Coral Ellen Burrows
March 10, 1997 - September 9, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial

In New Zealand a father is rightfully outraged at the sentence given to a man named Steven Williams who had murdered his daughter, Coral Ellen Burrows. Ron Burrows, pictured below with his son, Slade, was shocked when Steven received life in prison, with a chance for parole after only a DISGUSTING 15 years. In November of 2004, Steven was in court and that sentence shocked a lot of people who thought he would at least spend the rest of his life in prison. Here is a timeline of events:

10 September 2003 - Coral’s School bag found
During an aerial search of Abbott’s Creek last this afternoon, the backpack belonging to Coral was found. The bag was said to contain Coral’s uneaten lunch and some schoolbooks when recovered from below the Featherston rail bridge. 

The discovery of the bag is significant in regards that it reduces “the likelihood of Coral simply wandering off because of the distances involved.” It is believed that the bag may have traveled some distance. Aerial and ground searches will be directed into the areas from the double bridges at the base of the Rimutaka Hill Road downstream towards the edge of Featherston township.

The police are now appealing for any sightings of people seen in the area or vehicles parked on Tuesday along the main highway, near Double bridges, scenic lookouts or adjoining roads.

12 September 2003 – Coral’s stepfather remanded in custody
It has been revealed that the police had paid a visit to the family home the day that Coral went missing. The Dominion Post claimed it was a drug-related raid. Cars related to the property have also been impounded. Unemployed Stephen Roger Williams, 29, of Featherston appeared in Masterton District Court charged with 2 charges - one of assault and one of the using white Lada motor vehicle as a weapon. The incidents occurred on 2 September and the assault was related to Coral’s mother’s brother. 

13th September 2003 – Mannequin displays Coral’s clothes
Hoping to prompt more public help, the police released a more detailed visual and written description of the clothes Coral was last seen wearing, including a mannequin dressed in the same clothes she was wearing. Police have also lowered Lake Wairarapa’s water level from 4m to 2m to continue search using a jet boat.

14th September 2003 – Forensic search of Coral’s home, Rest day for searchers
Although searchers have been given a rest day, the family and friends of Coral are still out there searching and calling her name. 

Meanwhile police and forensic experts are searching Coral’s home in what they describe as standard procedure. Coral’s mother and 2 brothers moved out of the home they shared with Stephen Williams and the home is being guarded. It has not been revealed if the family are still in Featherston.

15th September 2003 – Williams appears in Court as search continues
Steven Roger William appeared in Masterton District Court and agreed to be remanded in custody. Meantime forensic search continues on the stepfather’s car and home.

16th September 2003 – Coral’s disappearance most likely 'an abduction'
police revealed today. "I am led to the inevitable conclusion that Coral has been abducted and taken from the immediate area by another person." Says Inspector Drew as he appealed for more sightings of a beige/fawn coloured Lada sedan in the Featherston, Greytown, Martinborough or South Wairarapa on Tuesday last week between the hours of 12.30pm and 3.30pm. However searches have by no means been called off. Divers, helicopter and search teams continue to various areas, including a tented off area at Coral’s house.

17 September 2003 - Coral's stepfather jailed for eight months
Steven Williams pleaded guilty in the Masterton District Court to assault, threatening to kill a 16-year-old in Featherston and causing grievous bodily harm in July. In addition he crashed a car into a power pole while extremely intoxicated and will serve a further two months for that. His lawyer Jock Blaythwayt says Williams accepts his sentence and is willing to stand up when he has done something wrong - however while handcuffed and being led to a prison van Williams yelled to media that his sentence was a joke.

18 September 2003 - Police request burnoff info 
Police investigating Coral Burrows disappearance seek information about rubbish fires or burnoffs in the south Wairarapa area in the week Coral went missing. Inquiry head Detective Inspector Rod Drew says there is nothing unusual in the request, describing it as simply 'exploring all possible information sources'. 

19th September 2003 – Coral’s body recovered and stepfather charged
As police cordoned off a 30 to 40 metres square area in bush near Lake Onoke (Ferry), Coral’s family learnt of the death of the six year old and the arrest of Steven Roger Williams (Coral’s step-father). 

What is happening in this world when the life of a child, once again, means nothing? When will our society see the value, the innocence, the love, the truthfulness and so much more in children who don't deserve the abuse they suffer and often die from? Steven Williams was the boyfriend of Coral's mother, Jeanna Cremen, who trusted him to get her children to school and when Coral didn't want to get out of the car, he beat and killed her. After dumping her body, Coral was reported missing and after ten days her body was found. Steven plead guilty to her murder.

Reports say that Ron had tried to make a report with Child Youth And Family, about concerns with the treatment of his daughter, those reports were apparently never recorded. Robyn Williams, Coral's Grandmother, said that she and her son had expected more of a sentence. Robyn had collapsed in a coffee bar:

"It has been such a hype all these months, but now I just feel empty.

Robyn was speaking to reporters from her bed when she told them that her son had called and broken down in to tears after the sentence was read:

"He is a bit bemused because it is all over. We thought he would get a lot more"

Unfortunately, Justice John Wild was lenient because Steven had plead guilty and seemed remorseful for his action. In court, Ron sat holding a picture of Coral that said "We love you Coral-Ellen". Ron was quiet until the sentence was read and then he put his fist up and was clearly disgusted with the way things had gone, Ron walked through the streets in his town, a very angry man:

"My daughter done nothing. She'll never have a 16th birthday or get married. Will I ever get to hold
my grandchildren? Nah"

Ron said he didn't believe for a minute that Steven had any remorse for what he did and he talked about how he and Steven had walked side by side searching for Coral, while crying:

"He's not remorseful though. The only reason he's upset is that he's caught and he's got to stay in jail.
I watched him on the monitor. Every time he had to be remorseful for the Judge's benefit, he was. You
take the life of an innocent child, you deserve to rot in jail at the very least. You deserve to be put down
like a mongrel dog"

Coral's Uncle, Karl Creman, was also upset saying that 15 years wasn't enough of a sentence. Justice John Wild would later change it to a minimum of 17 years saying it was okay because of the confession coming early on in the investigation and Steven's parole officer said that in 26 years of being a parole officer, he had never seen a man with more remorse:

"I think the fear and disbelieving look that must have been in Coral's eyes as you punched and hit
her, the little hand that came up to try and fend off the blows, will haunt you for the rest of your life"
John Wild

In court, Val Nisbet, Steven's lawyer, talked about how he had been suicidal, had nightmares and was on antidepressants since killing this little Angel. Steven was apparently reliving the beating and the blood that was on his hands, many times a day:

"Steven Williams believes he is the most hate man in New Zealand"
Val Nisbet

Awwww, poor Steven, killed a child and now HE'S reliving it? What about her family, those who love her and will miss her every day for the rest of their lives? There is NO excuse for what he did, there is no way around it, he murdered a little girl and if he suffers for it every day, that's what he deserves, he does NOT deserve to ever walk a free man again.

Crown Prosecutor, Grand Burston said that Steven had attacked Coral brutally in the car outside of her school. Steven punched Coral twice in the face and caused brain damage and then spent the next two hours looking for a place to dump her body, before he hit her with a piece of wood and left her to die, alone.

Justice John Wild told Jeanna that she was not responsible for what had happened and then spoke about Methamphet
-amine, the drug Steven had taken that day:

"There was nothing to warn you that anything like this might happen. If anything good comes out
of this case, I hope is is a shocking warning to those manufacturing or using pure Methamphetamine"

Outside of the courtroom, Detective Inspector Rod Drew stated that he felt the sentencing had brought closure for everyone, in this case:

"We are still without Coral, but the appropriate sentence has been handed down. That's life imprisonment"

I have searched for anything to say that Rod Drew as in some way connected to Coral, justifying his statement "We are still without Coral", he isn't without her at all, her family is. Also, how dare he say everyone has closure now, CLEARLY there are those who will not find closure due to the INSANE sentence given to Steven. Steven was able to play with the system and convince people that he was sorry, I am sure he'll do the same to a parole board one day. That is not justice, that is 15 years of his life, compared to the REAL life sentence given to Coral's family who love her and will miss her for the rest of their lives.

Penal Reform Co-President, Howard League said that while emotions were running high after the sentencing, people needed to keep the case in perspective:

"While you can understand the public feeling about this terrible murder, the reality is on day he's
going to be released, and too often people come out of prison institutionalized, without any resources and ill-
equipped to cope with society and they are just re-offending, cause the public further distress"

Are we supposed to feel bad for Steven because he killed this little Angel and is now going to prison, where he'll probably get beaten up a lot and then when he actually gets to live what is left of his life a free man, he's going to have trouble adjusting to the outside? WOW, that's all I can say is WOW!

As it turns out, Steven had quite the history of violence as well as property offenses, in fact, Steven had 88 prior convictions and was on parole when he killed Coral.

This page was created on March 13, 2014
Death Occurred in New Zealand

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