Mark Mala Valera: The Butcher of Wollongong

Gruesome in the Extreme

Map of Australia, showing major cities and Wollongong
Map of Australia, showing major cities and Wollongong

On the morning of Saturday, June 13, 1998, the shockingly mutilated body of 59-year-old shopkeeper David John O'Hearn was discovered laying on the floor of the lounge room at his townhouse where he lived alone at Albion Park, about 20 km southwest of the steelworkers city, Wollongong, situated on the coast about 90 km south of Sydney.

Police described the scene as "gruesome in the extreme." The body of the deceased was decapitated and the head had been deposited in the kitchen sink. The left hand was severed and was found resting on a sofa in the lounge room. There were deep incisions to the abdomen and deep wounding extended from just above the sternum down to the mid point of the abdomen.

A post-mortem examination revealed five intersecting and parallel incised wounds on the lower chest affecting both right and left sides. Wounding to the abdomen exposed the shaft of a hammer which had been inserted through the anus. The head of the hammer was visible between the buttocks of the deceased who was lying with his jeans and underpants lowered to a point about the knee.

The deceased's penis had been mutilated and intestinal material had been disturbed. Near the foot of the body was a silver-colored tray on which a section of bowel was resting. On the breakfast bar in the kitchen a number of sections of intestine were found lying.

On the floor near the deceased were a number of knives and other implements that had either been used to mutilate the body or were placed there for that purpose. These items included a small metal saw, four knives, a razor blade and a cork screw. There was an abundance of blood staining on the carpet near the body and there was blood splatter on items of furniture and curtains.

Blood-smeared wine decanters sat on top of a blood-stained lamp table, and the word Satan had been written in blood on a mirror suspended above the table. The word  Satan had also been written in blood on the wall above the lounge suite upon which the severed hand was resting, and immediately above, also written in blood, was a pentagram — the star shaped geometrical figure with five points used as a magical or occult figure. On the wall beside the television set, an inverted cross had been drawn in blood.


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