Killer driven by voices in his head
Wed, 17 Oct 2012 6:01p.m.
By Jane Luscombe
A little girl's voice in his head told him to kill, so he did, and in a brutal fashion.
Today Akshay Chand was found insane and locked away for what he did to Christie Marceau. But the question that will haunt not just her family is how a court, and the experts it heard, missed their chance to stop it from happening.
Crown prosecutor Simon Moore said today that Ms Marceau always stood up for the underdog.
“She had a reputation for looking after waifs and provided support to those seen as different.”
People like Chand, the boy who had few friends and never dated. Christie was kind to him, Mr Moore says. She knew he had depression and was suicidal. What she didn't know about was the voice in his head telling him to mutilate and kill her.
At first he called the voice Loralei. But later decided it was a little girl called Pauline he'd met in Wales when he was eight years old.
In September last year the voice told him to attack.
Chand was arrested for kidnapping and threatening to stab and rape Ms Marceau. He argued successfully to be released on bail and psychiatrists said he wasn't a danger.
But Chand's mum and sister were so worried he might hurt someone, they hid the kitchen knives.
Somehow he found one and used it to obey the voice in his head, stabbing Ms Marceau in the face and neck as she scrabbled with a gate latch in her back garden, desperate to escape him.
“As she lay dying in her mother's arms, the accused stood by, the knife in his hand,” Mr Moore said.
This time two of the country's leading forensic psychiatrists were called by the prosecution and defence, and both agreed Chand was schizophrenic.
“Chand knew the quality of his acts,” psychiatrist professor Graham Mellsop said. “The degree and severity of his disease of the mind means he didn't know what he was doing was morally wrong,”
The court heard Chand was psychotic and was convinced he had cervical cancer.
“He became aware of getting messages on TV and radio from the universe - by universe I asked him what he meant, he said 'cosmic power',” Mr Mellsop said.
He spoke to police of an accomplice who would kill him if he failed. That accomplice turned out to be Pauline, the voice in his head.
Last month Chand pleaded guilty to unlawfully detaining the Auckland teenager, threatening grievous bodily harm and assaulting her with intent to sexually violate her. He will be sentenced on these accounts tomorrow.
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