Chch property manager named after quake death charge

Licensed Harcourts real estate agent Christopher Chapman
Licensed Harcourts real estate agent Christopher Chapman

A Christchurch property manager being investigated by police after his tenant was killed by falling masonry in the February 2011 earthquake can now be named.

Licensed Harcourts real estate agent Christopher Chapman is accused of misconduct amid reported claims he failed to tell tenants their building was structurally unsafe.

His name suppression was lifted overnight after he lost a High Court appeal last month.

The tenant, tattooist Matthew McEachen, was crushed to death in the central city premises in question during the earthquake. The building had been structurally weakened in the 2010 quake.

Chapman's lawyer Philip Rzepecky says he was only assisting the landlord to deal with the issues that arose as a result of the 2010 quake and had not been contracted to manage the property at the time of the collapse in February, 2011.

Both NAI Harcourts and Mr Chapman deny any breach of proper professional standards, and he remains a valued and highly regarded member of NAI Harcourts team, says Mr Rzepecky.

Matt Parkin, Jeanette McEachen and Bruce McEachen (Hamish Clark)

Bruce McEachen, the father of Matthew, says he is happy to hear suppression had been lifted.

"I think it's time his friends and his co-workers knew exactly who this person was," he says, "he should have been honest from the very beginning and said this building wasn't safe to be in."

Mr McEachen says Mr Chapman had the technical reports saying it wasn't safe, but chose not to release that information.

"In my eyes, I would say he is solely responsible for the death of my son."

Matt Parkin, owner of the tattoo shop Matthew worked in, says his death was avoidable.

"Had someone done their job right no one would have been hurt," he says.

He says Mr Chapman's replies to his emails asking whether the building were safe were confusing.

Lifting the suppression will give some closure to Matthew's parents, he says. 

"Matti still makes me smile, he's still with us." 

The matter will now go to a Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal hearing.