Mr Cruel Attacks

Attributed Mr Cruel attacks

Lower Plenty Attack22 Aug 1987
At 4am on Saturday 22 August 1987, a masked intruder removed a window pane at a residence in Lower Plenty. Armed with a small black handgun and kitchen knife he handcuffed, gagged and tied up the parents and forced them into a cupboard and tied the 8-year-old son to the bed while he assaulted the 11-year-old daughter in different rooms, pausing to bathe her and clean her teeth, snack in the kitchen and check on the parents. He stole several items including an engagement ring, records and men’s clothing.

Abduction of Sharon Wills Ringwood, 27 Dec 1988
At 5.30am on Tues 27 December 1988, Mr Cruel burst noisily into the bedroom of John and Julie Wills in Hillcrest Avenue in Ringwood with a handgun, demanding money and restraining them in a cupboard. The intruder then cut the phone line and proceeded to their daughters’ room with a torch, where he woke 10 year old Sharon Wills. He selected some of Sharon’s clothes from her wardrobe, blindfolded her, and led her to a car. He then drove her to a location where he assaulted, bathed and fed her. During her confinement she was leashed to a bed with a neckbrace and heard planes flying overhead. Sharon was made to wash thoroughly and dress in garbage bags before being released 18 hours later at Bayswater High School.

Abduction of Nicola LynasCanterbury, 3 Jul 1990
At 11.20pm on Tuesday 3 July, Mr Cruel forced his way into a wind-out bedroom window in Monomeath Avenue Canterbury. He woke 13-year-old Nicola and her 15-year-old sister Fiona by tapping on Nicola’s head with a knife. He tied Fiona up, cut the phone wire and took various clothes from Nicola’s wardrobe. He took the car keys from a rented vehicle the family were using, led Nicola outside and drove the vehicle to his own waiting vehicle in Chaucer Avenue. He then drove her to a property where he leashed her to a bed, dressing her in different clothes and calling her ‘Missy’, in between sleeping and instructing Nicola to bathe in order to remove forensic evidence. He made her clean thoroughly then released her in Tennyson Avenue Kew 50 hours later on her 14th birthday.

Abduction and murder of Karmein Chan13 April 1991
On 13 April 1991 thirteen-year-old Karmein Chan was babysitting her two younger sisters at their family home in Templestowe while their parents were working at the family’s Chinese restaurant 10 minutes away. At around 9pm they found a masked man with a large knife in the kitchen. After locking Karmein’s sisters in a cupboard the man dragged Karmein out onto the street. He had earlier spraypainted the words “Asian drug deal” “Payback” and “More anon, more to come” on the family’s car. What happened next is known only to the offender – Karmein’s remains were discovered on 9 April 1992 in a landfill area at the rear of an electricity substation near the corner Mahoneys Road and High Street, Thomastown. She had been shot three times in the back of the head. While the Chan attack is officially considered to be the work of Mr Cruel, due to the differences in MO some detectives have expressed reservations.

Suspected Mr Cruel attacks

Burglary/rape – Donvale, Fri 6 Dec 1985

At 10.30pm on Friday, 6 Dec 1985, the 30-something-year-old victim her 17-year-old sister returned home. The offender, who had broken in through the back door, was waiting inside. Armed with a long-barrelled pistol described as a ‘rusty silver revolver’3, he surprised the victim in the lounge and took her to the bedroom where he tied her younger sister up with pantyhose and locked her in the wardrobe. He then tied up the victim and raped her in another bedroom, calling out to the sister in the wardrobe during the attack. He was described as late 20s-early 30s, slim, clean-shaven with a muscular chest and polite, well-educated accent. He stayed in the house for 90 minutes after the attack, and stole money and ripped the telephone from the wall before leaving . 4

Unconfirmed Mr Cruel attacks

Burglary/rapes Warrandyte and Bulleen, Dec 1985

Within days of the Donvale attack, two other burglary/rapes occurred in nearby suburbs. The offender was armed with a gun in each case.

The first attack in the series was on 30-year-old woman in Warrandyte on Wed, 4 Dec 1985. At 11.10 pm the offender appeared from a walk-in-robe in the victim’s bedroom armed with a gun while the woman was getting ready for bed and raped her. 2 The attacker was wearing a balaclava, gloves and fawn overalls and was described as 30-40, pale complexion, medium build with broad shoulders.

The final attack was on 34-year-old woman in Bulleen just four days later. The victim was asleep with her 6-year-old daughter when she was awoken by the attacker at 11.30pm. He was armed with either a sawn-off shotgun or a silver pistol. The attacker was described as late 20s-early 30s, slim with mousey hair, faded jeans and T-shirt.5

Hampton Abductions – 1985
In February 1985, a 14-year-old girl was abducted from her Hampton home at around 9pm, tied and blindfolded before being driven to a vacant building site and assaulted, then released at Moorabbin Bowl at 2.10am. The perpetrator reportedly said to the victim: “My liberty, my freedom is more important than your life.”

Five months later a 14-year-old Hampton boy was abducted at 8.25pm. He was assaulted at an unknown premises before being released in Caulfield South three hours later.1

Bayside attacks – 1985-1987
According to retired detective Ron Iddles, Mr Cruel is suspected of 12 attacks in total, including a string of assaults in Melbourne’s southern suburbs “down around Sandringham, Brighton”, in which the perpetrator was always wearing a black balaclava. Details of these attacks have not been released to the public, but may well include the two Hampton attacks listed above. Crime writers Andrew Rule and John Silvester have previously listed attacks in Hawthorn, Brighton, Caulfield and Dingley, which may be the same attacks that Ron Iddles is referring to.

Possible Mr Cruel attacks

Attempted abduction – St Albans, 16 Dec 1991
8 months after Karmein Chan’s body was discovered, an unsuccessful abduction attempt occurred on a 12-year-old girl in St Albans while task force detectives were taking a rare night off, prompting speculation the attacker may have had inside knowledge of the investigation. An intruder dressed in a beanie, jeans and a blue check shirt forced open a side window at 2am while the family of 7 slept, and started tying the girl’s hands together, but fled when she woke and started screaming. Dogs tracked his scent to a track 200m away, near power lines. Police noted that while there were some similarities in the attack, including its occurrence during school holidays, there were also some key differences such as the location and the fact that the intruder was wearing a beanie rather than a balaclava.7

Other possible unattributed attacks


  1. Herald Sun, 8 April 2016
  2. ‘Police seek man after rape’, Doncaster and Templestowe News; 10 December 1985
  3. New silver gun terror in rapes‘, The Sun News Pictorial; 9 December 1985; by Michael Reid.
  4. ‘Police seek a new Mr Stinky rapist’ The Age; 12 May 1988
  5. New silver gun terror in rapes‘, The Sun News Pictorial; 9 December 1985; by Michael Reid.
  6. The Age, 4 May 1991; ‘Police hunt for Mr ‘Cruel’The Sun News Pictorial; 19 November 1987; by Jim Tennison
  7. ‘Police warn parents after attack on girl, 12’ The Age, 17 Dec 1991; ‘Mr Cruel kidnap link to bedroom intruder’ SMH, 16 Dec 1991

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