Slain girl's mum speaks out for victims
The mother of teenager Christie Marceau will address a crowd in Auckland tomorrow as part of White Heart Day - a national day of remembrance for victims of violent crime or sudden death.
Akshay Anand Chand, 18, is charged with kidnapping and murdering Marceau, also 18, at her Hillcrest home in November last year.
At the time of the killing, Chand was on bail for an incident two months earlier where he allegedly kidnapped her.
Chant has pleaded not guilty and is likely to go trial later this year.
Marceau's mother, Tracey Marceau, will be joined at Auckland's Aotea Square by members of the Cowan family, who began the White Heart Trust.
Philip John Cowan died 11 years ago. His body was never found and though it's widely acknowledged as a murder, no-one has ever been convicted over his death.
The disappearance has led to years of soul searching for the Cowan family, who believe they know who the killer is and have joined other victim advocates in fighting for better justice.
"Apart from everything else, it's made me aware of how much criminal activity leads to strife and consternation and drama for people," Philip's father, Simon Cowan said.
"But also that victims get forgotten pretty quickly. Every time you talk about it, people say 'wow' and then get into talking about the perpetrator and the causes of crime."
Together with his other son Hamish, Cowan started the White Heart Trust.
White Heart Day, which features speakers from groups like the Sensible Sentencing Trust and Victim Support, will also be held in Napier and Wellington.
Hamish Cowan said the family - who held the first White Heart Day in Napier last year - want the ceremony to feel similar to Anzac Day.
"We want it to be peaceful. Everyone is welcome even if they haven't been affected directly by crime or suicide or car crashes and things."
Simon Cowan believes most people felt connected to victims in some way. "You can think of cases like the Kahuis, Nia Glassie, Scott Guy...''
He said it would not take the focus from prevention.
"The other 364 days of the year we can work on how to make the world a better place.
"This day is for remembering victims."
WHITE HEART DAY
WHERE: Aotea Square
WHEN: September 25, at 12pm
SPEAKERS: Hamish Cowan, Ruth Money of the Sensible Sentencing Trust; Tracey Marceau.