Episode 67

The Search for Mr. Cruel

September 14, 2020   Tags: ,
Apple Podcasts
Billy and Paul look into the unsolved cases of Mr. Cruel out of Melbourne, Australia in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The unknown offender attacked four young girls creating terror in the city.  He wore a black ski mask and was usually armed with a knife and gun. Despite law enforcement knocking on over 30,000 doors, Mr. Cruel has never been caught.  

The First Attack:
At four AM on August 22nd, 1987, a family was sound asleep in their home in the northeastern Melbourne suburb of Lower Plenty when a man who wore a black balaclava made entry to the home. 

He ordered the parents onto to their stomachs, telling them he was just going to take some items from the home. Then he tied them up. He then placed tape over their eyes. Once they were subdued, he locked them in a wardrobe. Next he concentrated on the 6-year-old little boy.

He blindfolded and gagged him. Then he tied him and secured him to his bed. He then trained his focus on his real target at that point: an  11-year-old girl. The offender made her brush her teeth before he began his assault on her. 

Sometime during the assault the girl heard and saw him on the phone. He was threatening someone. The girl heard him tell the person on the other end to move their children or they would be next, even adding in name calling. The offender called the person a bozo. 

At another point during the attack, he stopped to make himself food. When he was done assaulting the young girl, he gave her instructions. Mr. Cruel granted her permission to release her parents, but only after she counted to 100 allowing for his escape. 

The Second Attack:
At 5:45 AM on December 27th, 1988, John Willis woke up to the feeling of something being pressed against his temple and a voice telling him, “Don’t be a hero.” The man holding the gun was in blue coveralls and a black ski mask. In his other hand he held a knife. 

Like the first attack, the intruder incapacited the parents first. This time tying them up with a copper wire but using the same style of knot. But instead of just tape on their eyes, he gagged them and blindfolded them with surgical tape.

The offender then went through the house. Again he cut the phone lines. And again like in the Lower Plenty home more than a year before, the man had a prime target. Despite having four daughters in the home, the offender set himself on one—10-year-old Sharon. 

He called her by name when waking her up. Careful not to wake the younger sisters, she shared the room with. This time he blindfolded and gagged his victim. And he had developed even more of a plan than before. 

He left the house with Sharon. It would take John roughly 15 minutes to free himself. Upon realizing his daughter was missing and the phone lines were cut, he ran to a neighbors house to call police.

Sharon would be found 18 hours later, just after midnight. A woman walking stumbled across the little girl dressed in a man’s shirt and wrapped in green garbage bags. The girl told the woman, “My name is Sharon Willis and I was taken from my home early this morning. A man left me here and told me to go and ring home.” 

The Third Attack:
A house on Monomeath Avenue with two young girls home alone. At 11:30 PM, on July 3rd, 1990, Brian and Rosemary Lynas were still out to dinner. Their two teenage daughters, 15-year-old Fiona and 13-year-old Nicola “Nikki,” were already asleep. The girls were startled awake by a man yelling orders at them. The man, armed with a gun and a knife, tied Fiona up in her bed. He then directed Nikki to get her school uniform and her sneakers. 

He told Fiona to tell her dad he needed to pay $25,000 dollars for Nikki’s safe return. He then took Nikki and stole the family’s own rental car--a Holden Berlina--from the house. 

36 hours after the kidnapping, Brian and Rosemary held a press conference, begging for Nikki’s safe return and agreeing to pay the ransom. 

50 hours after the abduction, Nikki was discovered. She was fully clothed, wrapped in a blanket, wearing a blindfold but still alive. She was dropped off at a power substation in Kew, roughly five kilometers from the family’s home. 

The offender repeatedly told Nikki not to peak from the blindfold, telling her, “My freedom is worth more than your life.”  

The Murder of Karmein Chan:
13-year-old Karmein Chan regularly watched her two younger sisters--nine-year-old Karlie and seven-year-old Karen--while her parents ran the local restaurants they owned in the area. 

On the evening of Saturday, April 13th, 1991, it was no different. The three girls were watching television in Karmein’s room. Karmein and Karlie went to the kitchen around 8:40 PM but they didn’t get a chance to fix a snack. A man in a green-gray tracksuit and black balaclava was waiting for them. He held a knife and told them, “I only want your money. I won’t hurt you.”

He pushed the two younger girls into a closet in the bedroom. He barricaded the door with the bed. Then he left the house with Karmein. She was only wearing a white, short sleeve nightgown and was barefoot. The offender left a message for the Chan’s on their Toyota Camry: "Pay back, Asian drug dealer."

The two younger girls were able to get out of the closet and call their parents. 

The thought was Karmein would be returned alive just like Sharon and Nikki. But after three days, there was no sign of Karmein. Her parents John and Phyllis held a press conference asking for her return.

Nearly a year later, on April 9th, 1992, a man walking along Edgars Creek near a landfill discovered a human skull. Thomaston police were called. Forensically they were able to match the remains to Karmein. She had been shot three times in the head.

Mr. Cruel has never been caught. There are three confirmed cases with sexual assault survivors and the murder of Karmein Chan. Law enforcement believes he may have many other sexual assault victims. There could possibly even be other murder victims. Each victim deserves justice. Remember the description of the house. And the description of him. If you have any theories or information on Mr. Cruel, please contact us. And if you believe you were a victim of Mr. Cruel, please contact us.   


1. Do not name names publicly. Send everything to the police or to this page and we will forward to the police. 
2. Do not post side by side photos.
3. Do not contact any family members. 
4. Do not doxx each other and be civil. We all want the same thing. 

As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to their names.