Russell Manser’s tales of backpacker Murderer Ivan Milat and Central Coast shooter Malcom Baker  


A former inmate of Australia’s toughest maximum security jails has revealed what it was like to be locked up with infamous serial killers Ivan Milat and Malcolm Baker.

Reformed bank robber Russell Manser posted a video titled ‘Ivan Milat and other psychopaths’ to his hugely popular Instagram and TikTok accounts, where he vividly describes prison life.

Milat, who was also known as the Backpacker Murderer, died in Sydney’s Long Bay jail in 2019 after 25 years of being shuffled around NSW’s highest security jails.

Former inmate Russell Manser has posted a new video on his popular social media channels that tell stories of prison life, this time recalling his interactions with infamous serial killers Ivan Milat and Malcolm Baker

Manser said he was not impressed by the man who murdered seven people in the 1990s, mostly female hitchhikers that he lured into his car and left in the Belanglo State Forest when they met in Maitland Gaol, which closed in 1998.   

‘Ivan Milat wasn’t a big bloke,’ Manser said.

‘He would have been about five foot, nine inches, maybe 70kg. That’s not a real big bloke in jails, blokes are normally pretty big and fit.

‘He obviously posed no real threat to anyone.’

Milat, who became known as the Backpacker Murderer, bizarrely like to pose in photo as a Wild West sheriff

Milat, who became known as the Backpacker Murderer, bizarrely like to pose in photo as a Wild West sheriff

Manser said that he would ‘have backed himself’ against Milat even if he was wielding an improvised stabbing weapon, known in jails as a ‘shiv’.

He said when his mother visited him in jail she immediately spotted the distinctive killer, whose handlebar moustache and widely published photos posing as a wild west-style ‘sheriff’ displaying weapons had made him instantly recognisable.  

‘My poor old mum… my mum was just a salt of the Earth woman and she goes ‘that’s Ivan Milat’,’ Manser said.

‘I said ‘do you want to meet him?’,’ he asked.

Milat's seven victims were Melbourne couple Deborah Everist (top left) and James Gibson (bottom right), both 19, English backpackers Joanne Walters (bottom left) and Caroline Clarke (bottom second from right), and German backpackers Anja Habschied (top centre), Simone Schmidl (top right) and Gabor Neugebauer (bottom second from left)

Milat’s seven victims were Melbourne couple Deborah Everist (top left) and James Gibson (bottom right), both 19, English backpackers Joanne Walters (bottom left) and Caroline Clarke (bottom second from right), and German backpackers Anja Habschied (top centre), Simone Schmidl (top right) and Gabor Neugebauer (bottom second from left)

She declined, using some colourful language stating ‘that bloke is the devil’. 

Manser claimed that, contrary to widespread belief, Milat was never in special protection to keep him safe from other prisoners, or them from him.

He said Milat gained something of a fan club behind bars. 

‘I didn’t really talk to him but others did,’ Manser said.

Malcolm Baker shot dead six people and an unborn baby during the Central Coast Massacre in 1992

Malcolm Baker shot dead six people and an unborn baby during the Central Coast Massacre in 1992

‘Some of the young blokes were fascinated by him, wanted to hear all his stories.’

Manser was much more wary of Malcolm Baker, who killed six people and an unborn baby during a shooting spree in 1992 that became known as the Central Coast Massacre, after the NSW region where it occurred.

Despite saying that Baker, who has been jailed for life, was ‘pretty f***ing pathetic’, Manser said you had to be watchful around him. 

‘That bloke couldn’t be trusted,’ Manser said.

Manser (pictured with his partner) now runs a support and advocacy group that helps connect survivors of abuse, prisoners, and former prisoners with legal advice and rehabilitation

Manser (pictured with his partner) now runs a support and advocacy group that helps connect survivors of abuse, prisoners, and former prisoners with legal advice and rehabilitation

‘He had really serious anger issues and he would have f***ing put a knife into you from behind,’ Manser claimed.

Manser said that in jail even psychotics such as Baker and Milat were stripped of their menace. 

‘Put a gun in their hand and they can be anything,’ he said. 

‘But… in there they are just another bare bum in the shower.’

Manser (pictured robbing a bank) found himself serving a lengthy sentence at just the age of 23

Manser (pictured robbing a bank) found himself serving a lengthy sentence at just the age of 23

Manser, who grew up in western Sydney, was in trouble with police from the age of 15 and experienced abuse in a boys’ home.

He was only 17 when first put behind the bars of an adult prison for stealing a Porsche.

After being released Manser went on to rob five banks in the early 1990s, stealing $90,000 from the Commonwealth Bank in Lane Cove in Sydney’s north.

He was sentenced to 15 years behind bars at the age of 23, with a non-parole period of seven-and-a-half years.

Since being released from prison Manser has started a support and advocacy group that helps connect survivors of abuse, prisoners, and former prisoners with legal advice and rehabilitation.

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