Anna Leask

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

Christie's death: An inquest at last

Exclusive: Parents relieved and pleased with coroner's decision: 'We are Christie's voice and she will be heard'.

Christie Marceau. Photo / supplied
Christie Marceau. Photo / supplied

The Coroner is set to hold an inquest into the death of Auckland teenager Christie Marceau, almost three years after she was fatally stabbed in her home by a man released on bail after kidnapping her.

While her family have mixed emotions about the hearing, and going through the horrific details of the 18-year-old's death again, they hope it will help prevent other families from going through similar trauma.

On November 7, 2011, Akshay Anand Chand, then 18, stabbed Christie repeatedly in her North Shore home. The 18-year-old university student died in her mother Tracey's arms just before 7am.

Brian and Tracey Marceau hope the hearing will lead to measures that will prevent what happened to their daughter happening to others. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Brian and Tracey Marceau hope the hearing will lead to measures that will prevent what happened to their daughter happening to others. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Chand was on bail at the time and was facing serious charges of kidnapping, threatening and assaulting Christie two months earlier. When released on bail Chand was ordered not to associate with, attempt to contact, or go anywhere near Christie or her home.

Judge David McNaughton also put a 24-hour curfew in place and ordered Chand not to leave his mother's house unless he was going to medical or legal appointments.

Just 32 days later Chand walked to Christie's house armed with a hammer and kitchen knife, barged into her house and killed her.

In October 2012 Chand was found not guilty of murdering Christie by reason of insanity.

He pleaded guilty to the earlier charges and was sentenced to three years in prison but is serving his time at the Mason Clinic where he is being detained indefinitely as a special patient as a result of stabbing Christie to death.

Mrs Marceau and her husband Brian were informed recently that an inquest would be held into Christie's death. It will take place in 2014, but as yet a date has not been set.

It is understood that Coroner Gary Evans has asked police for more information about the case. Usually when a case has been resolved in court and a person held responsible for a death, an inquest is not held.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Matt Torbit said Coroner Evans could not comment on an active case.

"Essentially the role of the Coroner is to investigate the wider circumstances of a death to see if something can be done to prevent similar deaths happening again.

"Coroners investigating cases that have been before the criminal courts does happen."

Mr and Mrs Marceau now live in Australia but will return for the inquest and will make submissions.

Mrs Marceau said the family had "mixed emotions" about the inquest and reliving Christie's final days in court and in public again.

But ultimately they supported anything that could prevent another family experiencing a similar tragedy.

"We are hoping to attend once we are informed of the date. We are Christie's voice and she will be heard and we are very pleased there will be an inquest," Mrs Marceau told the Herald.

"We hope that this inquest will highlight the flaws and failings in both the justice and mental health systems as Christie was betrayed by both. She should be with us now for Christmas but we are facing our third without her.

"We hope the inquest is conducted thoroughly, as we never want to see someone else go through what we have."

- NZ Herald

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