Murder, quite possibly the most serious crime in Australia, is something that often both fascinates and repulses us. It even has its own genre – crime fiction is a large and popular category in both literature and film.
Serial killers like Ivan Milat capture public fascination. Perhaps it is the incomprehensible mystery of why some people choose to take the lives of people they didn’t even know.
And considering most murder victims know their perpetrator, crimes like this are rare.
Murder rates in Australia are low compared to other countries like the United States however the murder of complete strangers is not completely unheard of, and unfortunately, is more common than we would like it to be.
Scott Allen Miller was a wanted man ever since the body of a 32-year-old Chinese lady was found in Melbourne not long ago.
He was identified on CCTV footage with another man walking in the area on the night that the woman was murdered. Other footage showed the woman running and being chased by a man.
In the early hours of the morning, a witness saw a man and a woman on the grass near where the body was later discovered.
After Miller was identified, there was a warrant put out for Millers arrest and three days later he was found, after a nationwide man hunt had been commenced.
Before committing the murder, Miller was a homeless man, who was also well-travelled.
Born in California, living in Western Australia, he was also an apparently talented didgeridoo maker in the Northern Territory for several years and had been there just months before the murder. He was apparently known to the police in several states.
After being spotted by police asleep on rocks in Eden’s Snug Cove wharf, more than 500km away from the place where the murder was committed, Miller has since appeared in Batemans Bay Local Court.
The penalty for homicide in New South Wales can be either life or 25 years imprisonment, however in this case the trial will be finalised in Victoria.
Miller, although first appearing in Batemans Bay Local Court is being extradited back to Victoria, which is where his warrant is issued. His case is due to appear later in the month in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Murder consists of two elements, both the act and the intention of the accused and prosecution must prove both in order to discharge the burden of proof that they bear.
However, according to the law in NSW, the intention does not have to have been the intention to kill. This is one of four more general categories of murder. The other three are:
- The act of the accused was done or omitted with reckless indifference to human life;
- Where the act or omission was done to inflict grievous bodily harm on another person; or
- The act of killing of a person while committing a crime of violence, for example using a loaded gun to commit a robbery
In the third scenario, even if a gun was fired unintentionally during an armed robbery and killed someone, the person who fired it may still be found guilty of constructive murder.
During the brief hearing in Batemans Bay Local Court, Miller appeared in court with his hair in a small bun on the back of his head and wearing handcuffs. He stood silently in the court and did not apply for bail.
Murder suspect Miller did not appear to know the victim – so the motive for this crime is not yet clear, and why someone would choose to kill a stranger will perhaps never be comprehensible.
Many people have placed flowers at the place where the unnamed woman’s body was found. Both friends and strangers have paused to remember the woman who was murdered near Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens.