The mother of murdered school girl Liberty Templeman has spoken about Theo Kriel the youth who killed her daughter. She has been quoted as saying the immigration laws of New Zealand should be revised:
“Migrants like the Kriel family need to meet very stringent requirements before being considered”
3 News quotes her as adding:
““Send him back to South Africa and let him go into the woods. They’ll deal with him.”
She has called for Theo Kriel to be deported. Saying that the sentence was farcical and disrespectful and, he should have been given a minimum of 30 years in prison. She was also upset by the way his father smirked in court when his son was given such a light sentence.
“Mrs Templeman, with her husband Andrew at her side, asked what messages were being sent to criminals and other young offenders when sentences being imposed for heinous crimes were “mere tokens”.
“It’s not only disrespectful of the deceased but also the surviving victims [family and friends]… Can somebody please explain to us why they think Libby’s life is only worth a 11-and-half-years.”
The story has been picked up by the British Newspaper The Telegraph:
“The mother of murdered British girl Liberty Templeman has lashed out at the sentence handed down to her daughter’s killer by a court in New Zealand, saying “he should rot in hell“.
Hermanus Theodorus Kriel, known as Theo, aged 16, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of 11-and-a-half years before he is eligible to be considered for parole.
Kriel was found guilty last month of murdering and indecently assaulting 15-year-old Liberty in New Zealand in 2008.
The court had heard how Kriel, who was 14 at the time, repeatedly punched Liberty, then strangled her and dragged her into a stream where he left her face down to die in November 2008.
Liberty and her family emigrated to Kerikeri, in northern New Zealand, from Brightlingsea, Essex, in 2005.
Kriel’s family are migrants from South Africa who arrived in New Zealand just a few years before the Templemans.
Passing sentence, Justice Raynor Asher, the trial judge, told Kriel: “Life imprisonment means just that. Unless you satisfy the prison board otherwise, you will be in jail for the rest of your life.”
The judge said: “At the time of the murder, although possessed with considerable height and strength, you were immature.
“Your calmness in the days that followed was of a concern. It was a blankness.
“I accept that your terrible action was out of character. This is confirmed by the professional reports that have been prepared in the 18 months that you have been in custody.”
Justice Asher said the exact details of what happened when Kriel and Liberty were out walking in Kerikeri on the day of her death were unclear.
The judge speculated that Kriel had made a sexual advance towards her and been rebuffed.
After the murder Kriel acted as if nothing had happened and glibly lied to Liberty’s parents and then to police.
“You are the only living witness and you have given four different versions of events,” the judge said.
Kriel remained emotionless throughout the sentencing at the High Court in Whangarei, his shaved head hanging low as he sat between two guards in the dock.
The courtroom was filled with Liberty’s friends and supporters, many of them at times in tears.
Outside the court after sentencing, Liberty’s mother, Rebecca Templeman, said: “It’s farcical. He should have got 30 years minimum.
“Can somebody please explain to us why they think Libby’s life is worth only 11-and-a-half years?”
She said the sentence was “disrespectful of the deceased but also the surviving victims.
“He should rot in hell.”
With her husband Andrew at her side, Mrs Templeman had some angry words for Kriel’s father, also called Hermanus, saying “that man smirked” during sentencing.
“I could have gone back in there and slapped him.”
Mrs Templeman said she had been told that her daughter’s killer wanted to apologise.
“It’s too late now,” she said. “That apology should have come 16 months ago.”
Earlier, reading her victim impact statement to the court, Mrs Templeman said: “Every morning when I wake, for a few seconds, everything feels okay.
“With the privacy of my bathroom with the door shut, I can cry loud and let the water wash away the pain and the grief, and I put on a mask of a warm smile.”
She looked over at Kriel towards the end of her statement.
His eyes briefly met hers and then he quickly looked down at the floor as she told him: “We saw the marks on her face, the bruising on her face.
“The battered and bruised face of the girl who saw the good in everyone.”
Liberty’s father almost broke down as he read his own statement to the court saying that, without the support of his family, he would have taken his own life.
“How do you summarise the emptiness that accompanies the loss of your daughter?” he asked.
“I smile and cry in equal measure when I think of Liberty.”
Liberty’s brother Billy, 13, also spoke of his anguish at his sister’s murder.
Michael Smith, prosecuting, argued for a minimum non-parole period of 17 years as a starting point for sentencing, saying that after the killing Kriel had deliberately deceived Liberty’s parents.
“The very person they spoke to for help and guidance in finding out where Libby was and how she got there was in fact the person responsible for her death,” he said.
Catherine Cull, for the defence, said Kriel’s family had not spoken to the media and would not be doing so. “
Although there has been some talk of Theo Kriel being bullied at school for ‘being different’ one has to wonder what part his upbringing played in the tragic events that led to Liberty’s death. Children learn from what they see around them, could it be that Kriel thought nothing of giving a woman a slap when she ‘stepped out of line?’
Whatever caused him to do what he did the outcome is that he is to lose the greater part of his youth locked up in a prison with similar offenders. Nothing is going to restore Liberty to her family and friends who have a lifetime of yearning emptiness and grief ahead of them.
Calls have already started for him and his family to be deported. Will he, should he, serve some of his time in a South African prison?