After his kidnapping of and repeated assaults upon 13 year old Nichola Lynas, Mr. Cruel became a household name in Australia. With these 3 accepted attacks, it was clear he was an ongoing menace. To fully appreciate why Melbourne held him in such dread for only 3 attacks it is necessary to understand a few things. Each of the attacks came after an interim of about 1.5 years– the first in August 1987, then the second in December 1988, then the last one discussed was in July 1990. It didn’t seem he was going to stop, and he didn’t mind waiting for a long time. Melbourne realized he could and would strike again. The citizens braced themselves and waited.
It was still mysterious how he selected his under-aged victims, and this kept people on edge. It must have been done very carefully and over a period of time, so carefully it was unnerving. For his attack on Victim No 2, Sharon Wills, he knew the family kept the key in the front door. He came ready with a tool to push it through and a piece of paper to slip under and catch it and then pull it gently out under the door so he could unlock it.
All of this planning paled compared to the lengths he took to prevent forensic evidence. For his first known attack he wore a nylon windbreaker underneath his clothes. Bizarre but knowledgeable. And in taking into consideration the vast and unfortunate vault of true crime, quite a bit overkill. Since that time serial rapists and killers have struck without 10 percent as much aforethought taken to preventing evidence and still they escaped into the night. Mr. Cruel was obsessive in details, and in not wanting anything that could lead to him.
Either he was very smart or very dumb. . . . or he was not an obscure citizen.
Yet he laid down a pattern. It is impossible for anything that acts from volition not to leave a pattern. Let’s start to have a look at that here in hopes of taking the preliminary steps to outing the aptly named villain “Mr. Cruel.”
With his attack on Nichola Lynas, he broke his previous pattern. He ventured far from a highway or main road into the suburban communities of north and east Melbourne where he struck. Monomeath Avenue was so deep within the old grid of city streets in Canterbury he had to park his junker of a car on Chaucer Crescent, walk across Canterbury Road and up Monomeath in order to access the house. Obviously, this prevented him from walking his kidnapped victim back to the parked car. As a result he stole the family’s rental car from the driveway.
1, Monomeath Avenue; 2, Chaucer Crescent; 3, Canterbury Road.
If Nichola is correct, he now did something strange. Hidden on the floorboard at his orders, she felt that when he pulled out he went in the direction of Mont Albert, turned left and then later turned left again and came to the street where they parked. They got out, walked a little bit and got into his own car.
Mont Albert is in the opposite direction of Chaucer Crescent. He could have simply pulled out on Monomeath, crossed Canterbury and then turned onto Chaucer Crescent and Bob’s your uncle. What was the point of not doing so? Mr. Cruel knew the family car would be found parked on Chaucer Crescent. This would tell the police in general where he had parked his own car. It seems pointless not going there direct.
1, Monomeath; 2, Mont Albert; 3, Canterbury Road; 4, Chaucer Crescent. That is not a main highway to the south of Chaucer. It is a railroad track.
But the overall area of Chaucer Crescent does indicate he had parked near the park there. Perhaps this is also how he had stalked the area– jogging or biking. (Still, how he had come across Nichola Lynas so that his brain became so heated he had to take the extra risks in this posh neighborhood is unfathomable.) He apparently felt he left no forensic clues in the family car. This reflects his pattern of wearing a unique set of clothes for the occasion of the attack and then destroying them.
He turned up and down many side streets on his way to his secret lair. It took some time, but Nichola finally arrived at the place where she would endure 50 hours of bizarre sexual assaults. She was able to count the number of jets that flew over and noted they sounded like they were landing in the distance. This suggested to police that Mr. Cruel’s nasty abode was under the flight pattern of the Melbourne International Airport at Tullamarine. More specific than that, however, they could not pinpoint it.
From the description of both girls (Wills; Lynas), the lair was not big. Each knew there was a bedroom, a bathroom, a separate toilette, and a kitchen. The driveway was on the right side of the house, and the house a step up. There was a slider door in the bedroom covered by a full length drape. There was a case in the bedroom that was covered with a towel, indicating something was therein that was a dead giveaway to Mr. Cruel’s identity.
But Nichola gave us more clues than Sharon. When Mr. Cruel led her from the abode to that junker car of his, she said it was about 5 steps on the driveway from the side door, and they went through the kitchen to get to the driveway. Obviously, he didn’t take them to and from the house via the front door, and the side door through which he took them was right off the driveway and this was in the kitchen. There was no garage.
But far more important is one intriguing fact which is implicitly contained herein. It tells us about his front yard. Mr. Cruel did not fear neighbors seeing him lead a blindfolded girl out to his car.
All these are clues on the type of lair and its location on a street.
But there is a bigger picture here that helps us track Mr. Cruel. There is his relatively tight area of catch and release, if you will. He remained within the east and northeast of Melbourne. His attacks on Wills and Lynas, and soon on his final victim, Karmein Chan, will reveal that he used the M3 Highway. He may have driven Wills and Lynas around hither and thither to confuse them as to where they were being taken, but he had no need to do that for his first attack in Lower Plenty. He invaded the home and sexually assaulted the 10 year old victim within the house while her parents were tied up in their bedroom.
Since Mr. Cruel did not need to hide the location of his evil lair here at No 1, he must have taken a fairly direct route to Para and Main Road, near where the house of the victim was situated. The same is true when he returned to his abode. The M3 is no good for getting to and leaving from Lower Plenty. Thus we have more than one route to which Mr. Cruel limited himself. The first was not a highway, and then when wishing to access his next victims further to the southeast of Lower Plenty, he chose the M3.
We now have the clues in place that allow us to narrow down and start looking in a community under the Melbourne airport flight path. But first, we must look at his final attack in our next Mr. Cruel post. More clues will help lead the way.
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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.