It has been an emotionally charged day at the coroner’s court in Christchurch, as a joint inquest into a 2018 murder and sudden death got under way.
The ashes of 27-year-old Nicole Tuxford, who was brutally raped and murdered in her own home by Paul Tainui, were brought into court by her mother.
Tainui was on life parole for the rape and murder of 21-year-old Kimberley Schroder, 24 years earlier, when he killed for the second time.
A moment of silence permeated the court this morning, setting a sobering scene for the inquest.
Family statements followed.
Jenny Keoghan, speaking on behalf of the Schroder family, said they would never recover from the impact of the murders and the suspected suicide of Kimberley’s father, Gary Schroder, shortly after hearing Tainui had killed again.
The Parole Board Hearings were a particular source of pain for the family.
“Every year from 2007 to 2010, we had to come up against the New Zealand Parole Board to fight to prevent Mr Wilson’s release. Each year, the families [were] re-traumatised,” Keoghan said.
Corrections did not properly listen to their concerns, the Schroder family said.
“Our only words, having lost this battle to [the Parole Board] was ‘he will do this again’,” she said.
“Do we truly believe the extent of this horrendous crime could have been prevented from escalating after Kimmy was murdered? Absolutely.”
Cherie Gillatt, Nicole Tuxford’s mother, brought her daughter’s ashes to court and sat them beside her as she spoke.
She tearfully explained how she hoped the inquest would give her answers.
“Our justice system and Corrections and parole system are all broken. There are too many, cracks, failures and miscommunication,” Gillat sobbed.
“Nicole’s death and Gary’s [death] were preventable. So many unanswered questions remain.”
But Stephen Tuxford, her father, said it would not help him.
“I can tell you now the outcome of these proceedings will not give me closure, nor justice for my family as it will never return Nicole back to us,” he told the court.
“The only positive thing that could happen from this event is that this doesn’t happen to another family, and this type of horrendous crime does not repeat itself.”
The inquest will cover Paul Tainui’s release and post-release management among other topics.
It is expected to run for two weeks.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz