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

Blessie Gotingco's husband's plea: Please help me

Kiwis have rallied behind a Filipino family's legal bid for justice, for their much loved mother, grandmother and wife, to raise more than $50,000.

The Givealittle page launched by the family of slain woman Blessie Gotingco topped the $50,000 mark in less than 24 hours since it was launched.

The family hoped to use the money to undertake their own review own review of the "mismanagement and non-monitoring of evil" which they say enabled her death.

If the review shows they have legal grounds, the family will file a civil case against Corrections.

The mother-of-three and grandmother was raped and murdered on May 24, 2014 by Tony Douglas Robertson, after he ran her down when she was walking to her Birkdale home from a bus-stop.

He'd been released from prison just five months earlier, after serving time for abducting and indecently assaulting a young girl.

Of the more than 1,000 people who donated, a number shared their best wishes and love for the Gotingco family.

Kim Valladares said the 56-year-old's death had affected the whole community.

"I wish you and your family the very best. My prayers and thoughts are with you all."

A donor, who wished to remain private, expressed a wish that "justice is brought to you".

"My heart hurts for the loss of your wife."

Another expressed sympathy for the family "in their grief, search for justice and objective to see that this sort of awful crime never happens again".

You can donate to the Gotingco's Givealittle fundraising page here.

After his release from prison Robertson was subject to an extended supervision order, which included 24-hour GPS tracking.

But that did not stop his attack on Mrs Gotingco, whom he raped and stabbed to death before dumping her body in a cemetery.

An independent government inquiry whose report was released this week made 27 recommendations for improving the management of high-risk offenders such as Robertson.

But it concluded that Robertson, and no one else, could be held responsible for Mrs Gotingco's death.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said 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".

Blessie Gotingco, a mother of three and grandmother, was murdered on her way home from work. Photo / Supplied
Blessie Gotingco, a mother of three and grandmother, was murdered on her way home from work. Photo / Supplied


The findings infuriated the Gotingco family, who believed more could and should have been done to protect the community from Robertson.

"My heart started to bleed again," her husband, Antonio, told the Weekend Herald.

"It is an insult to my intelligence and an insult to the intelligence of the general public. I was very much surprised ... they [the government] are still in a state of denial. How can it be there were no major faults when my wife is dead?

"The inquiry was a waste of taxpayers' money ... I think it was a whitewash."

Robertson was jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 24 years for murder, and preventive detention for rape.

Mr Gotingco acknowledged that Robertson alone killed his wife, but believed he was "enabled" by the Department of Corrections.

"It should never have happened, and the Department of Corrections have blood on their hands," he said.

"Putting him there [in the community] was like putting a snake in a hen house. They neglected public safety."

Mr Gotingco said he would give anything to have his wife back.

"But that is not possible. So, looking forward, I'm just hoping for change, that a similar situation won't happen to anybody else," he said.

"There are no words to express the pain that our family are experiencing. I hope that no other family here in New Zealand will suffer the same fate as ours."

The only way to ensure that was to change the way people like Robertson were managed, Mr Gotingco said.

"If they [the government] continue denying that they are part of the problem they will never change. This will happen again ... it's like a vicious cycle."

Mr Gotingco said he was seeking legal advice about whether he could take a civil case. But, he could not fund that alone, so is asking New Zealanders to help him.

"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. We ALL deserve better."

Mr Gotingco said any offers of legal help would also be appreciated.

"Every single life is precious. I hope the powers-that-be will learn that."

- NZ Herald

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