The teenager who was yesterday unmasked as Liberty Templeman's murderer has received death threats on the internet.
Tall (1.9m) Hermanus Theodorus Kriel, known as Theo, posted a webpage in July 2008, four months before he killed 15-year-old Liberty.
Within hours of a judge lifting his name suppression yesterday, dozens of angry messages appeared about the boy.
One person wrote: "You are going to find out what HELL is like you sad little selfish disrespectful murdering lying prick."
Another comment said: "I hope he rots in hell."
A third person said: "Hope you get a cell with a big smelly gangster who makes you his ass bitch."
Kriel was just 14 when he attacked Liberty, 15, striking her, strangling her and dragging her unconscious into a stream where he left her to drown on November 1, 2008. Media are still banned from publishing any images of the boy.
The South African immigrant joined the search for Liberty after she went missing. Liberty's mother Rebecca even phoned the boy to ask if he had seen her on the day of the murder.
Kriel appeared in court throughout the two-week trial dressed in short-sleeved shirts, long pants and street shoes.
He was emotionless during the trial, although at times he looked down to the floor as police interviews showed him denying accusations that he was lying to them.
His father, also called Hermanus Theodorus Kriel, an environmental health officer, and Anzell Kriel, a teacher, sat in court, also mostly expressionless, although his mother appeared teary yesterday when her son was convicted.
The family moved to Auckland from South Africa when Kriel was 7, then moved to Kerikeri about two years later.
His first language was Afrikaans and he knew little English until arriving here.
When he appeared in court to give evidence on Wednesday, Kriel said he enjoyed mountainbiking, swimming and playing PlayStation. He said he didn't know Liberty very well but was part of a wider group of teenagers hanging out together the night he killed her.
In court, Kriel said Liberty was "always happy" and had told police in a video interview played to the courtroom that she was "always singing".
Denise Bunting lived a few houses over from the Kriels until the family moved after the boy's arrest. She said it was particularly shocking when the boy was charged as he had been at her home on October 31, the day before the murder.
"It's just horrible," said Bunting. "He came to my house on Halloween. He seemed to be looking after the younger ones. I offered him some candy but he said he didn't want any."
Bunting said she didn't know the family well, but said there was never any trouble with them and they were always friendly. Kriel and his younger brother often rode their bikes in the street, on Kerikeri's outskirts.
The day before his arrest, another neighbour said: "They were always very family oriented and the kids were never out in the street fooling around or anything. They were very polite boys, very polite. They're very nice ... never rowdy."
Kriel is being held at a youth detention facility until his sentencing in March.By Beck Vass Email Beck, Alice Neville