In his obituary Frank Arkell was described as the public face of Wollongong.
He worked tirelessly for the local community and as Mayor of Wollongong from 1974-1991 became known as "Mr Wonderful Wollongong".
It was common knowledge that everywhere Frank Arkell travelled, “he always touted the beauties and benefits that belong to this beautiful area and his informative input to our meetings will be sorely missed’’.
But the work he did for his community became background noise to a tragic story of death and darkness.
Mr Arkell became the the victim of a twisted killer.
He was found dead in his West Wollongong home on June 26, 1998.
His head had been smashed in with a bedside lamp, the electric cord wrapped tightly around his neck. Tie pins were stuck in his eyes and cheeks.
The horror scene was attended by crime scene police and detectives who, only two weeks earlier, were subjected to the gore the killer left in his wake at an Albion Park address. There a man named David O’Hearn was beheaded and mutilated by the same killer.
Mr Arkell had been mentioned in the Wood Royal Commission's report into the activities of organised paedophile networks in NSW.
He had been embroiled in child pornography and paedophilia scandals in the years leading up to his death.
He was acquitted of child sex offences six months before his murder, but investigations were continuing with further charges to be laid.
But his death shocked the community he served and exposed the depravity of a deranged young man who put Wollongong on the map for all the wrong reasons.
Three months after Mr Arkell’s murders, a young man named Mark Valera turned up at Wollongong Police Station to confess to killing the lord mayor and Mr O’Hearn.
Valera - who changed his name form Mark van Krevel – was a 19 year old local who had never come under police notice.
He lived in different places around the area, including a house with a friend just a few houses down the street from Mr O'Hearn.
At his trial in 2000, Valera claimed that his father, Jack van Krevel, had sexually and physically assaulted him during his childhood, and that this led him to the two murders.
He claimed Mr O'Hearn had sexually propositioned him and this caused flashbacks of his troubled childhood.
And he said Mr Arkell had done the same, and that he was trying to save a child from suffering.
In December 2000, Valera was found guilty of the murders.
He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
He later appealed the sentence, but the appeal was rejected. He is now serving his sentence at Goulburn Correctional Centre.
See next Monday’s Illawarra Mercury Crime Files edition for more insight into the mind of the murderer and the horror that followed with the subsequent slaying of his father.
Click through the gallery above to read archived stories of the case. With thanks to Wollongong City Library for archive retrieval.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.