On June 12 Coroner Katharine Greig opened an inquest into the death of 18-year-old Christie Marceau, who was stabbed to death in her North Shore home by a youth on bail for earlier offending against her.

The inquest ran for nine days and will conclude after the last witness gives evidence on July 7.

Then the Coroner will consider all she has heard and has indicated she will make a number of recommendations around the bail process.

Today the Herald takes a look back at Christie's death, and the people linked to it.

Advertisement

Some of this content is graphic and could be upsetting. Please take care.

Christie Marceau - the victim

Christie was fatally stabbed in her family home on November 2 2011.

She died in her mother's arms on the deck just after 7am.

Two months before she was killed Christie was called to the home of a teen she knew from school - Akshay Chand.

The troubled youth threatened to harm himself if she did not come over, so she raced to his house.

There, he held her hostage, forced her to undress at knifepoint and threatened to rape her.

After his arrest Christie wrote a letter to the court pleading for him to stay in custody because she was terrified of him.

"I am worried that he may still try to get revenge on me as he is already in trouble and has nothing to lose if he tries again," she wrote.

Advertisement

"This causes me to fear for my safety.

"I... have it constantly on my mind that he is out and has the possibility of getting me again.

"I would like to get on with my life but at present I need to know that I don't have to encounter him as I try to restore my faith in people as this has caused me a lot of distress."

Just 33 days after Chand was bailed, using a knife he'd taken from his mother's kitchen and hidden, he went to the Marceau house and killed Christie.

Akshay Chand. Photo / New Zealand Herald
Akshay Chand. Photo / New Zealand Herald

Akshay Chand - the killer

Chand was charged with the murder of Christie, a crime that shocked New Zealand. There was further controversy when Chand indicated he was mounting a defence of insanity.

In October 2012 in the High Court at Auckland Chand pleaded guilty to kidnapping Christie, threatening her and assaulting her with intent to rape and was sentenced to three years in prison, which he was to serve at a mental health facility.

After hearing expert evidence about Chand's mental state Justice Helen Winkelmann found him not guilty on the murder charge by reason of insanity and detained him to the same facility as a special patient.

His patient status means he may never be released.

Transcripts of Chand's interview with police were released to the Herald after that hearing.

They revealed that when he came home on bail his mother hid kitchen knives from him, fearing he would use them to harm himself or others.

"Mum hid all the knives but I guess I was one step quicker than her ... I put the knife in the bag a week before. Of course it was premeditated," he told police.

Chand then described, in great detail, how he killed Christie.

"I stabbed her in the head and she fell on the deck. I stabbed her, a couple more times. The knife became twisted ... it became clear that I couldn't use it any more.

"I backed off and stood there for a while. Tracey ran in ... she told Christie that she loved her and everything was going to be all right."

Shayal Chand - the killer's sister

Shayal woke the day Christie was killed to find her brother gone from their home.

She knew his bail conditions meant he could not leave the house and she called her mother in a panic.

By then, Christie was already dead.

The night Chand first attacked Christie, Shayal had to drive him to hospital.

Afraid of the consequences of his actions, Chand had tried to take an overdose of multivitamins. While he was in hospital, police came and arrested him.

When he was bailed his sister was afraid of him and stayed away from home as often as she could.

Protesters demanding changes to the bail act after Christie's death. Photo / New Zealand Herald
Protesters demanding changes to the bail act after Christie's death. Photo / New Zealand Herald

Detective Aaron Iremonger - the arresting officer

Detective Aaron Iremonger was the cop who arrested Chand for the first assault on Christie.

He then set about doing whatever he could to keep the dangerous youth behind bars.

He said it was "imperative" Chand was not granted bail as he posed a serious risk to Christie.

After Chand was granted bail, despite "vigorous" and repeated police opposition Iremonger spoke with the Marceau's, telling them to vigilant with security.

He assured them that police would "thrash" Chand on bail by checking him constantly.

Iremonger was on a day off when Christie was killed and learned of her death through a text message.

"Bail that close was absolutely not good enough...One kilometre away. It's ridiculous."

Iremonger became emotional in court when giving evidence about Christie's death.

He said he had done everything he could to protect her and went further than he would for any other victim as he was extremely worried about her safety - especially having Chand bailed so close to her home.

Christie Marceau, centre, with her mother Tracey and sister Heather. Photo / Supplied
Christie Marceau, centre, with her mother Tracey and sister Heather. Photo / Supplied

Mary-Anne Lowe - the defence lawyer

Lowe became Chand's lawyer when he first appeared in the North Shore District Court in September 2011.

He had no previous convictions before then, and had never come to police attention.

Lowe set about trying to get her client bail, speaking with his mother and aunt who said they wanted him home and assured the lawyer that they could monitor him and that he would never be left alone.

Lowe saw the case through to the end, leading the charge for Chand's successful insanity defence.

At the inquest into Christie's death she said she believed her handling of his case was appropriate.

While his mother denied she said she could supervise the young offender 24/7, Lowe was adamant that is what the family had proposed.

She said she never would have sought bail with that as a condition had the family not given her the assurance it could be met.

Tracey Marceau and victim advocate Ruth Money sit with Christie's ashes during the submission to the government on bail law. Photo / New Zealand Herald
Tracey Marceau and victim advocate Ruth Money sit with Christie's ashes during the submission to the government on bail law. Photo / New Zealand Herald

Andrea Swager - the victim adviser

Swager was a victim adviser at the North Shore District Court when Chand first attacked Christie, and was assigned to work with the Marceau family.

Her role was to communicate the outcome of court hearings, and provide Christie with any information she needed about the court process, counselling options and the like, Swager never met Christie, or her family.

She was the one that delivered the news to Christie's mother that Chand had been granted bail.

"She was hugely disappointed and said that she knew what address he would have been bailed to and it is visible from their house," she said.

"She was very upset and concerned about their safety and I was affected enough by her reaction to quote her words in my case notes.

"She said 'Christie's life is over now'."

When asked by Christie's mother what could be done to change the decision, Swager said "nothing".

The Marceau's later found out the decision could have been appealed.

Swager disputes the word "appeal" being mentioned by the family, saying she would have discussed options with them if they had.

Police prosecutor Adam Pell. Photograph / ilanz.org.nz
Police prosecutor Adam Pell. Photograph / ilanz.org.nz

Adam Pell - the senior prosecutor

When Chand first appeared in court police filed an opposition to bail form that spelled out why they did not want him released on bail.

Pell was the prosecutor in court that day and had the form in front of him.

The notes outlined that Chand had made "full admissions" about his offending which proved an ongoing risk to Christie.

Pell said he did everything he could to ensure Chand was not released on bail - going above and beyond what he would usually do as he strongly felt Christie was in danger.

He explained during the inquest that when Chand first appeared he opposed bail, then when he found out Christie's attacker was having another try he went even further to strengthen the police case, including speaking to the detective in charge and the prosecutor who would be at the next bail hearing.

His key focus was the short distance between Chand's proposed bail address and the Marceau family home, which in his opinion was far too close and endangered Christie's safety.

He said he was determined "to ensure nothing was missed" and that Chand would be kept behind bars.

When Chand appeared for his final bail hearing Pell was not working.

The case was handled by another prosecutor - who had been emailed by both Pell and Iremonger so she knew police wanted the opposition pushed "vigorously".

Pell said the possibility of Chand being granted bail "in any form" was "greatly" concerning.

Ellen Wilson - the first nurse

Wilson is a forensic court liaison nurse and she was tasked with screening Chand before his first court appearance.

Police asked her to do the assessment the morning after Chand's overdose.

Her role was to look at "safety issues and risk" and she interviewed Chand in the cells at the North Shore District Court.

"He was happy to speak of his problems and was only too willing to disclose his current unhappy state.

"He reported a lengthy period of depression and anxiety."

He was able to give her a detailed list of the charges he was facing - kidnapping, threatening grievous bodily harm and assault with intent to rape.

Wilson reported in a letter to the court that whether he was bailed or not he needed a further mental health assessments.

At the inquest she revealed that her assessment of Chand was "incomplete" and "rushed" and in hindsight she could have provided more information to the court about his mental condition.

Wilson usually spends 40 minutes with defendants but as Chand's appearance was imminent police were "waving outside the door" and there was a sense of urgency.

Brian and Tracey Marceau arriving at Auckland High Court for Chand's case in 2012. Photo / New Zealand Herald
Brian and Tracey Marceau arriving at Auckland High Court for Chand's case in 2012. Photo / New Zealand Herald

Robin Byrt - the second nurse

Byrt was also a forensic nurse working at the court during Chand's initial prosecution.

He assessed Chand the day after his first appearance - a day after his colleague Ellen Wilson did the initial risk screening.

Chand's lawyer had made a request for the 18-year-old to be assessed to ascertain whether he was eligible for a remand to a mental health unit rather than prison.

Byrt did that assessment and provided a letter to the court about his mental state.
"From my assessment I did not believe that Mr Chand fulfilled the Mental Health Act criteria to be in need of acute psychiatric administration," he said.

"While he had depression, it was not of such a degree that it posed a serious danger to himself or others.

"He was not expressing risk to himself or others."

Byrt saw Chand again before his next appearance on September 23 and reported that while the teen "knew he was in deep trouble" he "denied thoughts or plans to harm others".

The last time Byrt saw Chand was the morning before his bail hearing on October 5, 2011 when he was released.

"There are no psychotic features and no concerns from custodial staff," he told the court that day.

"He wanted to get out and get on with things," Byrt said during the inquest.

"He was happy to take medication and abide by whatever bail conditions were set by the court."

Dr Ian Goodwin - the forensic psychiatrist

Goodwin interviewed Chand in Mt Eden prison to assess whether he was fit to stand trial.

His interview was not supposed to be relied upon for any bail decision - it was not a risk assessment - but it appears it was available to Judge David McNaughton when he made the decision to release Chand.

"In that report I opined that Mr Chand presented with symptoms of a mild to moderate depressive illness," Goodwin told the inquest.

"I also opined that there was no evidence of any psychotic process."

He reported back to the court that whether Chand was bailed or not, he needed ongoing psychiatric treatment.

After Christie died and Goodwin read the transcript of the police interview with Chand, his opinion of the killer changed dramatically.

"He's the perfect example of a psychopath," Goodwin said.

"He is boastful about his actions... extremely callous."

Chand was "glib" about killing Christie and had "pride" in his actions.

"He showed no remorse," Goodwin said.

"Chand deliberately deceived a number of people, a number of psychiatrists and others through the entire process."

Goodwin said he had no idea at the time of his interview with Chand that the soon-to-be killer was lying to him.

Suchita Chand, mother of Akshay Chand. Photo / Supplied
Suchita Chand, mother of Akshay Chand. Photo / Supplied

Suchita Chand - the killer's mother

Hours after her son was arrested police came to Suchita Chand's home and searched it from top to bottom.

They told her what he had done to Christie and that he was facing very serious charges.

Suchita attended most of her son's court hearings and took a week off work to be at home with him when he was granted bail, even taking him to medical and mental health appointments.

The pair had a rocky relationship. She wanted him to get a job, do something with his life but he "just wanted to be at home", she recalled.

She told the inquest that when her son came home she hid knives from him. He'd used one to threaten Christie and she feared he'd use one to harm her again, or someone else.

She said she was scared of the situation, but never voiced that to his lawyer or the court.

There was debate in court over what Suchita knew about Chand's bail conditions.

While his lawyer maintained the family had offered to supervise him if he was granted bail so he "was never alone" - they say that was never the case.

"Neither the court nor the police provided me with any information about the bail conditions or what was expected of me while Akshay was at home on bail," Suchita said this week."

(Lowe) explained that Akshay would have to live in my home while on bail and that he would have to be there 24/7.

"She said I would have to keep an eye on him, watch him - or words to that effect.

"I am sure that we were not told that an adult had to be at home supervising Akshay at all times.

"Ms Lowe did not give us any written instructions from the court about what was expected of us to supervise Akshay."

The morning Chand snuck out of his house and killed Christie, Suchita was at work. She usually left the house at 6.30am.

On that particular day her daughter got up and saw Chand's door open.

She looked for him in the house and garden and then, knowing he was not supposed to leave the property, called her mother.

Suchita called her sister, then the community mental health team, who advised her to contact police.

By then, Christie was dead.

"I didn't expect what happened to happen," she said.

"I didn't see any signs, he was just normal."

Amita Williams - the aunt

Amita's story was similar to her sister Suchita's - that she was not consulted about bail and was never amenable to supervising her nephew around-the-clock.

"I would telephone Akshay at home from time to time just to check that he was there and everything was alright," she said.

"He always answered and I had no cause for concern.

"Most days I went to visit Akshay. I went without warning him and expected him to answer the day.

"He always did."

Police prosecutor Rhona Stace. Photo / NZ Police
Police prosecutor Rhona Stace. Photo / NZ Police

Sergeant Rhona Stace - the second prosecutor

Stace was the duty prosecutor on the day of Chand's bail hearing and was tasked with advocating the police position.

The opposition to bail form filed on the day of his first appearance still stood - but more information was given to her before the October 5 hearing.

That information included a map showing the proximity of Chand's house where he wanted to be bailed to, and the Marceau house.

The properties are within a kilometre of each other and Christie could see her attacker's home from her deck.

Detective Aaron Iremonger also supplied Stace with a transcript of Chand's preliminary police interview which had "full admissions" of his offending against Christie.

In the interview Chand spoke about revenge, and Iremonger felt it showed he still posed a huge risk to Christie.

Emails went back and force from Iremonger and Pell, the original prosecutor who was not working the day of the hearing, and Stace.

The men told her that it was "imperative" Chand not get bail and they wanted her to push hard and present the new information.

when Stace arrived in court she tried to hand the new information to the judge through the registrar, but was told if she was to rely on it, she could bring it up in the hearing.

When the hearing began, she did not present it.

She said the opposition to bail form had already covered the salient points police wanted to make, and coupled with Christie's letter, was strong enough and adequate.

When the hearing started, Stace said it was "immediately apparent" Judge McNaughton was "not interested" in hearing further information from police.

"Instead, His Honour was now focused on Mr Chand's treatment and the ability of mental health services to manage him at home on strict bail conditions."

Stace defended herself at the inquest, saying she did her job on the day and it would not have been appropriate to push the judge further.

In fact, it would have been a suggestion of "incompetence".

"It was absolutely crystal clear to the court what our concerns were," she told the inquest.

"The court... was well aware of the grounds for the opposition... it (the map and transcript) simply wasn't relevant.

Dr Ajay Makal. Photo / www.massey.ac.nz
Dr Ajay Makal. Photo / www.massey.ac.nz

Ajay Makal - the GP

After Chand was released on bail his mother made an appointment at the Byron Medical Centre in Takapuna.

He had been prescribed the antidepressant citalopram while in custody and he needed a new prescription.

It was the first time Dr Ajay Makal had seen Chand, though the teenager had been to the clinic a few years earlier for a respiratory infection.

Makal had been sent the discharge notes from North Shore Hospital, where Chand was taken after he tried to overdose hours after attacking Christie for the first time.

He said the discharge summary noted "no known medical or mental health problems and no known previous self harms".

It also stated that Chand had "undiagnosed depression"; felt isolated from his mother; had "a lack of social support and issues with family"; had a "strong feeling of helplessness and lack of career/life options"; had "suicidal thoughts" that were previously monthly but were now happening daily; and was "ambivalent but willing to seek help".

Chand told Makal the citalopram had made him feel "a lot better" and he thought his mood had lifted.

"He was finding interest in things," Makal said.

"He reported that he had no problems with sleep and he clearly denied any thoughts of harming himself or others."

Makal saw Chand again on October 19 and gave him a new prescription, this time for a higher dosage of citalopram.

He reported feeling better and mentioned that he would like to increase his dose, as he felt that he needed a higher dose to feel fully better.

"At this point he had been on this medication for about four weeks."

Before that appointment Makal had seen the mental health report filed about Chand, but said it did not change his treatment plan.

He was aware Chand was facing charges but had no knowledge of his bail conditions.

"I planned to review the dosage in a month and told Chand to come back and see him when the medication ran out for a follow up."

Before he could follow up, Chand killed Christie, and was back in prison.

Brian and Tracey Marceau. Photo / New Zealand Herald
Brian and Tracey Marceau. Photo / New Zealand Herald

Tracey and Brian Marceau - the parents

After Chand was bailed Christie and her parents were devastated - and angry.

They met with Detective Aaron Iremonger who spoke to them about their safety and told them to be vigilant, keep the door locked and secure the house.

They asked if Chand was likely to come over.

He said no, "but at the same time you could not rule it out as no one really knows what these people are thinking and there is still a risk he could go over".

Brian was working in Australia at the time and had returned home after Christie's attack.

He asked Iremonger if he should stay home to protect his family.

The detective said no, police were planning on keeping a close eye on Chand, and there was no need for him to change his work plans.

Brian left for Australia soon after.

He was there when he got the call from Tracey to say their worst fear had come true - Chand had breached bail, he'd gotten to Christie and he'd killed her.

Tracey almost say everything when Christie was killed.

Just before 7am there was a knock at the door and, thinking it was the courier dropping off another of her daughter's online purchases, she opened it.

There stood Chand, armed with a knife.

He pushed past Tracey, who started screaming.

As she ran for the phone to call 111 Christie came out of her room, woken by her mother's screams.

She saw Chand and ran for her life.

He chased her down the stairs onto a deck on the lower level of the house.

As Christie frantically tried to get the gate unlocked, which led to the driveway and her escape, Chand caught her.

What happened next, Tracey did not see.

By the time she got to the deck Christie was lying on the wood and Chand was standing nearby.

She ran to her daughter, held her close and tried to comfort her.

"I watched the life drain out of her while I was still holding her. I felt her slip away from me.

"I was telling her to hang on, that help was on its way. I know she tried, she really tried. And then she was gone."

Detective Sergeant James Watson. Photo / Nick Reed
Detective Sergeant James Watson. Photo / Nick Reed

Detective Sergeant James Watson - the homicide cop

It was Watson who told the inquest the ghastly details of Christie's death, details that her parents have not read to this day.

They do not want, or need, to know that level of detail.

Watson explained how Chand stabbed Christie in the head, the first blow rendering her incapable of defending herself.

The crazed killer stabbed her over and over.

"[Chand] only stopped stabbing when the blade of his knife bent at 90 degrees, rendering it useless," Watson said.

That knife was a 20cm blade with a black plastic handle - a kitchen knife belonging to his mother, and one she had tried to hide from him in the bottom drawer of the oven.

Watson was at the North Shore Police Station when Tracey's 111 call came in and he went to the address immediately, recognising it as the Marceau house.

At the scene an officer asked why Chand was at the house.

He replied: "For reprisal."

A second officer noticed Chand's hands were shaking and asked why that was.

His reply: "It's not easy to kill someone." He then asked if he could listen to his iPod while they decided what to do.

Chand was charged with murdering Christie later that day.

He was devoid of emotion and told officers he was a "callous fiend. That's just who I am. I murdered her".

Coroner Katharine Greig

Coroner Greig is one of four in Auckland and was appointed in June 2007.

She has presided over a number of high-profile inquests.

She oversaw the inquest into the "Bedroom Murders" of 2013 where John Mowatt gunned down his ex- lover Glenys Stanton and her new partner Trevor Waite at his Opaheke home.

The inquest into the death of Glenn Mills at Mt Eden Prison also landed in her courtroom.

Mills was found dead at the prison in November 2009, on the day he was due in court on charges of infecting 11 people with HIV.

Later this year she will preside over the inquest into the fatal police shooting of David Cerven in a central Auckland park.

The Slovakian national was gunned down by two armed officers.

Prior to being shot, Cerven had told attending police he was armed.

After being shot, Cerven was found to be unarmed.

No weapon was found at the scene.