9 Aug 2013

Woman jailed for killing newborn

5:07 pm on 9 August 2013

An Auckland woman who killed her newborn baby and buried him in her back yard four days later has been jailed for two years and six months.

Kulukora Akau'ola was originally charged with the boy's murder in June 2011, but pleaded guilty in May to the lesser charge of manslaughter. She was sentenced in the High Court in Auckland on Friday.

The court has heard that Akau'ola told the baby's father she didn't want to have the child. After his birth, she suffocated him unintentionally when she wrapped a towel around his face to stop him from crying.

The child's father, Christian Alofa, was the only one who had known she was pregnant and she told him the baby was stillborn; they buried the body together.

Mr Alofa did not find out until after a post-mortem that Akau'ola had killed the baby. A victim impact statement read to the court said he is still struggling with the death, and visits his son's grave each week.

'An insecure young woman without direction'

Justice Venning says Akau'ola did not intend to kill the child, but wanted him to stop crying. He described the 24-year-old as an insecure young woman without any direction.

The court also heard excerpts from reports that said she concealed the pregnancies of her two other children, who now live with her parents, and that the risk of her harming any future children is high.

The reports show that while she expressed remorse she was emotionally guarded, numb and reluctant to talk about the baby.

Her lawyer argued she was under lot of pressure raising her other children, lacked support and didn't want to bring shame on the family by having another child out of wedlock.

Outside court, Detective Inspector Dave Lynch rejected that view, saying Akau'ola knew there were plenty of services available, such as Plunket.