Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Christie Marceau's last plea

Teen's letter begged to keep attacker in jail. But the judge didn't, and she died at the hands of the man she feared.

Akshay Anand Chand. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Akshay Anand Chand. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Christie Marceau pleaded with authorities not to let Akshay Chand out on bail in a letter she wrote after he kidnapped her. She feared for her safety, and worried he would try to attack her again as "revenge".

Chand wrote his own letter saying he was remorseful and wanted to apologise - and after reading both letters, Judge David McNaughton released Chand on bail.

Thirty-two days later, Christie was dead after Chand stabbed her up to 10 times on the deck of her family home. The same day, Chand boasted to police that his letter had been part of a plan to get out of prison and kill Christie.

Chand, 19, was yesterday found not guilty of murdering Christie by reason of insanity. He was remanded to the Mason Clinic as a special patient, and can be released only if the Minister of Health deems him no longer a danger to the community or the Marceau family.

Christie's family have said they are adamant she would still be alive had Chand not been released on bail to live with his mother - 300m from the Marceau home.

Judge McNaughton ordered him not to have any contact with Christie and put him under a 24-hour curfew. Chand could leave his house only for legal or medical appointments.

The Herald can finally publish the details of that bail decision. Until yesterday, the documents Judge McNaughton had in front of him on the day he made his decision were suppressed.

They included both letters and a detailed police document opposing bail.

Chand lured Christie to his house on September 6 last year, saying if she did not come over he would kill himself.

When she got there, he threatened her with a knife, made her strip to her underwear and forced her to sit and listen to him rant about problems for 35 minutes.

He appeared in court the next day and was remanded in custody. He was denied bail on September 9.

On October 5, Judge McNaughton granted Chand's second bail application

The police opposition document said the biggest risk in allowing Chand bail was that he might interfere with witnesses - namely Christie and her mother.

"He had admitted during his interview the reason for the attack was for revenge against the victim for not helping him ... This desire for revenge still exists," it said.

"The victim is terrified of the defendant. The attack has had a profound effect on her and made her not leave her mother's side since. She does not wish him to get bail, or to see him, and is quite concerned he may try to attack her again and go around to her house."

Yesterday, Crown Solicitor Simon Moore, SC, revealed Chand told police after Christie died that his letter was "lies" and "sappy" and was written with the sole purpose of getting bail so he could kill her.

In court yesterday, Chand showed no emotion, and his expression did not change as the details of how he killed Christie were read aloud for the first time.

Christie's parents, Brian and Tracey, and sister Heather sat in court, struggling at times to hold in their emotion.

They said they would not comment on the outcome until after Chand was sentenced today for the kidnapping.

Christie's letter:

I wish to oppose Akshay receiving bail as the events have made me wary of his intentions. I worry for my safety because of this and particularly as my father is currently on a fly in-fly out job in Australia which reduces the support I can rely on.

Akshay's family, mother and aunty, live close to my home so I feel that he may play on my thoughts as he knows my father is away for a reasonable period but he also knows my routine travelling to Uni and where I work in the city.

I am worried that he may still try to get revenge on me as he is already in trouble and has nothing to lose if he tries again. This causes me to fear for my safety.

I catch the bus to uni or work every week day, travelling from my local stop through Northcote to the city. So I am worried that living close by he would be able to follow me and get on the bus. As it is very public and I feel that I will be very vulnerable.

I also have exams for university coming up and wish to be able to concentrate on my studies and not have it constantly on my mind that he is out and has the possibility of getting me again.

I would like to get on with my life but at present I need to know that I don't have to encounter him as I try to restore my faith in people as this has caused me a lot of distress.

Christie Marceau

Chand's letter:

To Your Honour,

"I'm incredibly sorry for the ordeal I put Christie through. I am only remorseful for my actions. I know she will sooner forgive me than I will forgive myself.

Given the chance I will apologise to her, her parents and anyone else affected. Ironically the last thing she said to me was that she was sorry. It's only after the events of that day she realised how much pain depression caused me and how much I needed her and vice versa.

She was my emotional outlet. There was nothing that I couldn't tell her and vice versa.

She's really adamant and I'm sure she feels she's to blame. She acknowledges that her absence led to escalation and the impending event that occurred. But as modest as she is, truthfully the blame is on my shoulders.

I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the consequences of my wrongdoings.

In my defence what I did was aided by great psychological pressure. The kind of pressure that arises when you're sitting at the dining room table crushing up pills. And in your head you believe that no one cares if you live or die. I was desperate, vulnerable and exploited my own weakness.

I will do everything in my power to get the help I need. I've been put on antidepressants and am willing to receive counseling. I wish I had only asked for help earlier.

Yours sincerely,
Akshay Chand

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 02 Oct 2014 04:22:40 Processing Time: 1177ms