She was given a 15-month jail term – not the first time she’d been sent to prison, in fact – for stealing an elderly woman’s handbag.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart called her actions “pathetic”.
In the long list of ways Belinda Van Krevel has bluntly ignored the law, a handbag snatch sits on the lower end of a crime spree that includes murder. More than once.
But if last month’s petty theft is anything to go by, Australians can be sure of one thing: Over the course of two decades, Belinda Van Krevel has a perpetual inability, perhaps even a deliberate inability, to stay on the right side of the law.
To understand Belinda, you must first understand Belinda’s family.
Born to Jack Van Krevel and Elizabeth Carroll, Belinda and her brother Mark were raised by their father after their mother left the family when she was just a toddler.
In a 2001 profile about her family, journalist Greg Bearup wrote for The Good Weekend the Van Krevel’s is “a story about a world without compassion”.
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“A story where people are murdered and mutilated because someone ‘felt like killing someone’. A place where the normal bounds of morality have no meaning.”
In June 1998, Mark Valera – who changed his name as an adult out of a deep dislike for his father – approached a shopkeeper by the name of David O’Heard, who he had seen pottering in his garden earlier that day.
He asked him if there was any accommodation around, perhaps a boarding house?
“I had it in my mind that I just wanted to kill someone that day,” he later told police.
He entered O’Hearn’s home, waited until he was facing away, grabbed a wine decanter and hit him across the back of the head. What ensued from there was a horrifying murder. The Illawarra Mercury have since described the scene as one that “haunted many seasoned police officers” for years to come.