26, 1988, the family returned home from shopping– the parents and their 4 daughters. They ate and went to bed. All 4 girls slept in the same room in a set of two bunk beds. Sharon Wills slept quietly with her sisters. But in the master bedroom the father, John, couldn’t sleep. He got up around 2 a.m. and started working on a jigsaw puzzle. About 10 minutes to 5 a.m. he finally turned off the light and went to bed.
Clad in his blue denim overalls, Mr. Cruel must have been watching, having waited who knows how long. Now he would have checked his watch and waited an appropriate period of time. In this case, about 30 minutes. He crept up to the house, to the front door. He slipped newspaper under the door and then pushed the key through the lock and it dropped onto the paper. He gently pulled the paper under the door. He wanted this kid badly. He unlocked the door and entered.
Mr. Cruel had no idea if one of the parents was still awake. The light had only been out about 30 minutes. Dawn was also coming soon. He wasted no time. He burst into the master bedroom. The parents bolted up. Julie, the mother, screamed, but Mr. Cruel put a gun to her head and told her to shut up. He then put the gun to John’s head: “You’re not going to be a hero, are you?” At his orders they rolled onto their stomachs.
The false clues began. As he viciously tied their wrists together with copper wire he demanded to know where John’s wallet was. John nodded to his pants. Greedily pulling out the cash, Mr. Cruel then he demanded the location of Julie’s purse. Curiously, he asked the location of the telephone. He left the room to go get the purse. He would then cut the phone wire. John and Julie were sure that they were only being robbed, but they worried over their 4 girls.
The house was silent for a while until they heard a scream from one of their daughters. This is what had happened:
Sharon had awakened when hearing her mother scream, but she had remained in bed. Now the door to their bedroom opened and man in a ski mask peaked in behind the blinding ray of a flashlight. She acted like she was asleep. He crept up to her and she could hear him breathing. He rolled her over and asked if she was awake. She continued to feign she was sleeping.
He left the room and quietly closed the door. What was up with this? He had called her by name?
Soon he quietly returned and shook her. “Wake up, get up.” She knew she had to awake. He called her by name again and made her get up. He went through her wardrobe and selected another complete set of clothes.
They went into the living room. Mr. Cruel took one of her father’s shirts and wrapped her clothes in it. He also took his coat hanging nearby and made Sharon wear it over her nightie. They then took her to the back porch of the house. Here Sharon screamed, but he shoved a rubber ball in her mouth. He was quite prepared. He didn’t remove it until she agreed not to scream. He blindfolded her and put some kind of material over her head.
The predator was careful. From what Sharon could detect, the man picked her up and walked around to the driveway and then down a ways. He put her down, then he picked her up again and appeared to have changed directions. Soon they were at his car. He had been calming her by telling her that he wasn’t going to hurt her and he was going to send her parents a ransom note. As soon as the banks opened and he got the money, she would be released.
Hillcrest Avenue. The house is next to a corner lot. How did Mr. Cruel scope the area to begin with? He must have been lurking in the backyard. That power pylon corridor is interesting. Where had he parked?
He set her down on the front passenger side and told her to get down. They traveled for some time and then he stopped. He asked Sharon if she could see, and she said yes. He then used tape to blindfold her better and threw a blanket on top of her. They drove some more and she finally felt the car bounce up a driveway. Then it stopped. He got out, came around, opened the side door, and picked her up and led her one step up into a house.
The real nightmare was about to begin, but little Sharon was very brave and collected. She was making mental notes.
Continued in Part 2.
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.