Possessed by the Devil

01.12.2013

tags: Homicide, South Australia Police, Coober Pedy,

discussion: 0 comments

By Brett Williams

From the December 2013 issue of the APJ.

An innocent three-year-old child died a death of unspeakable brutality at the hands of his own father. To establish that fact, and find his dumped body, South Australia's Major Crime detectives had to confront the killer's mental illness.

Little Imran Zilic never stood a chance - not against his insane, homicidal father in the isolation and early-morning silence of the outback. The dark-haired, doe-eyed three-year-old could no more fend him off than he could understand why his own parent was attacking him with a steak knife.

Possession

Aliya Zilic, who suffered from mental illness and used amphetamines and marijuana, had conceived the bizarre notion that Imran was possessed by the Devil. He believed he had seen him ‘flipping his legs’ and ‘doing the most weird stuff’ on a bed in a Coober Pedy dugout in which the pair was staying. To 32-year-old Zilic, who had separated from Imran’s mother, Mirsada Halilovic, this was evidence of the possession – and the reason he had to kill his son. He drove him to a remote location off the Stuart Hwy, about 50km south of Coober Pedy.  There, in preparation for the killing, he slapped Imran in the head, intending to knock him out and thereby spare him the pain of the knife blade. Next, he laid his son on the ground near a disused mineshaft, around seven metres deep and 80cm in diameter. Then came his depraved knife attack: repeated maniacal slashes of the child’s throat ...

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