It has been 10 years since the tragic killing of Auckland teenager Christie Marceau.
Christie was stabbed to death at her family’s North Shore home by a man who had been ordered by the courts to stay away from her – a man from whom the police were desperate to keep her safe.
Though it has been a decade since they lost Christie, her parents, Tracey and Brian, and sister, Heather, feel the immense pain of loss every day.
Every month without Christie has been an ordeal – along with every birthday, Christmas and milestones she was never allowed to reach or enjoy with her family.
Heather’s wedding to Luke where Christie was supposed to be the maid of honour and the birth of her first niece – whose middle name is Christie.
Her own 21st, graduation and her future partner and family.
Tracey and Brian moved to Australia soon after Christie died, their pain too unbearable and their fury at authorities too insurmountable to stay in Auckland.
They remember their youngest daughter every day – every hour sometimes – and say while they have fought to survive the tragedy, their scars are too deep ever to heal.
All they can do is get through each day and try to make the best of their lives, to do the things Christie could not, to make sure she is never forgotten and her legacy is strong and proud.
To mark the decade of Christie’s death – a full 3653 heart-aching days – Tracey and Brian Marceau have penned a poignant letter to their daughter.
Christie’s case is also covered in depth in this month’s episode of Herald podcast A Moment In Crime, which is available from today on nzherald.co.nz, iHeart Radio and your usual podcast apps.]
Ten years on – parents pay tribute to Christie Marceau
Precious, beautiful Christie angel,
It is so hard to believe that you have not physically been in our lives for 10 years.
I say physically because I know that your energy is constantly with us and looking after us.
Our family bond was too strong for that to ever be taken.
It is only a small comfort though as the agony and heartache of you being taken from us never lessens.
But … you are gone, and we are still here and although some days are dark, we are learning to cope.
I know that you would want that.
We try to imagine the beautiful strong woman you would be now.
Your independent spirit would have reigned supreme for sure.
In the last 10 years what would you have achieved?
What part of the world would you be living?
Would you have met your perfect match?
All questions that will never have true answers, but in our memories and imagination we create your world.
We see your friends growing and getting on with their lives and this is so hard.
It reinforces our loss, but you were a big part of their lives too and they help us to keep your memory alive.
We love that you send us little signs through music that you are still with us, and your timing is always perfect.
One of your favourite songs “Sweet Disposition” by Temper Trap seems to play whenever we are a little down.
Is it your way of getting us to remember the good times?
It makes me smile when I remember you rushing in the door after meeting them at a music festival.
You were so excited and proudly showed me the photo taken with them. The photo and song remain and that is our bond.
Our lives have been transformed over the last 10 years on a path that we never imagined.
The day you were taken we thought we would never recover – we could not envisage a future without you.
But, as I have already said, life goes on and we have still been blessed to have many happy moments, though never fully complete without you.
We know you are so proud of your big sister and have been with her along the way.
Grieving the loss of a child is different to grieving the loss of a sibling and sadly it took me a long time to realise this.
She has overcome such great obstacles and her inner strength shines through.
She is now such a great mum herself.
It is just so heartbreaking that she never got to share the little munchkin with you as you would have been a fantastic aunty, though we know that you would have encouraged all sorts of mischief as you did when you were younger and totally drove your sister crazy.
She is making sure that you are a big part of our little poppet’s life and although you aren’t here you will still be with her as a very special guardian angel.
You are in our hearts every single day, but as we do on every remembrance day, every birthday, every Christmas we will toast you with a tequila shot.
Until we are reunited with you again – our Tequila Queen.
Love and kisses Angel Child
Mum & Dad
TO LISTEN TO A MOMENT IN CRIME CLICK THE LINK BELOW
Christie Marceau – the loss of an angel
On the morning of November 7 2011 police converged on a house on Auckland’s North Shore.
They found a teenage girl dead – she had been brutally and repeatedly stabbed and died in her mother’s arms.
They found her killer standing metres away, still holding the knife he had used – the knife he only stopped using when it became so warped and twisted it could not inflict any further damage.
The horrific killing of 18-year-old Christie Marceau shocked New Zealand.
And in the days that followed her slaying, it emerged that her killer Akshay Anand Chand, also 18, was on bail for previous offending against her and had been ordered by a judge to keep away from her.
Chand had lured Christie to his home saying if she did not come he would take his own life.
The pair were never friends but had attended the same primary school and later worked together for a brief period at a local supermarket.
Christie pitied Chand and as she was a kind and generous young woman who hated to see people lonely or left out, often took the time to listen to his numerous and ongoing personal problems.
When she got to his home he locked the door, forced her at knifepoint to strip to her underwear and threatened to assault and rape her if she screamed or disobeyed him.
He made the terrified girl sit and listen as he whined about his tragic life and eventually he let her go.
Christie went straight home and reported the harrowing ordeal to police.
Chand was arrested later that day and initially was kept in custody as he was considered a danger to Christie and the community.
He was refused bail a number of times.
Police strongly and repeatedly opposed his release and Christie even wrote a letter to the court begging for him to be kept in custody because she was so terrified he would come after her again.
But on October 5 Chand was allowed to go home. That day he started planning what he would later describe as “reprisal” against Christie and her family.
Thirty-two days later – just two days before he was due to appear in court again – he barged into the Marceau house at dawn.
Christie woke to her mother Tracey screaming and ran out to see what was happening.
She saw Chand and tried to run but he managed to catch up with her as she tried to unlatch a gate at the back of the house.
He stabbed her in the head, rendering her totally defenceless, and then continued to stab her until his knife – one his mother had hidden from him fearing he would use it to harm Christie or others – was so bent it was unusable.
When Tracey Marceau got to the deck she found her daughter bloodied and unmoving.
She cradled the teenager, begging her to hold on and telling her help was coming.
Christie took her last breath just moments before police arrived.
Chand was arrested and charged with murdering Christie, whom he had known since primary school and become utterly obsessed with.
He would later be found not guilty of her murder by reason of insanity and remanded indefinitely as a special patient to the forensic mental health unit at the Mason Clinic in Auckland.
He was convicted of the earlier offending against Christie and sentenced to three years imprisonment, which he also served at the Mason Clinic.
He remains there to date and it is unlikely he will be released in the foreseeable future.
In the 10 years since Christie’s death, her family have never stopped fighting for answers and for change to prevent anyone else suffering the pain and loss they have endured.
Tracey and Brian and daughter Heather launched the Christie’s Law campaign and successfully lobbied for stricter bail laws.
In 2017 they sat through a high-profile coroner’s inquest where the details of Christie’s life and death were intensely scrutinised in a bid to identify what went wrong and whether changes were needed in any process to prevent similar deaths in future.
The inquest effectively confirmed that Christie was failed by severe inadequacies in process, inter-agency collaboration and at times an almost-complete lack of information sharing.
Coroner Katharine Greig eventually released her findings and recommended sweeping reviews of District Court processes around bail applications, file management and the accuracy and accessibility of court files.
She called for justice sector agencies to work together more effectively – to identify where and how relevant information could be shared between them to effectively build a complete picture of an offender before the courts at any given time.
And she called for victims of crime to be better advised by court staff, particularly around bail applications and having their voices heard during the process.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email [email protected] or online chat.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.
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