The de facto grandfather of 13-year-old murderer Jordan Nelson says Child, Youth and Family (CYF) has failed him.
Kerry Lock and his partner Rosemaree Kurth cared for Nelson at the request of CYF after he had a troubled year in 2011 living with his birth mother in Napier.
But only a few months into his new living arrangement, Nelson shot Ms Kurth in the back of the head. He pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 18 years' prison this week.
Mr Lock says he doesn’t blame CYF for the murder, but thinks more could have been done to help Nelson.
“Jordan [Nelson] was so determined to get back to Napier and he would have killed [Rosemaree] regardless, even if CYF had intervened,” he says.
Nelson was under strict restrictions by CYF which prevented him from returning to Napier, but Mr Lock says these were never properly explained to him or Nelson.
“CYF failed me big time. Something has happened over there that I don’t know the full extent of. They have slipped up and didn’t tell me. They are in the wrong."
Mr Lock says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett needs to take responsibility for the lack of communication.
“I want to see some heads roll. If that was your or me, we’d lose our jobs, but because they're up there on their pedestals, they can do whatever they like."
The Government agency made promises that they never followed up on, he says.
“What they offered, they never gave. The help that he meant to have got, he never got."
He says the sentence should have been tougher and a minimum non-parole period of 11 years should have been enforced, but wasn’t.
“What he’s done to Rose is wrong, seriously wrong. Rose looked after him well, we both did. She was the love of my life and I’m a shattered wreck now."
CYF admits there were issues with transferring Nelson’s case from Napier to New Plymouth, saying the specific shortcomings were:
- Napier should have advised New Plymouth that Jordan was in their area;
- This led to undue delays in the case being picked up in New Plymouth;
- Once the case was transferred, New Plymouth would have assigned a worker to Jordan. Jordan’s case was still with Napier staff and he had a social worker assigned there;
- All staff in Napier and New Plymouth have since been formally briefed about the requirement to follow the transfer policy.
CYF acting general manager of residential and high needs services Nova Salomen says there was nothing in Nelson’s history that suggested he was at risk of committing such violence.
“He made a conscious decision to do what he did on 16 April 2012. Jordan was not in the care of Child, Youth and Family at the time Ms Kurth was killed."