Parents haunted by daughter's killer

MURDER victim Liberty Templeman's devastated parents have paid a tearful tribute to their “vivacious” daughter - but revealed they struggle to remember her without also thinking of her killer.

MURDER victim Liberty Templeman's devastated parents have paid a tearful tribute to their “vivacious” daughter - but revealed they struggle to remember her without also thinking of her killer.

Andrew and Rebecca Templeman spoke out after a teeanger was found guilty of killing the former Essex schoolgirl after she and her family left the UK for a better life in New Zealand.

The 16-year-old, wwas convicted of murdering 15-year-old, known to friends as Libby, who was also indecently assaulted.

The killer, whose name was due to be released publicly for the first time today, will be sentenced next month. Libby, who used to attend Colne Community School in Brightlingsea, went missing in November 2008 and her body was later found in a stream in Kerikeri.


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The defendant, who was 14 at the time of the murder, was found guilty on an 11-1 majority verdict at the High Court in Whangarei after 10 hours of deliberations.

Afterwards, Mr Templeman, spoke of the family's loss.

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He said: “It's every parent's worst nightmare that their child should die at the hands of someone else.

“The trauma inflicted on Liberty is relived every day by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.

“Since the first of November, 2008, when the life of our beautiful daughter Liberty was stolen, our lives have been in turmoil.

“We still struggle to see her without - I can't say his name until 12 o'clock [today] - just being there in the background.”

Breaking down as he said her name, Mr Templeman added: “Libby gave so much to so many and wanted nothing in return.

“Her big heart, her warm smile [and] vivacious personality will be missed by all who knew her.”

He thanked police and victim support officers for helping the family through their ordeal.

“We will somehow rebuild, get through this with the support of our son.

“He has shown tremendous strength of character through all this. We're so proud of both Libby and Billy and as parents we couldn't have wished to raise two more honest, loving children.”

The officer in charge of the inquiry, Inspector Marty Ruth, said the case had been particularly stressful for all involved.

“At the end of the day there are no real winners. This young boy's going to get what's coming to him.

“I'm just pleased for the Templemans that they got some justice in the end.”

Prosecutors said the suspect was seen with Libby, who was texting from her mobile phone.

He later attacked and strangled her before dragging her unconscious body down to the bank of the Wairoa stream, the court heard.

The teen pulled down her pants and lifted her bra in an attempt to suggest she was the victim of rape.

The verdict had resulted in hugely emotional scenes as Mrs Templeman mother walked out of the courtroom after the verdicts were delivered, followed by her husband.

The couple who lived in Brightlingsea until 2005, were later hugged by Crown lawyers.

At one stage when it looked likely that the jury would not be able to agree on a unanimous decision, Justice Raynor Asher advised them that under New Zealand law a majority verdict - 11 out of 12 in agreement - would be allowed.

Justice Asher told the jurors a retrial could be possible after they admitted they were struggling to reach a verdict.

The teenager had admitted causing Libby's death but his defence lawyer, Catherine Cull, had said: “That was caused by an unlawful act but he did not have either of the murderous intentions.

“He made the most tragic and most silly decision to try to conceal what he thought was a body and it is that decision - in placing her, or in putting her, in the stream - that ultimately caused her death, but he did not do that action with the intent to kill her.”

She told the jurors they could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that the boy meant to kill Libby.

“He was a 14-year-old in a panic. He did not want to get into trouble,” she said.

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