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A Shopping List for Murder - Part Ii: Robyn's Story of Rebuilding Her Life After a Serious Crime

A Shopping List for Murder - Part Ii: Robyn's Story of Rebuilding Her Life After a Serious Crime

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A Shopping List for Murder - Part Ii: Robyn's Story of Rebuilding Her Life After a Serious Crime

296 Seiten
5 Stunden
Dec 5, 2013


This story is about a woman who suffered a serious assault as a result of her husbands actions. Once he had been through the court system, and was imprisoned the story didn't end. Robyn had to rebuild her world and start again, always considering she could be harmed again. Slowly, step by step, she did the things she could to start her new life. Her world had to change totally.

The story tells of that rebuilding, of the laughs, tears, and challenges that she faced every step of the way. In the background, she had the support of members of New Zealand Police, both working and retired who supported, encouraged, laughed with her. Without their support the story would have been totally different. This story tells of one woman's life after a crime that the Public would never see.
Dec 5, 2013

Über den Autor

Robyn was raised on a Farm and after being educated in the City dreamed of once again living on the land. She finally realised that dream in the 1990's when she moved to a picturesque valley in the New Zealand Canterbury Foothills, breeding a rare type of beef cattle, and living in a large mansion. Her life appeared perfect, until one day her secret was let out. As a result of an emergency phone call to the Police, after her husband attacked her while on bail for a previous attack, an ordeal started that would forever shape the rest of her life. Her husband was imprisoned for some of his crimes, and Robyn was left to pick up the pieces of her life after serious trauma. Once she felt she had lived her dream, and dealt with the New Zealand Court and Justice system she had to totally renew her way of living. Step by Step, in her own way, she did what she could to gain happiness once again.

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A Shopping List for Murder - Part Ii - Robyn Beveridge



New Life

If I were you, I would forget your money, go home, pack your bags and get out of there. Just get well away and don’t come back—Ever. You should never have that man in your house again. The Policeman said as he escorted me home after yet another incident with my soon to be, former husband.

Shaken by his words, but still in denial as to what was obvious to the Police—the fact that my husband was to become an even more serious offender—I felt numb. The Policeman had seen this all before. I didn’t believe it.

Later the words were to become true, after my former husband made two serious attempts on my life.

I survived—just.

It took me nearly four years to come to terms with the advice of that Policeman. Four years to discover that the man I had married was nothing like the man I thought or wished he was, and four years to finally start to let go if the past.

Everything had to go. That life had to finish. And, more importantly, I had to be prepared to let it go.

The picturesque farm was now empty. Possessions and Livestock had gone. The husband had gone forever. The family was split. There was an eyrie silence that morning.

Three days later I finished packing my recently purchased 24 year old Mitsubishi campervan.

I looked at all the necessities I would need for this unknown life, and just had to leave the rest of my possessions. They couldn’t go with me, and were too expensive to store. Maybe it was for the best? I am sure some book of psychology would say that? I wasn’t in a state of mind to think anything was good, and could not see anything positive about the future.

Slowly the old campervan was filling up; 2 cups, plates, knives and forks, fry pan, needle and thread, computer, printer, paper, pens, clothes, food, water, bedding, a change of sheets, and two towels. What else would I need? I had no money, and no idea what would happen. With such limited space there was no room for extras.

Maybe I will pack 4 cups and plates and knives and forks? I said to my son, as I reluctantly ticked items off my list.

"Mum, who is going to visit you? Who is likely to visit you if you live on the streets?

NO! You can only take two of each item, and that is it. You can not have any more; you don’t have room and you won’t need such a lot of stuff."

Hmmm, I suppose you are right I replied sighing.

I don’t want to do this, I want to turn the clock back and live like I did.

NO! you cant, you can’t go back, and this is your life now. EVERYTHING has to change. You have to do this,’ the wee voice inside me said sternly.

I decided to sleep in the old campervan for the first time that night. It was winter, and a very cold night. I froze. Icicles formed on the windows and ceiling as my breath condensed.

August 09 2003

The next day the sun shone, and after making my first breakfast as a ‘Vagrant’ in my mobile home (I termed myself as a Vagrant, who is someone who isn’t sure where they are going, instead of a transient who has little hope) then with a heavy heart, I took my final walk through my dream home, looked around the 23 rooms of the mansion I had worked for and loved so much and, one by one, closed each beautiful solid wood door physically and mentally.

I felt sick as I turned the key in the big door for the last time. This was goodbye.

Climbing into the driver’s seat, I turned the key, waited for the old diesel motor to warm up, took a deep breath and slowly drove out the front gate.

Never look back an old lady said to me a few weeks before. I didn’t. I had lived my dream and knew that there was no point continuing or trying to bring back my old life. It had gone due to my former husband’s actions.

It was a long slow drive to the City that afternoon. I didn’t take the normal route for the 100 kilometre trip, but took different roads, to symbolise the totally new world I had just entered. I may never come here again. What would happen to me? What would I do? How would I manage, and what was my future? I had no idea.

Fear of the unknown and sadness consumed me. I felt totally lost.

That evening I had been invited by friends to a small restaurant in the City. We want to have dinner, and wish you well on your adventures, they said.

It was dark and raining heavily when I pulled up into the car park just outside the restaurant. I wasn’t used to being by myself, and so was nervous as to where to meet them. Should I go inside? Should I just wait till I see them in the car park? What if they were already inside and could see me just sitting not knowing what to do?

I don’t like this. I don’t know what to do. I had always had a family or workmates or hubby to go to dinners and functions with me.

Finally, to my relief, I saw the couple in the window of the restaurant. Thank goodness I had someone who could meet me there.

We sat down and enjoyed a nice meal. Sadly, I found time went far too quickly. We were soon saying our goodbyes, with my friends walking arm in arm across the car park to their vehicle.

A huge feeling of envy came over me. They had homes to go to, they had family. They had each other. I was totally alone, with no home, and had no idea what would happen to me tonight, let alone in the next few months.

Intense sadness consumed me. Tears and more tears as I unlocked the door on that cold, dark, raining evening.


The Plan

Right! Enough of this sad stuff, take a deep breath, and start the motor and this story!

I composed myself a little, got into the driver’s seat, pointed to the West, driving another 80 kilometres until I was deep into the hill country, just below the mountains that I had known all my life. I parked just off the main road in a clearing by the river.

I would sleep here tonight.

It was pouring with rain, dark, remote, with no people for tens of kilometres. I chose this place to start my new life. The gentle roar of the mountain fed braided river and the odd vehicle crossing the nearby Pass, my only company.

This will be my home till something else turned up.

I squeezed through a small opening from the driver’s seat, into the back of the camper, made a hot drink on the gas cooker, and climbed up the wooden ladder to the very narrow cramped bed above the cab. Get used to this kid; this is your life now. No more super king luxurious beds and 8 bed roomed mansions for you!

I cried myself to sleep that night. It was dark, remote and I was scared beyond description. Aloneness and fear consumed me.

The next morning I awoke to birds singing on a beautiful sunny winter’s day. I made some breakfast. Hot coffee and toast cooked above the gas flame were just what a depressed person needed. What luxury!

I had things to do… I had to go to the city and sort out legal matters, bank accounts, and check that I had enough provisions to carry out my next adventure.

The Plan for the next year would be as follows:

•   To get used to being alone in a totally new world.

•   To figure out how to remake the money I needed for my future.

•   To find something to do.

•   To try and stop this constant flow of tears.

Oh and the other detail… none of this would involve REAL WORK.

Real work, hadn’t worked for me, I had worked my guts out for years, only to lose everything in one phone call when I rang the Police to report my ex husband’s offending nearly 4 years ago. That call, changed my life forever and I would never recover to be the same person again.

Working my guts out for others was now out of the question.

‘There has to be another way of living?’ I thought to myself.

Three days later on August 12, I met with a senior policeman near Christchurch to thank the police for their efforts in looking after me, to say goodbye, and to say that I had bought the old campervan and planned to travel for a while just to have a rest from my ordeals. I would miss them.

I drove west again, and helped pack up the last of the furniture from the farm in a container for my former husband as his lawyers had dictated. Okay, tell me off for being stupid, but I didn’t want to leave the new owners with a mess. The last thing I needed was to be hounded for years afterwards by the lawyers and the Court system. I couldn’t face that. I had been caught up in the claws of the NZ Justice system for nearly 4 years, ever since I had made that emergency phone call that nearly cost me my life, and I needed to get away from all that stuff. Life had become unbearable within it.

The legal system had forced me to give my former spouse the possessions, but as he was in Jail, it was up to me to ensure the goods were taken from the farm, to storage for the inmate. That is the nature of our Justice system, its fine for the Legal system to make orders that people get possessions etc, but how that is achieved is not even considered. Simply not fair. I was the victim of a serious crime and yet the system made me pack up and give the offender most of our possessions? I will never understand that.

My son’s girlfriend at the time was flatting with him, and as she hadn’t travelled a lot in this country agreed to come with me for a few days, to test the campervan and have a short holiday. It would help me get used to being a ‘Vagrant’. My new world was so far from my past life, there was no comparison.

We travelled to the West Coast of the South Island, famous for its Pounamu, or greenstone jade, precious to the Maori people in this country. We spent time looking at shops and watching some of the greenstone being carved. And of course had to see the Hokitika glass blowers produce their art works—well, that would have been the official story, we actually weren’t always looking at the glass blowing, but the glass blowers themselves. They certainly had muscles!

My matrimonial property lawyer contacted me and confirmed that there had been an error in the contract for selling the farm, and I now owed tens of thousands in taxes. I had years of legal problems and now this was almost too much to take—more money lost, when will it end? My former spouse’s actions had caused the farm to be sold, and yet, I had to be responsible for everything as we had a business partnership, while he sat in his Jail cell getting free food and accommodation.

We parked near the beach at Hokitika, a major town on the West Coast (of the South Island), and settled in to sleep for the night. In true West Coast fashion, it rained and rained. If you are on the West Coast you expect it to rain, but what I wasn’t expecting was the number of leaks in the roof of my old campervan—it leaked like a sieve! Every pot, bucket and towel had to be placed around the vehicle to try and catch the drips. The bedding was sopping wet in places.

Soaked bedding, towels and clothes hung all around the inside of the Camper, and although the weather had improved considerably, the forecast was predicting snow. Not the best start for an adventure.

The further south towards Haast we travelled the more remote the rugged ‘Coast’ became. Not a place to be in a storm as the roads often had falling rocks, flooding and landslips. It would be too dangerous to stop here so we decided to continue south east, and take an inland route through to Wanaka.

It was nice having company on this first trip, but difficulties soon showed themselves. Arron’s girlfriend became quite distressed being away from him as she was used to having people around her, and found the remoteness of this countryside too much to enjoy. I was not happy about having to give up my life, especially not knowing what my future held.

Two sad females in one vehicle were worse than one.

The girlfriend just wanted to go ‘home’. I wanted to go home, but didn’t have one. Not a good combination to enjoy a holiday.

We could have continued on with this adventure, but the reality was it was best to turn north again, and go back to Christchurch and drop off my seriously love sick passenger, and, just as importantly get my roof fixed.

A week later I was planning my first adventure alone. I decided, as I couldn’t figure out where or what to do, that I would go to the top of New Zealand and travel to the bottom. Something might guide me in one direction or another and I would have a rest from my constant legal battles if I couldn’t be found for a while. I would cover the entire country in one trip, north to south and see if I could come up with some sort of Plan.

It was also imperative for my future, to start investing. I needed income for my old age, and my divorce had chewed through thousands and thousands of dollars. Most went on payments to my former husband, legal fees, matrimonial property lawyers, court orders, and taxes.

How could I start? Question, after question entered my head.

My campervan had been purchased with my portion of the money from the sale of animals when I left the farm. I didn’t even have enough to actually buy the Campervan, so had to put the last thousand dollars on my bankcard.


Real Estate

I had always dabbled reasonably well with Real Estate. Now was the time to do that again, this time unhindered by people saying No, you can’t do that?

No excuses now, as I only had myself to blame if things went wrong, or maybe even give myself a pat on the back if things went right.

Time to do something. There is nothing wrong with feeling sorry for yourself, after all I had lost everything I had ever worked and lived for, but you need to be productive too, so cry by all means, but also, between the tears, get into gear and do something. Perhaps I would start by an hour of each thing! Yes, that would be my plan. I would cry for an hour, and then Plan and do something positive in the next hour. That seemed to be a beginning plan!

I went to a Real Estate Agent and asked if they had any older homes on their books suitable for renting out. Buying a house, painting it, and tidying the garden, and then renting it out, would get me started on future income. I could use the rents to pay off the mortgage, and once paid off; the rents would provide income for my old age. It was the only thing I could think of, as I was now in my mid 40’s and had to rebuild my finances as soon as possible.

Get a Job? NO! Firstly, I never felt safe if I had a fixed location, and fixed work area, due to the actions of my former husband, and secondly, I had worked my guts out for years, and lost nearly everything, so REAL work hadn’t been good for me. This time I had to do things differently, and I would find a way of working for myself.

The Real Estate Agents I saw that day just looked at me with my second hand clothing, seeing my old campervan parked nearby and said, You go and find something and we will help you buy it. Meaning we don’t want someone of your obvious ‘character’ wasting our time. Moments later I would be shown the door.

Cant you show me any houses?

No was their reply time and time again.

One day I visited four Real Estate agents in an Area. Time and time again they told me to go away and find a house myself. They were looking at a middle aged woman, who obviously was a failure, didn’t have a job, and lived a weird lifestyle in her campervan, and just wanted her out of their offices so the more ‘normal’ clients could be helped. They wanted clients with money, or borrowing power, not this perceived gypsy, dreamer and time waster.

I had been to two Agents before lunch and another couple after lunch. Should I give up? Maybe this idea won’t work? I was very depressed, nothing was going my way, and all I wanted was to have a home again.

‘You don’t have a home you silly woman, that life is gone, stop looking back, and get on with things.’ I told myself sternly.

In desperation, I decided to drive back to my son’s flat to sleep in his driveway for the night. As I was driving back to his flat I noticed one more Real Estate Agents Office at a small shopping centre.

‘I might just try this last one,’ I thought to myself. I have nothing to lose.

I indicated to the left and pulled into the car parking area around the back of the small block of shops. After climbing into the back of my ‘home’ I brushed my hair, walked out the back door and round to the Reception Area of that Real Estate Agent’s office.

Can I help you? The receptionist asked politely.

Yes, I am looking for an older house to buy; do you know if you have any on your books? I asked.

Let me see… hmmm… Arthur may be able to help you, I will see if he is in.

She pushed some buttons and talked to someone, before asking me, Do you have some time? Arthur says he is tied up at the moment but can come and have a chat with you in about 15 minutes?

I had plenty of time. I had a lifetime that afternoon.

I am happy to wait I replied, thinking ‘what else have I got to do today?’

Fifteen minutes later, an older, well dressed man emerged from a corridor into the reception area, and came and sat beside me. How can I help you? He asked.

I explained my Plan to buy a house for an investment.

Arthur thought for a moment, and something between him and I clicked. He understood me rather than saw me as a waste of time. He said later he learned years ago not to judge a book by its cover, and consider every purchaser able to give him a sale.

Arthur looked at me and said, Can you give me 30 minutes, I need to finish off a contract for someone, and set up something. Give me 30 minutes and I will be back.

He disappeared to the rear of the building, and then emerged sometime later. Come round to my car, and I will take you somewhere. I have something to show you. It just could fit your requirements.

We walked to the back of the building, where Arthur commented on the old Campervan parked next to his car. That’s my home I was able to explain. Oh he replied, doing his best to be polite. You must like being a gypsy.

I didn’t reply.

I thanked him as he opened the passenger side door.

About 10 minutes later I was looking at a 40 year old pink weatherboard home in the suburbs. It had belonged to an elderly gentleman who had just gone into care. It was old, basically sound, and met my criteria—cheap!

It wouldn’t be hard to tidy it up, was empty now, possession could be soon, and it was in a family orientated location in the outer suburbs of Christchurch. Schools, shops and bus stops were nearby. It would be a good investment as it also had a nice sized section and garden surrounding the house.

I looked at the house, opened and shut doors (a test I used to see if it had sound foundations and hadn’t moved over the years), turned taps on and off, and flushed the toilet. My son had taught me some basics to look for with regards to electricity and wiring of a house, and so I took a final look at the switchboard, then the garden and boundary markers. Arthur had figured out by now that I wasn’t his normal female shopper. I had bought and sold several properties in the past, which in the end enabled me to buy the farm, so I had an idea of what I was doing.

The house was old, but could be freshened up cheaply.

I think this is perfect, I said to Arthur It’s near shops, schools, has a bus nearby and it’s basically sound

Do you need to have someone who can come and check it for you? He asked

No, I am happy not letting Arthur know I had actually familiar with buying houses in a past, much happier life.

Do you need to think about it? He asked.

No, let’s go to your office and I will put in an offer, I said while quietly wondering to myself where in the world would I raise the money from? I didn’t have a cent that day to pay for fuel or dinner, let alone a house. Shhh, that will be our wee secret, we don’t need Arthur to know that.


I never had much cash at any time of my life, but figured out if I wanted to do something, there was always a way to find the money to do it. It is just a matter of setting the goal, and the rest will follow. We will see if that theory works for me this time.

A few minutes later I was filling out the forms to put an offer in on the property, but much to my concern, there was another agent in the next room with two ladies, who also wanted to put in an offer. ‘Darn! They will have funds, and I don’t.’

‘This is only the beginning of this battle. Deep breath, I am going to win this? I have to win this, as I have to start again, and real estate is one of the few things I know I can do.’

Arthur took the documents and a few minutes later came back, saying that he had spoken to the vendor, and it appeared my offer wasn’t enough.

How much does he want?

I can’t tell you that, you need to put in an offer that is higher

With that, I changed the amount of my offer by $5000, and said to present the new figure. Arthur left the room again. I could hear talking in another room, and he came back and said, There are two other ladies who want the place.

"Well you just go and tell the vendor that I need a break in life, I am needing to buy this house, it will be in good hands, I want to do it up and I understand that he is also giving up a piece of his life by selling it. Go and work your magic and remember I am buying that house." I said confidently (on the outside at least!).

Can you raise the offer a bit more? Arthur asked, smiling but trying not to breach confidentialities.

I can go up say, another $500? Do you think that will do? Arthur didn’t reply. He was unable to give me hints when doing negotiations, but said he would re offer the new amount. He left the room.

My slightly raised pulse was getting faster and faster. I was nervous and desperate to start my Real Estate portfolio now I had made my decision to make my future money this way.

Arthur returned. It seems the ladies next door have an offer that is acceptable to the vendor

They can’t have. I have to have this house. How do we make this work?

Then, I had an inspiration.

The Chinese people always use 888 as a lucky number, I am not going to offer amounts in the thousands, and I am going to offer a number with 888 in it… with that thought in mind, I offered my final offer. It was $115,888.00 much to the amusement and confusion

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