Liberty Templeman’s Parents Speak Out – UPDATED

Liberty’s parents pictured at the murder scene, 2008

24 February

The Northern Advocate has picked up on an exclusive story that was published in the print version of the UK’s Colchester Daily Gazette. In it Liberty Templeman’s parents spoke about the trial in Kerikeri of Theo Kriel who was found guilty of the murder and indecent assault of their daughter.

According to the Advocate’s version of the story Mr Templeman wants Kriel moved to an adult prison and says he has yet to feel the repercussions of his crimes:

“Andy Templeman, 49, told the UK-based Daily Gazette newspaper that Kriel should be in an adult prison rather than a secure youth detention facility.

“Apart from lack of freedom to walk down the street, there has been no repercussions to his actions for the last year and a bit.

“I want him to go to adult prison, and sooner rather than later. The thought of him having not quite the life of Reilly but having it fairly easy is absolutely abhorrent.

“However, I don’t want to join those campaigning groups and have Liberty made into a celebrity campaign. This is between us and the courts or whoever.”

Asked about his thoughts on the boy himself, Mr Templeman was dismissive. “I don’t really have the head space to think about him,” he said.

“There is too much going on to really start thinking about him and his family. I’ve been watching him and his family throughout the trial, just to see if there’s any emotion over this from any of them, and there’s absolutely none, just no emotion at all.

That last comment is quite significant, we are reminded of the mother of the 14 year old youth who battered Scottish Woman Karen Aim to death telling Karen’s family “He’s not putting us through shame. We are not ashamed.” (source) The article continued:

“I think when the pathologist was talking there was some beginnings of emotion from his mum, but that was it.”

He said Kriel’s family had made no apology to him so far.

“Me and Rebecca have no desire to go and speak to them at all. If anything, it has to be the other way around,” he said.

Looking ahead to next month’s sentencing, he could say only that nothing would make up for the loss of his daughter.

“Whatever the sentence, for murder it’s only something like a minimum 10 years. Whatever it is, it doesn’t bring Liberty back. Whatever it is, it will never be enough.”

It is stunning that Kriel has yet to show any remorse for his actions and appalling that the Templeman’s were forced to endure the excuses and weak evidence that were presented during the trial.

We’ve already commented that for murder to be proven so must intent and he’d already admitted to killing Libby. So we are left with the supposition that the trial was held because the only defence open to him was to try to show provocation. The jury didn’t buy it and decided that Kriel did intend to kill Libby Templeman. Why? we may never really know. I’m sure her family, who were forced to endure a trial and the glare of media publicity, would like that burning question answered too.

There are all sorts of rumours around as to the nature of Kriel’s personality, talk of him being bullied and of him keeping a scrap book about Libby. But, it’s just that – nothing more than rumours, maybe we will know more about him and his thought processes when mitigation and pre-sentencing reports are presented next month.

Some NZ newspapers also published today the image of Theo Kriel as he appeared just before Libby’s murder in 2008 after clarification on the suppression order was given by the trial judge.

This blog will not be publishing out of date images of a child, when an more up-to-date image of Kriel is released we may.

Update 3 march 2010

Further thoughts from Mr and Mrs Templeman were given in a lengthier article the Bay Chronicle on 3 March. They talked about the impact of losing Liberty and of their frustration and disappointment with the judicial system.  They also spoke of the Kriel family’s lack of remorse:

…The judicial system is a slow process, frustrating and unfair. We become the victims also. I don’t know the accused nor the family, but I have seen them every day in court supporting their son. You have all read the reports and heard the news. No more gossiping. The truth is out.

“To sit so close and watch the accused and his father show no emotion has shocked us beyond belief. There was no remorse shown when he had the perfect opportunity to apologise when he took the stand – a total lack of respect. We have had nothing to hide, only our grief.

We would rather have had Libby in our lives for the short, fantastic 15 years that she blessed us with, and live through all the emotional trauma, than know that we have a child capable of such a heinous crime.

“We are so proud of both Libby and Billy and take comfort that we as parents have raised honest and loving children…”

A further reminder of how crimes such as these cause eternal anguish for the families involved, and of how the rights of the offender can sometimes overwhelm those of the victim was highlighted today with the news that Jon Venables age 27, (one of the two 10 year old boys who murdered British toddler Jamie Bulger in 1993) has been returned to prison for breaching the terms of his parole. The boys were both given the chance of a new life when they served their sentences by being handed new identities and a worldwide ban was placed on those identities being revealed. The news has come as a shock to Jamie’s mother Denise Fergus who would have preferred the boys to never have been released, and with good reason it would seem.  This from the Telegraph 2 March 2010:

“…Thousands of pounds were spent on creating new identities for the pair, including new social security numbers, bank accounts and birth certificates.

Although Mrs Fergus did not comment directly, a spokesman for her said: “She was given no information about how or when the breach happened or what the next step will be in handling his case.

“But Denise has always said that she did not believe that it was safe to parole Venables and Thompson at the age of eighteen, before they had ever spent a day in an adult prison. She believes this breach of parole shows that she was right.

“The Probation Service has promised to keep Denise informed about progress in the case and has assured her that she was not in danger at any time.

“But she believes that she and the public have a right to know what Venables has done and what is to be done with him now he is an adult offender.”

Albert Kirby, who headed the Bulger investigation, said he had spoken to James’s mother and the news had brought “a whole load of anxiety” back to her.

Michael Wolkind QC, a barrister and criminal law expert, said there was a “significant chance” the breach had been serious…”

A ban on the publication of the current image of Theo Kriel is still in place. Will a similar provision to that given to Jon Venables be extended to Theo Kriel when he is sentenced later this month and should his identity be protected when he is eventually released from whatever custodial sentence is given to him? Can these kids ever be fully rehabilitated?

See also another history, that of NZ’s youngest child killer Bailey Junior Kurariki, and read about his re-offending since he was released

Breaches of parole – no jail sentence given another chance to prove himself, May 2009

NZ’s youngest killer in indecent assault claim – 2 female journalists allege indecent assault during an interview held shortly after Kurariki was released from a one month sentence, February 2010

Today’s posts – click here

One thought on “Liberty Templeman’s Parents Speak Out – UPDATED

  1. The *real* story that needs to be told – the story that is only to be found by laying aside the easy assumptions and doing the harder slog of digging deeply – is to be found here, and oh what a tragic tale of New Zealand it is: to dig deeper – the reality is more often than not quite different from what may *seem* the obvious, but it rarely less headlines-worthy

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