The mother of an Auckland toddler has told a court the child was her “twin” and had wanted to leave their house on errands the morning she was fatally shot by a shotgun held by her father.
Two-year-old Amokura Daniels-Sanft died in Favona on June 2 last year after a blast from a shotgun held by her father, Gustav Sanft, 26, hit her at point blank range.
He is standing trial at the High Court at Auckland accused of the child’s manslaughter.
He denies the charge, saying the gun went off by accident, but has pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a pistol.
Amokura’s mother, Julia Daniels, yesterday told the court on the morning her daughter died she left to organise a large rubbish bin because the family was moving out of their home that day.
Amokura had wanted to join her mum and cried when
Ms Daniels instead left her behind because she thought she would be in too much of a rush to take her, she said.
“She was like my twin,” she said.
However, shortly after
Ms Daniels received a call telling her to rush home.
When she arrived, police stopped her and would not let her into her house.
“All I remember is that I wanted to go and hug my baby girl,” Ms Daniels said in between tears.
Despite her sorrow, Ms Daniels said she is still in a relationship with Sanft and called him a dedicated father.
“He was in love, Amo (Amokura) was his baby,” she said.
Earlier on Monday, prosecutor Katie Hogan accepted Sanft had not intended to kill his daughter and was surprised when the shotgun fired.
She said when the blast hit his daughter, Sanft immediately dropped the shotgun and picked up his daughter, saying, “I pulled the trigger she was just playing up, I f*** up, what have I done?” Despite this, Ms Hogan said Sanft was guilty of manslaughter when he recklessly pointed a sawn-off shotgun at his daughter and pulled the trigger, perhaps to scare her, because she began playing up by jumping on a couch.
Ms Hogan said Sanft failed to check if the weapon was loaded or if its safety catch was on.
Defence lawyer Phil Hamlin said Sanft had believed the shotgun no longer worked properly and that it accidentally went off in his hands as he
was waiting to throw it away safely.
Earlier yesterday, Sanft’s neighbour, Susana Yuen, told the court she had seen Amokura playing in the drive way of her house with her “little rubber duck” on the morning she was shot. NZN