melbourne railways

William ‘The Mutilator’ MacDonald

Reportedly, Liverpool-born William MacDonald didn’t know he was homosexual until he was raped in the army and “realised he enjoyed it”. This unusual response caused him to start obsessively solicit men for sex in public toilets and pubs. He didn’t start killing and mutilating men until he moved to Australia, where he became one of the country’s first recorded serial killers. The murders started, almost accidentally, in Brisbane, when he met a 55-year-old man called Amos Hurst and began drinking with him. He took Hurst back to his home where they continued to drink, becoming more and more intoxicated. In the early hours of the morning, MacDonald suddenly strangled Hurst so much that he hemorrhaged: Blood burst out of his nose, all over MacDonald’s hands.

After this murder, MacDonald became more and more infatuated with killing. He moved on from strangling, and stabbed his victims instead. Almost as if taking revenge on his rapist, he would mutilate their bodies by cutting off their genitalia, and the media dubbed him ‘The Sydney Mutilator’. He threw one victim’s scrotum into the Sydney Harbour, and would take others home to keep in his refrigerator. 

After several witnesses came forward, Police finally had an accurate sketch and began sending it out to every major newspaper in the country. Although he had tried to disguise himself by growing a mustache and changing his hairstyle, his colleagues at Melbourne Railways still recognised him and called the police. Surprisingly, he admitted to the killings, blaming them on an irresistible urge to kill and the rape he had experienced as a young man. Shortly after confessing to the crimes he was charged with four counts of murder.