Young murder victim remembered 10 years on

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine of The Daily Post -
Kathy Sturm at the Kauae Cemetery where her murdered daughter Nikki is buried. File photo / Kelvin Teixeira
Kathy Sturm at the Kauae Cemetery where her murdered daughter Nikki is buried. File photo / Kelvin Teixeira

Tears and laughter played prominent roles in the 10th anniversary memorial service for murdered Rotorua woman Nikki Sturm.

A 30-minute service was held for Ms Sturm, who was killed 10 years ago last week. Her flatmate Myra Ngaroma Rihari Young stabbed Ms Sturm in the back while she was running away at Rotorua between November 13 and 14 in 2002.

To remember Ms Sturm 10 years on, as well as to celebrate her 30th birthday, a small gathering of friends and family gathered at her gravesite at Rotorua's Kauae Cemetery at the weekend.

Ms Sturm's mother Kathy Sturm organised the memorial service on Saturday afternoon.

"I wanted to do it because of the fact she turned 30 and I felt I just should, as her mother," Mrs Sturm said.

"It was an excellent service it went really well. There was a good group of family and friends."

Reverend Tom Poata shared some words during the 30-minute service and Mrs Sturm read out a letter to her daughter titled: A letter from Heaven.

"A friend gave it to me who had also lost a child."

Mrs Sturm, formerly from Rotorua and now living in Warkworth, said she regularly visited her daughter at Kauae Cemetery.

"I go there quite often and I look forward to it. To go and see her and sit there with her."

Ms Sturm was the second youngest of five and died at the age of 20.

Meanwhile, Ms Sturm's killer applied for parole last month, for the first time since she was sentenced.

On November 28, 2003, Young, who was 22 at the time, was sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years.

Young came before the board on October 25 as legislation required the board to consider every offender serving more than two years' jail for parole after they had served their minimum non-parole period.

The board declined parole and Young will come back before the board within 12 months.

The board said Young initially had a worrying behaviour record in prison which had improved considerably because of medication she had taken for treatment for psychosis.

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