Today Coroner Katharine Greig released her findings and a raft of recommendations following an inquest into the death of North Shore teenager Christie Marceau. She made 10 significant recommendations to police, the Ministry of Justice, Department of Corrections and Waitemata District Health Board in a bid to prevent similar deaths from occurring in the future. Christie's parents Tracey and Brian spoke to senior journalist Anna Leask
November 7, 2011.
Tracey Marceau cradles her daughter Christie in her arms on the deck of their family home.
The 18-year-old - her youngest child, her cherished "baby girl" - is not moving.
She's barely breathing and she's bleeding out.
Tracey Marceau screams, desperately.
"Hold on, hold on… help is coming."
She watches helplessly as the life drains out of Christie, as she takes her last breath, as the teenager slips away.
Her killer stands just metres away, he's dropped the weapon - a kitchen knife that he only stopped wounding Christie with when it bent so badly it was unusable - and he's pulled on his headphones.
As Tracey's screams merge with the sound of sirens, as police thunder on to the deck, Akshay Chand stands silently, listening to Radiohead.
He never should have been at the Marceau house.
Arguably, he never should have in the community that day.
So why was he? And how was this unhinged youth with a history of offending against Christie able to force his way into her life that day - and then take it.
Coroner Katharine Greig's inquest findings answered some of the questions Christie's still-bereft parents have been seeking for almost seven years since her death.
And it made one thing very clear to them - their daughter was failed.
Christie was failed by numerous sections of the criminal justice system.
She was failed by severe inadequacies in process, inter-agency collaboration and at times an almost-complete lack of information sharing.
Chand may have physically stabbed Christie to death that day in 2011 but following the inquest, one thing has become painfully clear to her family.
"There was more than one hand on the knife that day," said Tracey Marceau.
When Chand killed Christie he was on bail.
Two months earlier he had been arrested and charged with kidnapping, threatening and assaulting Christie.
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 imposed 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.
But just 32 days later Chand - who later admitted he had been planning the attack for some time - walked to the Marceau house armed with a hammer and kitchen knife and took Christie's life.
In October 2012 Chand was found not guilty of murdering Christie by reason of insanity.
The crux of the inquest was:
• What was the administrative process at the North Shore District Court in the lead up to Chand being bailed?
• What were the police bail-checking processes and protocols and were they were adequate?
• What was Chand's mental state before Christie's death?
• And, what information Judge McNaughton had available to him when he made the bail decision?
Coroner Greig's 127-page final report is complex and delves into every imaginable aspect of how Christie came to meet her violent fate.
Simply put - she found that there was balls dropped on multiple occasions which led to a catastrophic ending.
Among her recommendations were sweeping reviews of District Court processes around bail applications, file management and the accuracy and accessibility of court files.
She called for justice sector agencies to work together more effectively - to identify where and how relevant information could be shared between them to effectively build a complete picture of an offender before the courts at any given time.
And she called for victims of crime to be better advised by court staff, particularly around bail applications and having their voices heard during the process.
READ THE FULL INQUEST FINDINGS HERE
Tracey and Brian Marceau said it became clear to them from the beginning of the inquest that there were huge deficits in the court process in terms of what information was gathered, who it was shared with and how it was used.
They had an idea that all assessments and reports were complied on a defendant's court file, that there was cohesion and collaboration between agencies and that all information made it before a judge.
They were wrong.
"Before it happened we thought that system was already in place - we didn't realise the shortcomings until we actually sat in the inquest," Tracey Marceau said.
"What we heard really, really shocked us."
The couple, who left New Zealand soon after Christie's death, said they were grateful that Coroner Greig "went into bat" for their daughter, but also highlighted dangerous gaps in the process.
"She's had the insight to see that there's a huge lack and downfall in the system - it doesn't gel, they don't cooperate with each other and the fact that she could see that and she's made those recommendations means that she knows there's a really serious problem," Tracey Marceau said.
"We're extremely grateful that the Coroner's taken this so seriously.
"Finally, someone's on Christie's side.
"We fully endorse all the recommendations that she's put through and we're really grateful for that.
"It finally feels like someone's gone to bat for Christie - she didn't have that support, she had nothing before hand… she's got a voice now, and she's going to continue to roar."
Brian Marceau said he was not surprised by the 10 lengthy recommendations.
"Coroner Greig recommended what we thought was obvious, the co-operation between the different departments," he said.
"It certainly highlighted the need for sharing information.
"What I saw come out of it was that no one was talking to anyone.
"And there was a heap of assumptions made, even by people within certain departments as well which really surprised me.
"Hopefully we can remove all that ambiguity and the assumptions that people know what they're doing - that's certainly what we'd be focusing on, departments all getting together and sorting their sh*t out.
"Now all we want is a change in the system and to spare other people what we've gone through," Tracey Marceau told the Herald.
"The Coroner's done an excellent job, if she was here today I would just throw my arms around her because she did believe n Christie and Christie mattered to her and that's all we ever asked for.... for someone to actually just care.
"Now it's up to those that the recommendations have been made against - they need to push this forward and make these changes.
"People know now, this has been highlighted and they're not going to get away with it anymore - and that's what we need to do."
Next month should have been - Christie Alexis Lesley Marceau's 25th birthday.
It's just another milestone her parents and sister Heather will pass without her.
They were robbed of seeing Christie finish university, travel the world, find love, have a family; all things her friends are starting to do now.
Has it become easier for them in the last six years?
Not a chance.
They are stronger, they cope better - but the loss of Christie still weighs heavy on them every day.
"I don't think there'll ever be closure - closure would be if somebody could bring Christie back to me, but that's never going to happen," Tracey Marceau said, dissolving into tears.
"It never gets easier.
"She would have been 25 next month and I struggle now to actually imagine what she would have looked like, what she would have been doing, where she would have been - and that's really really hard.
"We see her friends celebrating milestones, and we don't have that.
"She'll be forever 18… I have the memories but no, it doesn't get any easier."