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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Samantha Holland's jilted lover sentenced




Joel Betts knew what was coming.  His girlfriend Samantha Holland was going to walk in the door any minute to collect her things and walk out of his life forever.  But he wasn't going to let that happen, he had made up his mind to kill her and then kill himself.

When Samantha went to the Waldorf Apartments in Chippendale, an inner Sydney suburb, he wasn't supposed to be there, he told her he would be at an all day work function.  She had no idea of what was about to happen next, one and a half hours of brutal, bloody terror that will stay with her forever.   What she went through was so shocking, judge Robert Toner said it was beyond anything he could have imagined.






He lied about being at a work function that day and Samantha was shocked to find him there.  Betts had already decided that she would never walk out of the apartment alive, but she wasn't as easy to kill as he thought.

He pleaded with her to change her mind but she refused and as she turned to walk out to meet her brother Todd, who was parked outside waiting to help her move out, Betts blocked her path and stabbed her eight times with a kitchen knife.

The terror continued and he went on to stab Samantha a further 20 times in the back, neck, shoulder, hand, cheek, chin and arm.  As he was stabbing her he said "We will die here together then we will be together for eternity."  Samantha screamed at him to stop and said "You'll go to jail, everyone will know it's you" but it made no difference.

She was now petrified when he cut off her last hope - her brother waiting outside.  He used her mobile phone to text him saying "We are staying together...I'll call you soon".  He also sent a message to her mother saying "Mum, I love you."



Members of the Betts family



In agony and covered in blood, Samantha knew she had to weaken him somehow.  Thinking about the Romeo and Juliet scenario she said "If we're going to do this together, then I should have a turn of the knife".   So he gave her the knife and she stabbed him in the stomach but he was still too strong, and she had no hope of getting away from him.

Samantha said "There's a good quote in the latest Harry Potter book about death and I want to read it to you."  When he left the room to find the book, she knew this was her last chance to escape.  Incredibly, she found the strength to make her way outside and was spotted swinging from the third-floor balcony, trying to get to the apartment below, covered in blood and wearing only her underwear.





Judge Toner yesterday sentenced Betts to a non-parole period of 11 years and said "These offences, each vile and inhumane, are not less so because he planned to kill himself at the same time."

Broadcaster Alan Jones who has known Betts for 10 years and provided him with a character reference, was in court when he was sentenced.  Jones said he met Betts in the week of the attack to give advice on a business he was developing that linked charities and the corporate sector.

Joel Betts hosted a celebrity show on Foxtell and interviewed Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee and Toni Collette.  He founded his own marketing company Won Group and used to work for Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey as a volunteer.  He was also a contestant on the reality television show Australian Survivor.

Betts told the court he endured a traumatic childhood at the hands of his violent step-father and he was in financial difficulty.

Ms Holland said "I'm still haunted by the look in his eyes as he towered over me and stabbed me in the neck."