Templeman Parents Call For Revision of Immigration Laws, Sentence “A Mere Token”

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?

22 thoughts on “Templeman Parents Call For Revision of Immigration Laws, Sentence “A Mere Token”

  1. I feel no hate, no anger, and no burning need for vengence, just the rational wish that violent offenders be separated from society in the institutions that were created for that purpose. Theo showed no remorse, can he be taught that? can he be taught to regret what he did? history teaches us this not to be true. And if he wants to change that is up to him. And if he ever does, would he not seek to redeem himself through penance. Can you learn the value of a life in eleven years? I hope so.

  2. I’m so sick of hearing about the “poor South African Immigrant” who was bullied. Libby was more of an immigrant than Theo. Theo has been in New Zealand since he was somewhere around 7yrs. Libby had only been here about 4yrs.

    Many many kids are bullied at school, my son was bullied terribly at high school but he didn’t go out and murder anyone because of it. What a pathetic excuse to murder someone.

  3. Joe, that you would even call what Theo did a “misadventure with authority” sickens me. Is that really what you would class a senseless, unprovoked murder? Perhaps it is you who should be locked up if you regard such terrible crimes so lowly. Everyone is seen as ‘straight edge’ until they do something that isn’t. And how can you possibly relate a barbeque to a rave/party? It was a family level barbeque, the fact that you comfortably make assumptions like these without ANY grounds whatsoever shows your ignorance and nullifies any point that you are trying to make.
    How can you instantly label a drama student as promiscuous? You may as well label anybody that uses the internet an introvert.
    And if she was more mature than he was, how does that in any way make what he did any better? How does it shift ANY fault onto Libby?
    And the fact that the kid rides a bicycle? He was 14 at the time, not even old enough to hold a license, so what would you expect him to drive?

    • Lets accept it was a “senseless, unprovoked murder” – by that definition it was without motive and without premeditation. ergo, insane person committed crime and should go to asylum. You cant have it both ways. Either there was a reason for the murder, we need to find it and prevent it from happening again, or no reason and we commit the person who did it to life in a psycho ward.

  4. I understand all that, and if it was my daughter there would not have been a need for a trial. Its just that the NZ justice system inspires no confidence. Just take the whole sorry David Blain saga. Now the guy has to prove his innocence to get compo. FFS – A court has now found that there never was sufficient evidence to prove his guilt as the cops stuffed up by not testing him or his father for gunpowder residue. IN NZ — TOUGH SHITS MATE, NOW YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOU DIDN’T DO IT. too bad about the 13 years you spent in jail convicted by a bunch of inbred retards in the first place.

      • What? None of those cases are even remotely like this one! In this case there was NO DOUBT that he killed her, the accused admitted as much! The ONLY question was whether or not the crime amounted to manslaughter or murder. That web page is irrelevant, I can see that you’re trying to link the ‘mob justice’, as you put it, in those cases with the alleged ‘mob justice’ in this case, but in the cases listed on the website you gave, the only possible link the author is trying to make with that ‘mob justice’ mentality is in the rush to find a suspect to appease the public, which is what the author is criticizing.

  5. Joe, feelings are understandably running high on this one. Many a parent with teenage kids must’ve thought this could have very easily happened to their own son or daughter.

    Libby’s death shows us that New Zealand isn’t the ‘safe, carefree, paradise that’s a great place to raise kids.’ If people can take away anything from this it is the knowledge that NZ is the same as the rest of the world. There are many pressures and obstacles peculiar to NZ, most of them caused through its social and physical isolation, that migrants sometimes fail to overcome. Someone left a comment saying:

    “The social isolation of migrants, the pressure cooker survival conditions in New Zealand, and the especially negative treatment that South Africans, many of whom have already fled a crumbling, crime-filled homeland, do receive here (including and especially their children, in the schools) surely contributed to this event to some tiny degree. His parents being in community jobs would no doubt have caused them to have that positive don’t rock the leaky boat because we can all be friends here outlook, a well known attitude having no resemblance to the nasty, dog eat dog reality of NZ. I am sure he was told how lucky he was to be here hundreds of times. SA is portrayed to Kiwi children in schools in terms similar to the 1975 film Mandingo, or She-Wolf of the SS. Given the intellectually immature treatment of this issue in the schools, the disparity between his personal bad experiences and the rosy facade he would have been urged to adopt would have seemed like a chasm. Not in any way to excuse him or his parents for the murder, coverup or refusal to acknowledge the emotional pain of the other set of parents. They should step up and do this. They seem to be acting like zombies, or deer in a spotlight.

    This heart-rending and needless murder does point out that one does not simply fly over to New Zealand and settle in smoothly. Many people have problems, and too much migration is leading Kiwis to circle their wagons. The government’s policy is to persist in attracting migrants and tourists as an important revenue source. What happens to these people after they arrive is their own problem.”

  6. Let’s just agree to disagree. If I have in some way insulted or offended you, please accept my apologies. I have always been a champion of the underdog and those who seemed unable or ill-equipped to defend themselves. I have perhaps, overdeveloped my sensitivity to injustice.

  7. Question 1 through 5 my answer would be no, and it’s exactly this distance from the case that allows my OBJECTIVITY and balance. I have presented an alternative scenario that someone with personal and thus EMOTIONAL connections to either party would be unable to countenance. Your blog is full of the problematic drug riddled NZ youth , their depression, bullying, violence, drugging etc – I see no problem extrapolating this to a barbecue involving this self same NZ youth you disparage.

    There is a huge difference between letting a teenage girl travel unaccompanied between two towns and a boy riding a bicycle in the same neighbourhood he lives in. For crying out loud, this boy is so immature he rides a bicycle – not a scooter/motorbike or car – a friggin bicycle. And yes I DO CRITICISE the Templeman’s for allowing their teenage daughter to go traipsing around the countryside, they should have known better – YOU DO, just refer this blog. Perhaps a great deal of their anger at the Kriels and immigrants is guilt and contrition at their own negligence.

    She was studying drama, that in itself is an indication of Bohemian tendencies, and its well know that kids studying drama are more promiscuous than academic kids. Teenage girls in general are more mature than their male counterparts. I am not trying to blame Libby for this, I really feel for her parents, but lets get some balance here. Of the two teenagers you have to admit that Libby was by far the more mature one of the two. Perhaps you should take the context of “world wise” as being the more “experienced” one of the two.

    Indecent assault, is still NOT sexual assault – why do you continue claiming this?

    Theo a delinquent – and how do you come to that conclusion? As far as I know, there has been zero evidence of any delinquency on his part – this case is the only occasion this kid has had any misadventure with authority.

    • Your comments of “The Templeman’s should have known better” infuriate me! You actually believe her parents are responsible and should have known that their daughter was going to be murdered because she was only 15yrs old and visiting with friends on her own just 2 short hours away. How bloody terrible of her parents!!! And you’re saying that 14yr olds would usually be ridding a scooter/motorbike and not a bicycle. Are you mad! He was mature enough to come up with some amazing lies to cover up his murderous and cowardly act. He’s more mature than you give him credit for, but mostly he’s very sly and conniving.

  8. Joe do you live in Kerikeri or were you there on day of the murder?
    perhaps you were at the barbeque?
    Do you know either the Templeman or Kriel families personally?
    Were you present during any of the trial or sentencing?
    Did you have access to the pathologist’s toxicology reports?

    You appear to criticise the Templeman’s for allowing Liberty to travel to Kerikeri, a town she knew well (getting very close to blaming the victim in the process)yet fail to say anything about Theo’s parents allowing him out of the house to do the same.

    You make unsubstantiated slurs on Liberty’s character by calling her “worldly wise” yet say nothing about that of the young delinquent that sexually assaulted her. If she was as “worldly wise” as you say she was she would’ve given Kriel a wide berth.

    • Grace, lets get something straight, I do not pardon Theo’s behaviour, I do not want him “to get off” and I don’t particularly give a hoot about who does and does not do drugs. I do object to the red neck pack mentality informed by MSM television education, which sensationalises everything to sell advertising and papers. I want to understand what caused this event, and I don’t believe we have heard the whole story yet. I am NOT trying to excuse it, but I also detest the lemming like behaviour of people who just run off and say throw him in jail, which will fix everything – the longer the better yadayadayada.

      If we can get to the bottom of this we can prevent other kids from doing this by detecting early warning signs, and if there is no rhyme or reason, then the kid is nuts and does not belong in a jail, but some mental institution. As a society this pack mentality requiring revenge is not a whole lot higher up the evolutionary food chain than the murderer himself. We should be aspiring to be better than that.

      This is not the place for discussing this, but as a society we can not carry on throwing people into jail and expecting anything good to come from it. We need to identify the things, whether they are genetic, mental or socio-economic problems that cause people to do criminal things. By addressing the root causes, we will have a happier and better society, not to mention a whole lot cheaper for the tax payers who have to pay for these over crowded prisons.

      But I guess ideas like that don’t sell advertising or newspapers.

      • Joe do you think that Kriel was not subject to the most careful and prolonged psychological examinations during the time he was in youth custody awaiting trial? If “the kid was nuts” a submission would have been made to that effect during sentencing.

        The prosecution had argued for a minimum non parole period of 17 years but he received a lot less than that, a sign of compassion on the part of the judge and a recognition of the kid’s immaturity perhaps?

        But nuts? no.

        • Personally I dont believe jail terms are appropriate for people who have not matured, as they are spending the rest of their formative years in an environment not likely to be beneficial to their societal development. In my mind jail is only appropriate where after careful consideration we can determine that this particular person has chosen to prey upon society as a choice. Prison does NOT rehabilitate anyone – why is everyone so fixated on the prison sentence, its irrelevant unless you admit its only for revenge. So then you might as well bring back the death sentence, its cheaper, non recividist and at least you dont have to fool yourself about your lack of compassion.

      • You are right about the media’s general trend towards sensationalism, and I think you raise some very valid points regarding the need for preventative measures. But it would be hard in Theos case considering he would not typically belong to a ‘high risk’ demographic

  9. @ Anderson. How dare I? Well I have had extensive experience with teenagers and what they do at their parties and “raves”. I have at first hand observed the effects of alcohol, marijuana, LSD and ecstasy on youngsters. Nobody knows what happened that day for a fact as the only one who does know is so immature that he is unable to fully comprehend what he has done and does not have the mental or emotional maturity to verbalise it, and to me that is part of the real tragedy. I don’t think anyone really understands the mental immaturity of this kid, simply because he is physically large.

    Expert witnesses have testified that his actions were totally out of character. Now a logical deduction from that leads to only two possibilities. He is mentally imbalanced or there was some other trigger, most likely alcohol or drugs. This is why I am so angry at the lack of process and investigation into everything that preceded this event. The police have a culprit; they (and you) want him convicted and sent away, end of story. This family has had no contact with CYFS, there is no history of any kind of spousal or child abuse. Surely there HAS to be more to this than meets the eye.

    This whole business is surreal to me. Here is my take on the situation – Immature boy has crush on older more worldly-wise girl who seems to be able to travel the country side without adult supervision. He is from a strict family and has had no exposure to drugs, so one drink or hit is likely to have an exaggerated effect on him. I have yet to see one of these teenage barbecues without alcohol or drugs (mostly ecstasy or weed). They are either intoxicated or high by the time they leave the party. He makes advances, she rebuffs him by (perhaps) punching him, being intoxicated (or drugged) things get out of control and leads to the situation where we have an UNCONSCIOUS girl. Boy comes to his senses and panics thinking he has killed her. At this stage it is an assault, but he thinks she is dead. He drags what he thinks is her dead body to the stream where she drowns, this is a tragedy but there was no intention to kill her.

    Your anger and labelling him a dog that has to be put down, is immature and smacks of “mob justice”, and quite frankly- you don’t seem to have the intellectual capacity or maturity to sit in judgement of what in most civilized countries would have resulted in an aggravated assault or manslaughter conviction with sentencing heavily influenced by whatever contributed to this crime. Temporary insanity or incapacity due to alcohol or drugs springs to mind, both of which would moderate the murder charge into something less heinous.

    • You have had first hand experience of the effects of drugs on “youngsters”?, I am a “youngster” myself and have tried drugs, from experience growing up around a brother and sister who both had drug issues I know that it takes years of chronic abuse to attain the kind of drug related damage you speak of, I do not see how you can pardon Theo’s actions on the basis of immaturity. I may be immature and once Im sure you were too, did you ever kill a person? a friend? a girlfriend?. To take the life of another human so callously points to an abnormal lack of humanity not immaturity. You may bemoan his (in your opinion) less than fantastic representation (Im guessing you feel you could have done better) but to desire to get a killer off on a technicality is shameful to me, especially as this is normally linked to the amount of remuneration/publicity they receive, that is a different issue though. Im not saying that representation of both sides isnt important because it is. But I dont believe you know half as much as you like to think you do about teenagers behaviour whether or not it involves the consumption of drugs and alcohol.

  10. Joe, while I agree on the apparant xenophobic attitude, HOW DARE YOU suggest that there were drugs involved AT ALL in this case. I don’t know who you’ve been talking to but they are obviously misinformed. Theo is scum who smirked all the way through his sentencing along with his father, and Theo Jr. nothing more than a dog who needs to be put down. THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT! The kid admitted to killing Liberty initially, and has done nothing but lie ever since. 11 and a half years is an absoloute JOKE.

  11. So please enlighten us as to what exactly was not checked more than 7 years ago when these people came to NZ, and what is different about the Kriel family as compared to her own immigrant family. Both parents are professional people and the kid was seven at the time. I understand this woman’s grief, but this kind of statement is not helpful. It smacks of a certain xenophobic attitude and disrespect for cultures other than her own.

    I have heard from more than one source that drugs were used at this “barbecue” the kids attended. Was there ever a toxicology report done on Libby? I also don’t think much of the legal representation Theo had, as I (being a layperson) can introduce all kind of doubts as to what happened that day. When you find someone guilty of murder and sentence them to life in prison, there must be no doubt at all. I still think this whole thing is a kangaroo court and this kid got a rum deal.

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