The heartbroken boyfriend of an Auckland student has written an emotional online tribute to her after an 18-year-old appeared in court yesterday charged with her murder.
Christie Alexis Lesley Marceau, 18, was found dead in her home on Auckland's North Shore about 7.15am on Monday.
Police said Akshay Anand Chand, who will turn 19 on Friday, was at the address when they arrived. They also found a bloodstained knife. He was taken into custody and charged with murder.
The AUT student's boyfriend Joseph Burton-Burn wrote an emotional message to friends on his Facebook page yesterday.
"I have been a mess. Yesterday I lost someone very close to me. My girlfriend Christie was killed... this has been such a hard time,'' he said.
Soon after she was killed, he wrote to her: "Please come back."
Detective Senior Sergeant Kim Libby confirmed Chand was known to Christie but said the pair did not have a relationship. He would not comment further.
Christie lived with her parents Tracey, an accounts assistant, and Brian, an avionics technician who was in the Air Force for many years.
Mrs Marceau's mother Shirley also lived at the property and Christie's older sister, Heather, 24, is based at Whenuapai as a senior supply specialist
for the Air Force.
It is understood Mr Marceau was out of the country when Christie was killed.
He rushed home via Australia.
Mr Libby said Christie's family were extremely traumatised and did not want to speak publicly.
Others who knew Christie were mourning a "beautiful'' girl, known for her smile and happy attitude.
The 18-year-old was a keen hockey player and a member of one of North Shore United's senior women's teams.
Coach Mark Paterson said he was shocked and saddened.
"She's one of those people that's just naturally happy, an outgoing person. She literally wouldn't hurt a fly,'' he said yesterday.
Christie had been playing for the club for about three or four years.
"I coached her last year. In all honesty, she probably wasn't the most talented player on the field, but that didn't stop her from giving it everything.
"She was a really good team player. She got on with everyone, she was always in a good mood. In that sense she was just an ideal person to have on a team. You never had any issues with how she got along with others. She got along well with everyone and gave it everything.''
The family were not at court yesterday when Chand appeared on the murder charge.
He wore a blue boiler suit and stood silently in the dock, looking towards the public gallery several times. His family were not in court to support him.
His lawyer Mary-Anne Lowe tried to legally prevent the Herald taking photographs of Chand in court. She said publishing images of him in the newspaper would be a "threat'' to his "ongoing'' mental health issues.
However she could not produce any medical evidence of that threat for Judge David Burns, who agreed it was in the public interest to publish photos of the accused.
Ms Lowe did not apply for bail, nor did she seek name suppression for Chand, who was remanded in custody until November 29.
She told the court Chand was not currently under any mental health care, but she was seeking a private psychiatric assessment.
A report by a police forensics expert following an interview after Christie's death had been given to Ms Lowe. The expert did not believe there were any issues with Chand's fitness to enter a plea to the murder charge.
Chand's mother appeared strained when approached by the Herald at her home yesterday.
She did not attend court but had spoken to her son's lawyer after his appearance, she said.
"I can't discuss him, he is over 18,'' she said.
She confirmed Chand lived with her, but had not spoken to him after his arrest and did not know the circumstances.
Friends of Chand also wrote on Facebook. "My heart breaks for Christie and her family... It's a messed up situation... but I know in my heart of hearts that more hatred and condemnation is not what Akshay needs.''