Bid to extend killer’s ‘farcical’ sentence
THE Suffolk cousin of a teenager brutally murdered in New Zealand is urging people to back a campaign to lobby justice chiefs to extend her killer’s sentence.
Lisa Arnold is calling for people to throw their weight behind a campaign for justice for Libby Templeman - who was savagely strangled to death after emigrating from Essex with her parents.
It comes after Theo Kriel, who was 14 at the time of murdering 15-year-old Libby, was sentenced to prison last month, but told he could be eligible for parole in just 11-and-a-half years.
A court in New Zealand heard that Kriel strangled Liberty, known to friends as Libby, dragged her unconscious to a stream and tore away her underwear to make it look like she was raped. She had emigrated with her parents Rebecca and Andrew and younger brother Billy from Brightlingsea, Essex in 2005.
Mrs Arnold, 38, of Bury St Edmunds, who has fond memories of family holidays with her cousin, said: “What they are saying is it is a life sentence but it is not really. They have given him 11-and-a-half years which is not even the full life Libby led - she was 15 when she was murdered.
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“We want justice, not just for her, but for everyone else who has to go through (something) this.”
The family, who originate from Long Melford, have had their lives turned upside down since November 2008, when Libby’s body was found in the Wairoa Stream at Kerikeri.
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A worldwide petition has been launched by a friend close to the family in New Zealand following outrage at what has been described by Libby’s parents as a “farcical” sentence given to Kriel, now 16.
“I wanted to try and do my bit from this end,” said Mrs Arnold, a mother of two children aged nine and eight. “To get 11 years, that is just nothing really, that to me is not justice. As far as I am concerned he has got away with it - he has almost got away with murder.”
Mrs Arnold, who followed events in the court room last month via rolling news channels and phone calls with her aunt, said the look on Libby’s killer’s parents’ faces when the sentence was read out made the situation unbearable for the whole family. They now feel something must be done to review the decision, with people being urged to write, in letter or online, to Dr David Collins, Solicitor General in New Zealand - the only man with the power to change the decision.
Libby had been set to fulfil her dream of a career on the stage after securing a place at an acting school before her life was snatched away prematurely.
Anyone wishing to add their name to correspondence to Dr Collins is asked to do so online at http://www.petitiononline.com/Libby/petition.html, or by contacting Mrs Arnold on 01284 768742.