Writing a victim statement

My victim statement was the worst thing I have had to write in my entire life and I had to write essays at University. They don’t give you much of a guide line on how much or little, and what to and not include.

Write how this crime has affected you? Oh he killed my partner. Is that I all I need to write?

What how much this has affected you financially? I am lacking in money due to the events?

Not really very helpful.

I have included my victim impact statement exactly how it was for court. Now imagine this:

You walk into the court room, along the wall closest to you there are seats for the public/victims. To your right is where the person that did you wrong sits behind a little glass window. Is that window to protect you from it or it from you? As you stand there watching him you think about how easy it would be to go over there and punch his lights out until you notice that the police officer in the court room stands between you and ‘it’.

In front of you are 3 desks big ones, almost the length of the room. At one stands the prosecutor, at another the defendant and the finally one is where you will stand. On the right had side is the typey person and the media. All watching, beady eyes ready and waiting to write down everything you say. At the very back is the bench where the Judge sits. He also looks down at you with his unemotional eyes. He calls you up to the stand, you look over at the man that killed the person you love and you have to read your victim impact statement in front of at least 7 strangers and you know you are going to cry but you have to do this anyways. So with a shaky voice and tears in your eyes you begin:

 

Victim statement

Every day I wake up is the worst day of my life. There is always a minute where I forget what happened to Riley. Where I think he has gotten up early for photos, to feed our cat or just to play video games. Then I must remind myself that he is no longer with me and never will be ever again.

You have taken away what I personally believe was the rest of my life. Riley Baker was 26 years old and had a whole lot more to do before he died. There will be so many photos not taken, so many birthdays un-celebrated.

We have been together for 2 and a half years, living together from pretty much the first date. For us there was no doubt – we were in love and never wanted to be separated. When I heard he had been hit coming back from Oamaru I was distraught: I had my parents come take to me to the hospital because I knew I was in no state to drive. I arrived at the hospital around 10pm on Saturday night and did not leave until Tuesday morning after his surgery when I had my final chance to say goodbye (apart from a couple of trips home to grab things). I didn’t want to leave his side and in the end the staff moved Riley over so I could sleep next to him.

It was on Sunday morning they told me he might die. I vaguely remember bolting from the hospital and somehow ended up on the street below. I remember collapsing on the side of the road trying not to vomit I was crying so hard. The thought of losing Riley was beyond anything I could comprehend. Disbelief and distress doesn’t even begin to cover it. When I had enough strength to pick myself off the pavement I went back inside, where I learnt the details. He had had a stroke, his brain was swelling, and unfortunately there wasn’t much more they could do. That’s when it sunk in. That’s when I had to come to terms with the fact that Riley and I weren’t going to have the life we should have. Even if he did survive he would have serious brain damage.

We wouldn’t get married, we wouldn’t go to Iceland, he would never see the northern lights and we would never curl up on a lazy Sunday with our pets and children.

Things will continue to be tough for me for a long time to come. I am usually a social butterfly, always laughing and hanging out with our friends. Now the thought of seeing people is more of a chore then a pleasure.

I used to bake at least once a week but now I am lucky to make toast. Everything I once loved doing has become a nightmare. I can’t even look at the stilts I own since we spent many days together me stilt walking and him taking photos.

I have trouble spending time in my own bed and most nights I end up just sitting on his computer chair staring blankly out the window until 5am where I have to drag myself to bed so I actually get some sort of rest before work. I have to go to work not just because of the money but also because if I spend too much time at home by myself I want to yank my own heart out. Which doesn’t work with the fact I also don’t want to go out and see people. I am in a constant state of which thing makes me the least sad at this particular point in time because nothing makes me happy.

This hasn’t just affected me emotionally but also financially and physically. Most days I feel completely numb. I don’t feel hunger or cold, I don’t sleep, I have to have people to remind me to eat and drink. I show up late to work every morning because getting out of bed is just too hard. I have excused myself from meetings to cry in the stairwells.

I break down crying every time there is a car accident in a movie. Every time I hear a motorbike my heart sinks and when I hear a siren I hope that no one is about to go through what I had to go through. The structure in my life has collapsed.

When I was dating my ex I developed depression, and Riley was always the one to deal with it. He would ring me in the middle of the day to check up on me, carry me to bed when I lay down in the middle of the floor and cried. He thought of exciting activities for the days I was feeling particularly bad – but most of all he talked to me about everything. He was never too busy to check up on me. I have had to re-look into counselling options now that he is gone.

Dealing with Riley’s passing financially is and will continue to be a mission till the end of the year at the very least.

We have a shared flat, shared bills, shared food. I suddenly have all of this to deal with on my own. Together we share a one-bedroom apartment, just above the city. It’s nothing fancy but it was our little home. We had just signed a lease for next year which luckily the landlord involved let me out of due to the circumstances but now I have to find a place which I can afford by myself which also allows pets.

Because we have a cat together. While it’s not a child, he still doesn’t understand why Riley hasn’t come home. He waits by the door every day at 5pm, every time my neighbour comes home his ears stand up. He has started adventuring down the road, the way Riley went to work every day – which then causes him to wander too far, so he can’t find his way back, so I have to go get him.

I have also used up all my sick days over the last couple of weeks due to having days that I could not handle anything, and I will continue to have these days in the following weeks and months.  I will have to take time off work that I cannot afford to miss.

The recommendation of maximum 3 months of jail time but preferred community service is ridiculous and an insult. Whether you call this an accident, you still killed a young man. It will show other tourists that it doesn’t matter if you kill someone on our roads because of your own incompetence – the worst you will get is 3 months and then you get to go home and live the rest of your life. As this is a first offence I can see why leniency would be considered. On the other hand, as a society, we cannot continue to forgive the amount of people who die every year on our roads.

I don’t know what your excuse is but let me paint you a picture. Riley and I at the motorbike store picking out his gear. Looking over all these jackets ranging between $200 and $1000. I asked him to pick a bright one so he could be seen. He ended up picking a white and black jacket and helmet. This was still when he had his GN125, a cute little red bike. Then when he decided to get a new bike he looked at a bunch of different ones. He wanted another red one but found he could only get it in green, white or black. After a lot of um-ing and ah-ing and persistence from me he got the white one. When he got the bike he realised the headlight was not as bright as he wanted. So he ordered a new one and replaced it. It was so bright that when we drove together (me on my scooter him on his bike) I wouldn’t have even needed my light. He always drove behind me so he could keep an eye on me while I drove. If you did not see Riley driving towards you, you were doing something wrong. He was there to be seen.

This barely even begins to cover how much this man means to me and how much his passing has and will continue to affect me financially, physically and emotionally. In a year or two this may be over for you but every day for the rest of my life I will continue to have a Riley-size hole in my heart.

 

You stumble your way through it, stopping to cry and have some water. The judge tells you to take your time. He’s encouraging and you know that you can do this, not for you but for the one you love and to show the person that killed them the amount of shit you are going through. So you make it, turn around and practically run back to your seat. To be honest with you I don’t know much more from the court date for I ran away. Just bolted. Went for a walk with my support person. Came back in time to hear the verdict, the judge spoke of the trauma we were all feeling, the feelings Mr Ma (Riley’s killer) was feeling and how it had all gone down.

The Verdict

Mr Limin Ma was sentence to 150 hours community service, banned from driving for 2 years in New Zealand and to pay a reparation of $30,000.

I was so numb, Riley’s life meant so little to the government and the court. After the court, they take you to a room so they can check if you have any questions. While we were talking a representative for Mr Ma came over and said that he would like to talk to us. In all my life I have actually never been so offended. What could he possibly say or do that would help in this situation? Maybe he did have an excuse for why he didn’t see Riley but I doubt it. In the end I chose not to go over and talk to him. Riley’s parents went over and I left. I ended up heading back into work because I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts at the time.

I thought it was over, I thought I could continue my life now the court was over. Mr Ma would do his community service and then he would go home and I would never have to see him again. Unfortunately it didn’t work out at that way and as it happened Mr Ma did his community service down the road from my house and the place where he was staying was near my work. In the morning and sometimes in the evening we would cross paths. Him on his way to Community service, me on my way to work. I ended up coming into work earlier (way earlier) so I wouldn’t have to see him. Honestly someone somewhere fucked up on this one. They had my address and where I worked because I had to fill out three million pieces of fucking paper work but still they didn’t put two and two together.

I rang victim support to see if there was anything I could do but due to confidentiality there was nothing they could do.

Recently I have been informed that Mr Ma has been sent home. He finished his service and was put on the plane home. While it was a relief that he is gone and I can go back to normal hours at work I am feeling a little bitter.  Mr Ma came across to New Zealand with his wife and child, travelled around the country and killed a man. He did 150 hours of community service, paid a fine and then went home to his wife, child and friends. In a country where no one will really know of what he has done. Riley Baker paid the ultimate price for a mistake he did not make. He did not get to go home to his loving girlfriend (that’s me) and his baby (Berlioz). Riley’s family, friends and I get to live the rest of our lives without him because a Chinese Tourist driver “didn’t see him”

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