‘Killer one of NZ’s worst’ - Bridges

As Tony Robertson is sent to jail for "life", the man who put him away for his previous offending against children has described the killer as "incredibly cold and angry".

Transport Minister and former Tauranga Crown prosecutor MP Simon Bridges has finally spoken about the man he helped send to prison in 2006.

Photo by David White. Fairfax NZ.

Simon had appealed at the time for Robertson to be sentenced to preventive detention, but the sentencing judge in 2006 showed leniency to the then-teenaged Robertson.

Speaking after Robertson was sentenced on Thursday for the rape and murder of Blessie Gotingco, Simon recalled the 2006 case as "haunting".

"I recall Robertson himself as an incredibly cold and angry individual. His yelling and swearing in the witness box led me to seek additional security at court, something I never did in any other case.

"Prosecuting the Robertson case in 2006 was a haunting experience both because of the  circumstances and the offender.

"The five-year-old victim’s evidence that she was ’stolen’ on her walk to school, along with the circumstances in which the police found her with Robertson, was chilling.

"I believe Robertson is one of New Zealand’s worst offenders and I am glad justice has taken its course."

Earlier on Thursday, Robertson, now 28, was sentenced to preventive detention for the rape and murder of the Auckland mother.

He may never leave prison. 

Justice Timothy Brewer told Robertson at sentencing: "You came across Mrs Gotingco, a small, slightly built woman who was crossing the road. You took advantage of the opportunity and deliberately ran her down.

 "It was a bestial action and it was committed with the intention that your victim would not survive."

Justice Brewer noted that Gotingco was badly hurt after she was struck by Roberston’s BMW.

"You did not seek treatment. You put her in your car and drove to your garage. You raped her in the back of your car, despite her injuries.  You strangled her with your hand, I infer to subdue her. After you had raped Mrs Gotingco you killed her with a knife. This was so she could not identify you.  You stabbed her many times before cutting her throat."

Brewer had no doubt Robertson would reoffend, given the chance.

"Your history, and the reports I have received, make it very plain that you would be likely to commit another qualifying offence no matter how long any finite sentence might be," he said.

On the charge of murder, Robertson was sentenced to life with a minimum non-parole period of 24 years.

He was sentenced to preventive detention on the rape charge.

The sentence, delivered in the High Court at Auckland meant Robertson may be locked up indefinitely.

The court’s gallery was packed with members of the public and members of Gotingco’s family.

Robertson was flanked by five guards, and sat with his head bowed.

In a victim impact statement that was read to the court, Blessie’s husband Antonio said their lives would never be the same again.

"Our dreams have been turned into a recurring nightmare quite literally."

Their dream of buying a home was now gone, and his very will to live had suffered.

"It makes me so angry knowing Blessie was living a healthy and happy life, and did nothing to this offender to deserved such an unbelievably violent cruel, depraved vicious and callous attack.

“This offender still has his life. No one has the right to do the evil that was inflicted on my wife, and I pray that he never has the opportunity to do this again.

"Words cannot express the pain, torture and anguish my family has endured."

Blessie’s son John Gotingco told the court his mother was "the greatest person I know”.

"We had so many hopes and dreams, dreams that will now forever remain dreams.

"Not a day goes by when I don’t think of the events of May 24. They are forever in my thoughts."

Outside the court, family friend Alan Wharerau said the Gotingcos were relieved the "cowardly and evil" Robertson was behind bars.

"While no sentence can return Blessie to us, the legal process is now completed and we can focus on our family once again."

Wharerau described Blessie’s death as "preventable" and said he hoped it would at least serve as a catalyst for change.

"There are other Robertsons living within our communities and the family is hopeful the independent review’s scope will ensure that their monitoring capabilities and processes of the Corrections department are reviewed and corrected urgently. Blessie’s death must not be in vain.

"Now that this sentence has been passed down Robertson will never walk the streets again."

Robertson, 28, whose name was suppressed during his trial and appeal, was convicted of the 2014 rape and murder in May.

Crown prosecutor Michael Walker said the crime was premeditated.

"Robertson planned to abduct, rape and kill the only witness to his crime."

The impact on Blessie’s family was "incalculable" he said.

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@Captain Sensible

Posted on 10-08-2015 11:03 | By morepork

Your points have already been made and no, most of us don’t like it. But you should not mistake the attempts to take a broader view for being "gutless". Wanting a better result is NOT weakness, or cowardice. "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" results in a world that is blind and toothless. We can do better than that. In this case, the perpetrator is not worth the effort, in my opinion, and I see his "death penalty" as not about "punishment" but a sad acknowledgement that he is unfit to live in our society and never will be. By his inhuman behaviour he has lost the right to "human rights" and I see no reason why we should all have to support him to the tune of $3 million. We should cut our losses on this one.

from the highest tree

Posted on 10-08-2015 06:28 | By Captain Sensible

A cameo of PC NZ.....this thug will be looked after, fed, kept warm, exercised, entertained, given clean clothes and bedding, given medical and dental treatment etc all courtesy of the long suffering taxpayers. And what does the family of the murdered victim get? Counselling! NZ...land of the gutless spineless politicians too afraid of upsetting the UN and perhaps jepoardising their chances of another cushy job.

@How about this...

Posted on 09-08-2015 16:17 | By morepork

The idea of putting people in prison to punish them simply doesn’t work. Never has, never will. Even the threat of death has never stopped crime. Confucious once said:"If you are planning a journey of revenge, dig two graves before you start." If we are to deserve the adjective "civilized" we need to care about all our people and find ways to encourage those with an anti-social mindset to change it. Crimes of passion and poverty will always be with us because we can probably never eradicate the causes of them. But we can make people take responsibility for their actions and consider consequences, and we can show that good attitude and kindness are no harder to maintain than cruelty and darkness, with much better results all round. Criminals must make reparation, because they know it is the right thing to do, not from fear of punishment.


Posted on 09-08-2015 16:03 | By morepork

I obtained this figure from a friend who works in the prison service. (It’s not official, but I believe it...) If you consider the costs of guards, laundry, food, exercise, TV lounges,and all the other stuff we invest into prisons, it is probably conservative. The days when people were chained to the wall, given a bowl of gruel and left alone are long gone; rightly so. We are a more enlightened generation and we SHOULD treat prisoners humanely and fairly, and try to rehabilitate them if we can, no matter what they did, EXCEPT when what they did is beyond all Humanity and sociability, to the point of being unacceptable (as in this case). Robertson is an evil, un-rehabilitatable, waste of space who civilized society will not miss in the least. I’d rather he was dead, but I hope he is never released.


Posted on 09-08-2015 15:50 | By morepork

The reason you cite is the most powerful one for not having a death penalty and it is sadly true that many innocent people have been executed. Nevertheless, (as you acknowledged) there are SOME cases where the death penalty IS appropriate. I’m not in favour of it generally, and I firmly believe that as long as there is a chance of someone changing their mind about a life of crime (being rehabilitated), we should give them that opportunity. Most of us could use a second chance; why deny it to others? This case is SO awful it is "beyond the pale" and a line has to be drawn. We must make it clear that this is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Unfortunately, there is little to no chance of capital punishment being re-introduced and you and I won’t have a say in it.

$120,000 a year?

Posted on 09-08-2015 12:24 | By sojourner

How is that amount even possible? Do they live in a five star hotel? That’s almost five times my income per year.

Generally speaking

Posted on 09-08-2015 10:09 | By earlybird

I’m against the death penalty because there’s far too much history of innocent people being found guilty of crimes they didn’t commit. However, every once in a while a killer surfaces and is found guilty when there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that he committed the crime. Tony Robertson is that killer. I would support the death penalty if it was applied to him. Not only has he taken a wife & mother away from a family in a particularly brutal way but he’s tried to blame everyone else for his actions. What a coward.


Posted on 09-08-2015 08:20 | By Feruno

is a hell of a thing . Why is that judge not named and shamed. What a statement to make after this "person" was set free from prison ( name and shame that person too )to buy a BMW, rent a fancy apartment, and get drugs, then go and slaughter a decent, law abiding citizen and terrorize the citizens of NZ till he was caught . Could anyone see that coming ????


Posted on 09-08-2015 07:46 | By

dont waste the needle - get it to dig its own grave and cut its throat - publicly !

I don't believe for one moment

Posted on 08-08-2015 21:43 | By How about this view!

That Tony Robertson is the ONLY person in the country that we should have major concerns about. The worrying thing is that our good-hearted, well-meaning apologists have, inch-by-inch and step-by-step, removed ALL options for a meaningful justice system and left our criminal justice processes impotent. We no longer have the ability to PUNISH or seek retribution as the courts and legal system are now geared towards re-education and re-integration BACK into a rapidly deteriorating social society. I feel it must be time to re-visit the concepts of large secure sites for mental health services (Tokanui etc) and HARD LABOUR prison sites for any and all convicts that have a penchant for violent crime, whether it be domestic abuse, child abuse, alcohol fueled fighting or murder. Some members of our society no longer have any fear of the courts processes and compulsion needs to return.

well said

Posted on 08-08-2015 17:15 | By wipey

totally agree with you more pork, hard choice, but the right one.

Put him down.

Posted on 08-08-2015 16:57 | By tish

He’s worse than an animal.

And again....

Posted on 08-08-2015 15:02 | By patricia1955

Totally agree with above.

I say it again...

Posted on 08-08-2015 13:30 | By morepork

I object to having my taxes support the upkeep of this offender. Especially for 24 years... (It costs around $120,000 a year; how is the life of this creature worth around $3 million?) There IS a case for having a death penalty for certain types of crime, and where the offender is NEVER going to be rehabilitated. The society he has rejected so horribly should reject HIM, and a little needle in the back of the hand would be a civilized and humane way to solve this particular problem. (Maybe some of the money saved could go to victims and their families?). The only "cure" for this kind of cancer is to cut it out. It may not prevent others from offending, but it will make them think and it means the rest of us don’t have to worry about possible parole.

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