Mark Valera

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Mark Valera
Born (1979-04-24) 24 April 1979 (age 39)
Other namesMark van Krevel
Criminal statusIncarcerated at Goulburn Correctional Centre
Conviction(s)Murder x 2
Criminal penalty2 x life imprisonment without parole

Mark Valera (previously Mark van Krevel) (born 24 April 1979) is an Australian murderer who was convicted in 2000 of the murders of David O'Hearn and Frank Arkell at Wollongong, New South Wales.

Murders[edit]

David O'Hearn was murdered in his Albion Park home on 12 June 1998. His head was smashed in with a wine decanter. He was then decapitated, with his head later found in the kitchen sink. His hand was cut off, and he had been partially disemboweled. Valera had used O'Hearn's hand to draw several satanic pictures on the living room walls.

Frank Arkell, a former Wollongong Mayor and former member of the New South Wales State Parliament, was murdered in his Wollongong home on 26 June 1998. His head had been smashed in with a bedside lamp, with the electric cord wrapped tightly around his neck. Tie pins were stuck in Arkell's eyes and cheeks. Arkell had been mentioned in the Wood Royal Commission's report;[1] he had been embroiled in child pornography and paedophilia scandals in the years leading up to his death, and he had been acquitted of child sex offences six months before his murder, but investigations were continuing, with further charges to be laid.[2]

Confession and conviction[edit]

Three months after the two murders, Mark Valera turned up at Wollongong Police Station to confess to the crimes. Valera (previously known as Mark van Krevel) was a 19-year-old local who had never come under police notice before. He lived in different places around the area, including a house with a friend which was just a few doors down the street from David O'Hearn.

Valera told police that the killing of O'Hearn was "just random" and that he didn't know if O'Hearn was homosexual or not. He had killed Frank Arkell, an alleged paedophile, because he was a "very, very horrible man". At his trial in 2000 Valera attempted to run a homosexual advance defense, claiming that his father, Jack van Krevel, had sexually and physically assaulted him during his childhood and that this had caused him to lose control when each of O'Hearn and Arkell had sexually propositioned him and this caused flashbacks of his troubled childhood. Valera's evidence was that he was propositioned by O'Hearn immediately before the killing occurred while Arkell had seduced him and that they had been in a sexual relationship for more than a year but Arkell wanted him to be the active partner for the first time immediately before Valera killed him. In convicting Valera of murder the jury had rejected the homosexual advance defense. In sentencing Valera to two terms of life imprisonment, Justice Studdert found that Valera's father had been violent towards him, but rejected Valera's evidence that he had been sexually abused by his father or that either O'Hearn or Arkell had propositioned him and that this prompted a loss of self control.[3]

In August 2000, Valera was found guilty of the murders, and in December 2000 he was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.[3][4][5] He later appealed against the sentence, but the appeal was dismissed.[6]

He is serving his sentence at Goulburn Correctional Centre.

Further family issues[edit]

Less than two weeks after Valera became the third-youngest person in NSW to be sentenced to life without parole, his father Jack van Krevel was found stabbed to death in his Albion Park home. It was later found that Valera's sister and van Krevel's daughter, Belinda van Krevel, had 'asked' Keith Schreiber (a friend of Valera's who was also a suspect in the David O'Hearn murder) to kill her father because he was molesting her two-year-old daughter, and blamed him for Mark's imprisonment.[5][7] Schreiber was found guilty of the murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 years.[8] He became eligible for parole in 2012.[9]

Belinda van Krevel pleaded guilty[5] and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of three and a half years.[9][10] She was released from prison on 1 June 2007, saying "I just want to get on with my life".[11] She was subsequently arrested in 2010 and charged with assault and theft.[12] On 5 July 2013 she was arrested again and charged with the stabbing of her boyfriend.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Minus, Jodie (6 June 2009). "Wollongong's past may be too sordid for Underbelly". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  2. ^ Robinson, Gareth (30 August 1998). "Wonderful Wollongong" (transcript). Sundays. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b R v Valera [2000] NSWSC 1220 (21 December 2000), Supreme Court (NSW, Australia).
  4. ^ Gibbs, Stephen (30 June 2006). "Death-plot daughter puts on show for Parole Board". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Connolly, Ellen (10 February 2003). "I hated my father, I wanted him dead". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  6. ^ R v Valera [2002] NSWCCA 50 (12 April 2002), Court of Criminal Appeal (NSW, Australia).
  7. ^ "Woman admits to inciting lover to kill father". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 February 2003.
  8. ^ R v Schreiber [2001] NSWSC 1184 (19 December 2001), Supreme Court (NSW, Australia).
  9. ^ a b Bearup, Greg (31 May 2007). "Death surrounds her". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  10. ^ R v van Krevel [2003] NSWSC 227 (4 April 2003), Supreme Court (NSW, Australia).
  11. ^ "Belinda Van Krevel set for freedom". Nine News. AAP. 19 May 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  12. ^ Wood, Alicia (29 August 2010). "Femme fatale locked up again". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  13. ^ Levy, Megan (5 July 2013). "Belinda Van Krevel charged with boyfriend's stabbing". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2013.