Auckland mother admits causing death of toddler son

A young Auckland mother admitted this morning to causing the death of her young son two years ago.

The woman, whose name remains suppressed, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the High Court in Auckland today.

She had previously been charged with murder, but the prosecution amended the charge, the court heard today. She was due to go to trial next week.

He also pleaded guilty to two representative counts of assault on a child: one count of assault on his son from four weeks before his death and one count of assault on his other son, who was two years old at the time.

“A charge may be representative if multiple offenses of the same type are alleged to have been committed in similar circumstances,” the Ministry of Justice website explains.

The woman faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for the involuntary manslaughter charge and two years in prison for each of the assault charges. Judge Matthew Downs sentenced her on all three charges in court this morning while the woman was in the dock.

His name suppression continues at least until his sentencing in July.

She was remanded on bail for “compassionate reasons” but Judge Downs stressed that she would normally remain in custody and should expect to be jailed when sentenced.

What happened?

Following today’s court appearance, the judicial summary of the facts of the case was released to the media.

The summary explained that the woman was 19 years old at the time of the baby’s death at Starship Hospital in January 2022.

She was the sole caregiver for her two children. “Her only source of income from her was profit,” the summary said.

The summary explained that the mother “hit” her eldest son on “several occasions” before the birth of the second child.

He also said the mother hit her older son the day she was released from the hospital after her younger son was born.

Two weeks after being discharged, in December 2021, she sent a text message to the children’s father. The mother said that she “was really struggling with the kids right now” and “I can’t do this s**t alone anymore.” She said she was “f***ing struggling mentally.”

In early January 2022, she sent the father “several text messages… threatening to harm his children,” the summary said, including one that said, “It won’t be pretty if I let my anger out inside.” “. the apartment around or toward the children.”

At autopsy, the youngest son was found to have healing fractures to his collarbone and ribs, caused by incidents prior to his death.

the death of the child

On January 14 of that year the fatal incident occurred.

“Sometime before 9 p.m., (the mother) became frustrated with (the youngest son) and momentarily lost control,” the summary says.

“She shook (the child) forcefully, causing severe brain injuries that were a substantial and operative cause of his death.”

The mother left seven missed calls on the father’s phone. In the end they spoke on the phone. She asked him to buy paracetamol.

At 3:46 a.m. the next day, he called Healthline “but hung up before speaking to anyone.”

“(The mother) did not call emergency services at any time,” the summary states.

At approximately 7.18am, the mother tried Healthline again and was on hold for 42 seconds before ending the call.

She then asked her father to take her to the hospital, but he refused, saying he had to work.

The mother then took the bus to Starship Hospital with her two children. When they arrived, the youngest son was having seizures.

“There was bleeding around the brain, severe retinal hemorrhages and a retinal tear.

Where to get help for domestic violence.

“These injuries were the result of (the mother’s) actions,” the summary said.

The boy was pronounced dead on January 16. He was just under five weeks old.

The defense

The mother told hospital staff that the injuries were caused because the older child fell on the younger child’s head while jumping on the bed near the baby.

“He later provided a statement via the Police 105 website to the effect that he had often accidentally hit (the younger boy’s) head against door frames, walls and the edge of his cot,” the summary said.

“(The mother) said she took (the child) to the hospital by bus because she couldn’t pay for the ambulance or Uber fare.”

She had not previously appeared in court.

She was initially charged in January of last year, about a year after the baby’s death.