The chilling and unsolved tale of ‘Mr. Cruel’

A police sketch of ‘Mr. Cruel’, in his creepy disguise

If it came to light that the bogeyman existed, he would surely be shown to be possessing the body of ‘Mr. Cruel’.

The mystery man, known only by his pseudonym, was a paedophile based in Melbourne, Australia, active in the late 80s and early 90s. He is responsible for the abduction and rape of three young girls in the area; as well as highly suspected to be accountable for the murder of a fourth.

Despite the long time scale that has passed since he committed his crimes, the obsession and thirst to bring him to justice still remains to this day. Police in Victoria offer a $1,000,000 reward for any information that leads to his arrest and conviction.

The creepy mask that Mr. Cruel wore has become a symbol of fear in the neighbourhoods he terrorised. And it was in August 1987 that the man, and the mask first appeared. Cruel broke into a family home in the early hours of the morning as winter was coming to an end in Lower Plenty, Melbourne. Armed with a knife and a gun, he proceeded to cut the phone lines of the home before tying up the unsuspecting parents of the unnamed, 11-year-old girl that he was about to abuse.

Whilst the parents were locked away in the wardrobe, Cruel subjected the girl to an eight hour ordeal in which she was repeatedly raped. She was bathed carefully during and after the act, before being left by Cruel to release her family once he had fled.

A year later, Sharon Wills, aged ten, was abducted from her home by Cruel, and taken to his lair for a twisted sexual attack that lasted for eighteen hours, before she was released at a local high school. Nicola Lyns, a thirteen year old from Canterbury was given similar treatment in 1990, when she was taken and abused for fifty hours in Cruel’s home before being given her freedom.

Mr. Cruel has been linked to the 1991 murder of Karmein Chan, a 13-year-old snatched from her home only to be found dead one year later with three gun shots to the back of her head. Police cannot be certain of the events that followed the abduction, or whether Cruel was even involved.

Crime Stoppers reward poster for Sharon Wills, Nicola Lynas and Karmein Chan

The police have been taken aback by the level of intelligence displayed by Mr. Cruel in his toe-curling crimes. He bathed the victims and replaced their clothes to destroy forensic evidence, whilst also leaving red-herrings to throw off investigators – such as posing as a burglar to the parents of the children when entering their homes. A character profile of the evil predator revealed that he is likely to be known as a ‘good neighbour’, with an obsessive-compulsive character, with no real evidence on the surface to suggest that he is a man of monstrous intentions.

Despite searching 30,000 homes and interviewing 27,000 suspects over the attacks, the police appear no closer to cracking the case. They have narrowed the search down to seven potential suspects identified by the Australian authorities, with the assistance of the FBI, but without sufficient evidence to pin any of them to the crime, their hands are firmly tied. But, their resolve to bring this monster to justice remains, as they have stated that the case will not be closed until it is solved.

Three decades since the bogeyman haunted Melbourne, he is believed to still be alive, and we can only hope for his conviction before he finally passes on, to become no more than a horror story from years long past.

If you have information regarding this case, please contact Crime Stoppers Australia on +61 1800 333 000