13 Feb 2014

Mother denies hurting toddler

8:07 pm on 13 February 2014

The mother of a dead toddler has told a court she never hurt her daughter.

The Crown says it was Michael Martin who inflicted fatal injuries on Amy Lorigan's daughter while she was out buying baby food on 9 June 2012.

He is accused of assaulting Ms Lorigan's two-year-old Leilani Lotonu'u from a previous relationship with so much force that he ruptured an organ in her stomach.

Mr Martin has denied charges of ill-treating and murdering the girl and his lawyers have said she was in the care of her mother.

At the High Court in Auckland on Thursday, one of them told Amy Lorigan that a neighbour had heard furniture being moved and the toddler crying out before Ms Lorigan swore at her and told her to shut up.

Ms Lorigan said that never happened and she had never hurt her daughter.

She said she'd had an argument with the accused on the morning of 9 June about Leilani going to stay with her father and had left the child in Mr Martin's care while she went grocery shopping.

The court was told when she returned home, Mr Martin was crushing cans in the garage and acting "weird". He ate the fish and chips she bought for Leilani, who was asleep on the couch.

That night, the family all slept in the lounge room because it was cold. Ms Lorigan told the court she woke early the next morning to find her daughter next to her with her eyes flickering, then the two-year-old went floppy.

Despite efforts by ambulance staff who arrived soon after, she could not be resuscitated.