A violent man who killed his 3-month-old daughter was on bail at the time and shouldn’t have been near her.
Stuff has learned the man, who has permanent name suppression, was arrested following a family harm incident about two months before the child’s death at a Porirua home in November 2018.
The then 22 year-old was charged with threatening behaviour and released on bail, the conditions of which prevented him from associating with his partner and their two children.
He was still subject to those conditions when he was left in charge of the baby and killed her.
An autopsy revealed multiple historical fractures to the child’s ribs, collarbone, shoulder, finger, and trauma to her elbow.
Medical experts concluded the child had been assaulted on at least two previous occasions.
At the High Court in Wellington on Thursday, the man, now 24, was jailed for four years and five months.
He had previously admitted the charge of manslaughter along with several of assaulting his partner and one of accidentally hitting the baby’s older sibling.
Justice Francis Cooke suppressed the man’s name to protect the identity of his partner and their surviving child.
The court heard that on November 12, 2018, the 3-month-old baby girl was crying more than usual and her parents took her to hospital.
A doctor suspected she had reflux.
The next day the child was left in her father’s care in the sleepout of a Porirua house while her mother went inside to rest.
But an hour later she heard the baby crying and went back out. She found the father holding the baby and he appeared to be angry.
When she asked if everything was OK, he sent her back inside. As she was leaving she heard the baby cry out as if she was in pain. She ran back to the sleepout but, scared of confronting the father, went back inside when he told her to.
It was then he either hit, shook or threw the baby with such force that she began bleeding into her eyes.
Expert reports to the court said she would have stopped breathing immediately after the injury and would have remained comatose until her death.
He then left her alone in the sleepout to visit an associate while her mother was asleep in the house.
On his return he told the mother he had fed the baby, and she was asleep.
Hours later he brought the baby into the house and said there was something wrong with her. An ambulance was called but she was already dead.
Between February 2017 and June 2018 he hit, pushed and slapped his partner and tried to punch her in the face but missed and hit his eldest child in the head.
While she was pregnant, they got into an argument where she hit him, and he punched her in the arm. He apologised but became angry again with both sides pushing and shoving each other.
Oranga Tamariki’s Wellington regional manager, Cassie Revel, said the agency received a report of concern about the family on September 20, 2018, because they hadn’t engaged with “community services”.
After several failed attempts, social workers visited the home on October 5 and the family agreed to “reconnect with those community services”.
No further work was deemed necessary.
The killer grew up in an abusive home.
His Samoan father, who was known to police, was extremely violent and abused alcohol.
From the age of 11 the defendant used cannabis and by the time he was 18 he was using methamphetamine and drinking heavily.
He met the child’s mother on a night out in Wellington in either late 2015 or early 2016. She had been raised by extended family in New Zealand. Her parents lived in Samoa.
About a year after they first met, the couple became parents.
The relationship was plagued by the man’s abusive and controlling behaviour, but he had no violence convictions on his record when he killed the child.
His lawyer, Elizabeth Hall, said in court his background had set him on a pathway that now, horribly, had come to fruition.
She said he had taken responsibility for what had happened and would have to walk with the guilt and shame of that all his life.
The child’s mother was not in court for the man’s sentencing. It’s understood she remains in contact with him.