• In tomorrow's Weekend Herald, Remembering Blessie - for the first time her husband Antonio speaks at length about the greatest love, and loss, of his life.
Blessie Gotingco's family are considering filing a civil case against the Department of Corrections for wrongful death - and are calling on all New Zealanders to help them.
They have set up a Givealittle fundraising page which was launched tonight in a bid to raise enough money to undertake their own review of the "mismanagement and non-monitoring of evil" which they say enabled Blessie's killer to take her life.
As of 12.45pm the Givealittle page had already received over 679 donations amounting to $20,400.
If the review shows they have legal grounds, they will file a civil case against Corrections.
Mrs Gotingco, 56, was raped and murdered on 24 May 2014. The mother-of-three and grandmother was walking from a bus stop to her Birkdale home after work when she was targeted by Tony Douglas Robertson.
He ran her down in his car, threw the injured woman into the vehicle and drove her to his nearby house.
He then raped Mrs Gotingco, stabbed her to death and dumped her body in the Birkenhead Cemetery.
Robertson, who had been released from prison just five months earlier for abducting and indecently assaulting a child, was subject to an extended supervision order which included 24-hour GPS tracking.
Robertson was sentenced to life in prison with a a minimum non-parole period of 24 years for murder and preventive detention for rape.
Mrs Gotingco's murder sparked an independent government inquiry.
The inquiry was headed by former Ombudsman and Acting Secretary for Justice centered around the management of Robertson before and after his release from prison.
Mr Smith's findings were publicly released this week and while he made 27 recommendations which identify areas where the management of high risk offenders such as Mr Robertson could be improved, he concluded that Robertson, and no one else, could be held responsible for Mrs Gotingco's death.
"However the Inquiry found that no aspects of Mr Robertson's management by Corrections or police provided an opportunity for Mr Robertson to murder Mrs Gotingco," said Justice Minister Judith Collins.
The inquiry infuriated Mrs Gotingco's family, who believed more could, and should have been done to protect the community from Robertson.
Mrs Gotingco's husband Antonio spoke to the Weekend Herald in an exclusive interview.
My heart started to bleed again.
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"It is an insult to my intelligence and an insult to the intelligence of the general public. How can it be that there were no major faults when my wife is dead."
Mr Gotingco was seeking legal advice about whether he could take a civil case.
But, he could not fund a case by himself so was asking New Zealanders to help him.
Mr Gotingco has written an impassioned open letter explaining why he wanted to take civil action.
"We are hoping that the good people of New Zealand will once again stand with us by donating towards our costs. We are going to undertake our own review of the mismanagement/non-monitoring of evil, which enabled him to take our Blessie.
"We are counting on your help. Even if it's only $1, it will help us... We firmly believe that a civil case against the Department of Corrections is our only option, and a worthy cause of action. Together let us show them the power of the people," he wrote.
NEVER AGAIN. We ALL deserve better
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How can you help Antonio Gotingco
May 20, 2016
To My Fellow New Zealanders:
We stand for Blessie - a beloved wife, mother and grandmother to us her family. She is also a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, co-worker, colleague and a fellow New Zealander to the rest of us.
Blessie and I and our three children left our family home in the Philippines and moved to New Zealand in 2004, confident that our adopted country was a safe and beautiful place to live in. We settled on the North Shore of Auckland, believing it was an ideal place to raise a family and lead a happy comfortable life. We were so wrong.
We lost our beautiful Blessie at the hands of an evil person who was supposed to be under strict monitoring in the community by authorities to whom we have entrusted our lives for protection.
The Government, particularly the Department of Corrections has given a new meaning to ineptitude and stupidity.
The Government sounded the death knell for Blessie by failing miserably to deliver the primary role of governance which is to ensure its citizens are safe and secure from the scum of society.
Its decision to put a sadistic, unreformed criminal in our neighbourhood sealed the fate of our much-loved Blessie. It was like putting a snake in a hen house.
The Corrections Department knew all along based on their records that this monster would re-offend and yet it did not lift a finger even when public safety was sure to be compromised.
Highlighting their ineptness, this pure and unadulterated evil was never properly monitored to stop him from committing this very heinous crime.
The department knew all along that it would just be a matter of time before he committed another crime. And yet they continue to add insult to our injury by claiming that they have exceeded standards in their management of this hardened criminal.
For us, hearing these pronouncements is like rubbing salt to our raw wounds. What has happened is very unchristian. How can this dastardly act happen in a country supposedly founded and built on Christian values?
It is of public record how our beloved Blessie was brutally taken from us. What has happened to us is the worst that can happen to any family. While it is our fervent hope that no other family will experience the horror and tragedy that we have gone through, there is no guarantee unless we get our acts together and push for relevant changes in the Corrections Department and the so called justice system as a whole.
We are now facing the biggest challenge of our life by considering filing a civil case against the Department of Corrections for the wrongful death of my wife, our beloved Blessie.
It's tough enough, and the Government is not providing us with legal assistance - a sad irony considering that they are all too happy paying for the legal expenses of Blessie's murderer. In fact, the Government has been overly generous in accommodating this criminal, with sky's the limit to all his extravagant legal spending.
We are hoping that the good people of New Zealand will once again stand with us by donating towards our costs.
We are going to undertake our own review of the mis-management/non- monitoring of "evil" which enabled him to take our Blessie.
We our counting on your help, even if it is only $ 1, it will help us expose the sham that is the management of sex offenders in New Zealand.
We need to put a stop to this vicious cycle of ineptness and stupidity in the justice system. We firmly believe that a civil case against the Department of Corrections is our only option and a worthy course of action. Together let us show them the power to the people.
We ALL deserve better.