The Daily Telegraph
The Mutilator dead at 90: William MacDonald, who cut off victims’ genitalia, was NSW’s longest-serving prisoner
- The Daily Telegraph
- May 13, 2015
- William MacDonald was NSW’s oldest and long-serving prisoner
- Touching detective’s penis in a public toilet his first brush with law
- Killings began with MacDonald befriending and drinking with victims
- Blamed his ‘irresistible’ urge to kill on being raped as a teenager
WILLIAM MacDonald, known as The Mutilator and NSW’s oldest and long-serving prisoner, has died in Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital.
MacDonald, who would have been 91 next month, terrorised Sydney in the early 1960s, killing four men in city parks and one earlier in Brisbane by luring them into dark places and then mutilating their genitalia.
Many believe he was Australia’s first high-profile serial killer.
His victims, mostly derelicts, were stabbed dozens of times with a long-bladed knife before MacDonald would cut off their penis and testicles.
Between 1961 and 1962, MacDonald was responsible for a series of grisly murders in Sydney before being caught in Melbourne in May 1963.
Born in England, he arrived in Australia in 1955, when, soon after arriving, he was charged for touching a detective’s penis in a public toilet.
His first victim was Amos Hurst, 55, who MacDonald befriended after meeting him outside the Roma Street railway station in May 1961.
The pair began a massive drinking session and went back to Hurst’s apartment and kept drinking. Williams began to strangle Hurst and killed him with a punch to the head.
Police believed the drunk had died from natural causes but MacDonald fled to Sydney, where his killing spree went into overdrive.
On June 4, 1961, a man’s nude body was found at the Sydney Domain Baths. He had been stabbed more than 30 times and castrated with a long-bladed knife. MacDonald had thrown his genitalia into Sydney Harbour.
The victim, Alfred Greenfield, was approached by MacDonald while he sat on a park bench near St Vincent’s Hospital and then lured to the Domain, where they kept drinking.
His injuries caused a frenzy among the press, who nicknamed him The Mutilator.
Soon after, his next victim, William Cobbin, was stabbed repeatedly and mutilated in a public toilet in at Moore Park.
MacDonald severed his genitalia, placed them into a plastic bag along with his knife and departed the scene.
In March 1962, he killed Frank McLean, stabbing him in the neck in a Darlinghurst lane after a drinking session.
He stabbed him six times before slicing off his genitalia and put them into a plastic bag which he took home and got rid of the next day.
On June 6, 1962, MacDonald went to a bar in Pitt Street, where he befriended a 42-year-old derelict named James Hackett. Again they drank together before MacDonald stabbed him in the neck, then after a struggle stabbed him in the heart. His body was not found for three weeks.
After this murder he fled for a while to Brisbane and New Zealand but returned to Sydney, where a workmate came suspicious about him and went to police, who in turn released the story to the Daily Mirror.
MacDonald had fled to Melbourne but was arrested at the railway station where he was working as a porter.
When questioned, MacDonald admitted to the killings, saying he had an irresistible urge to kill after he was raped as a teenager in England.
MacDonald was imprisoned at Long Bay Hospital and was soon certified as insane and transferred to a secure mental hospital.
Detective William Arthur HARRIS, NSWPF, also investigated these murders.