How the Sydney pub in the center of the COVID-19 outbreak was once a bike haven and Ivan Milat’s drinking hole
The pub at the center of the Sydney coronavirus outbreak has a turbulent history of bicycles, truck drivers, rapists and serial killers.
Crossroads Hotel in Casula, South West Sydney, is now the most notorious pub in the city as the cluster threatens to send NSW back to lockdown.
Locals say the pub has been hugely popular even since the pandemic, and is usually filled to the brim every Friday and Saturday night.
But it’s not the first time the hotel has been spotlighted – with rumors of shady motorcyclist encounters, truck stops and missing backpackers.
A total of 38 cases are now linked to The Crossroads Hotel after a patron with COVID-19 visited the site on July 3
Even people who don’t live in the area and have never been there would know Crossroads (pictured in the 1950s) as the huge hotel is a visible landmark on the way to Sydney
Veteran crime reporter Les Kennedy knew the pub well, having met sources there while working on his biography of serial killer Ivan Milat.
He described it as’ the meeting point of a mix of bikinis and regular boys with a printed shirt. But certainly not some kind of jacket ‘in his book Sins of the Brother.
On the Hume Highway near Liverpool, Milat picked up some of his victims between December 1989 and April 1992.
At the time, it was the last pub in Sydney before travelers drove up the Hume Highway to Melbourne.
This made the area Milat’s favorite hunting ground as it was a place he had known since childhood and where perfect potential victims came.
Milat focused on young people who traveled freely through Australia, who were enthusiastic about their upcoming adventures and less guarded by strangers.
The pub was a favorite spot of serial killer Ivan Milat, who targeted carefree travelers to the area between December 1989 and April 1992.
The missing backpacker, Carmen Verheyden, 22, was last seen outside Crossroads on March 10, 1991, while trying to hitchhike after a party
Another young backpacker, Carmen Verheyden, 22, was last seen sitting on March 10, 1991 outside Crossroads, while trying to hitchhike after a party.
She was not a confirmed victim of Milat, but her disappearance bore a striking resemblance to Milat’s modus operandi.
Another possibility is that Ms. Verheyden has taken an overdose of heroin that she took in the pub, according to a testimony from her roommate during a judicial investigation.
The housemate said she collapsed after she and her boyfriend injected the drug through a man described by police as a “known drug offender.”
Crossroads was the site of another shocking crime in September 2017 when a young mother was raped twice in the bathroom of her hotel room.
Abathur Khamas was jailed for at least two years and four months last year for attacking the woman after a drink in the pub downstairs.
Abathur Khamas (photo) raped a woman twice in her hotel bathroom above the pub after meeting at the bar
CCTV showed him into the pub with two friends and bought the woman he had not met a drink and the pair shook hands when they introduced themselves.
The victim met Khamas’ two other male friends and the group played in the pub’s poker room.
She invited them to her hotel room upstairs, where they drank and took cocaine while playing loud music.
But Khamas took advantage of the situation and raped her twice while they were alone in the bathroom between 3.20 am and 3.30 am.
The woman kicked him and one of his friends, who was not involved in the crime, out of her room, texted her mother and called the police.
He surprises the woman with a drink and the couple shake hands as they introduce themselves
Between 3:20 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., Khamas raped her twice in her hotel bathroom (photo) after inviting him and his friends upstairs to continue drinking
Khamas retained his innocence, but was found guilty of two counts of rape in May 2019. He was controversially released on bail for five months until sentencing.
Crossroads is the oldest pub in the Liverpool area, built in the 1830s and underwent a major renovation in 2017 to make it more expensive.
Pub baron owner Jason Marlow is raking up a lot of money from the pubs, that was it in the top five highest earners in the playroom from July to December 2019.
Mr Marlow was early on the scene in NSW when pubs were allowed to install 30 poker machines from 1997 onwards.
Even people who don’t live in the area and have never been there would know Crossroads, as the huge hotel is a visible landmark on the way to Sydney.
Crossroads (pictured in the 1800s) is the oldest pub in the Liverpool area, built in the 1830s
So far, thirty-eight cases have been linked to the pub, including an 18-year-old bartender who interacted with hundreds of customers while being contagious
Thousands of locals have been tested in the pop-up clinic since its inception on Friday, with three-hour queues still stretching around the huge block on Monday
Before the motorways of Sydney were built, directions to get to them often passed by ‘Crossroads’.
The pub’s popularity and status as a working class watering hole made it the ideal epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak.
So far, thirty-eight cases have been linked to the pub, including an 18-year-old bartender who interacted with hundreds of customers during infectious contacts.
Health authorities confirmed on Tuesday that the cluster was linked to the outbreak that enveloped Victoria and was carried there by a traveler from Victoria.
The Melbourne man went to a Sydney workplace, which has since confirmed cases, before all employees went to a party at Crossroads on July 3.
Ms Musto said the man traveled between Victoria and NSW on June 30 and worked in the freight industry. Six of his colleagues tested positive.
Crossroads has undergone a major renovation in 2017 to make it more expensive