Can cash to solve crimes turn sour?

I’VE always been concerned about rewards being offered to try to solve crimes.

It seems to me that on most occasions when these rewards are handed out they go into the bank accounts of people who are themselves involved in crime.

I read with interest the other day an article about an Englishman and an Australian office worker who are disputing the payment of a reward which led to the arrest of the Brisbane bikeway attacker.

Both were claiming that it was their information which brought the felon to justice.

I noted yesterday that Paul Onions from England had held on to a $200,000 reward he received following Ivan Milat’s conviction.

Milat was, of course, the notorious backpacker killer and remains one of the most evil men in Australian criminal history.

Amazingly Onions refused to cash the $200,000 reward even though he held on to the cheque for many years.

It was Onions’ evidence 20 years ago that saw Milat sentenced to life in prison.

Onions said he saw the $200,000 as blood money and that, if he accepted it, it would never bring him any joy.

He has never been a rich man and you can imagine what the $200,000 would have meant to a 24-year-old backpacker in 1990.

Onions stared down death with Milat after accepting a ride with him on the Pacific Highway south of Sydney.

He broke free of Milat just as the vicious killer was preparing to tie him up. There is no doubt Milat would have killed him and buried him along with the other bodies in the Belanglo State Forest.

Onions’ story is a remarkable one and one that gives you great faith in human nature – unlike the story of the two men who were squabbling over the Brisbane bikeway attacker’s reward.

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