The event that begins the unravelling of Gerald Shirtcliff's lies came on February 22, 2011, when an earthquake ripped through Christchurch. It damaged a multitude of commercial buildings in the central city, but toppled only two. One was the six-storey Canterbury Television building at 249 Madras St.
Built in 1986-87, the building collapsed, killing 115 people and injuring scores of others. Some victims lost their limbs, others survived the initial collapse, but perished in a fire that broke out near the lift shaft and then spread.
It's not known if the collapse sent shivers down Gerald Shirtcliff's spine, but it should have.