An Auckland father shattered his daughter’s skull with a fatal shotgun blast when he pointed the weapon at her and pulled the trigger to try and scare her, Crown prosecutors have told a court.
Gustav Sanft, 26, is accused of the manslaughter of his two-year-old daughter, Amokura Daniels-Sanft, at a home in Favona in June last year.
He is standing trial at the High Court at Auckland where he has denied the manslaughter charge but pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a pistol.
Yesterday, prosecutor Katie Hogan said the Crown accepted Sanft did not intend to kill his daughter and that he had not expected the shotgun to fire when it did.
He immediately dropped the weapon after it had gone off and picked up his daughter, holding her in his arms and walking around wailing, she said.
“There is no doubt this case involves a terrible tragedy,” she said.
Despite this, Ms Hogan said Sanft was guilty of manslaughter because he had not shown a proper duty of care to his daughter in the way he handled the shotgun, which had its barrel and handle shortened and its serial number scratched off.
She said Mr Sanft had failed to check if the weapon was loaded, if its safety catch was on, and he not only held the weapon too close to his daughter but pointed it at her and pulled the trigger.
However, defence lawyer Phil Hamlin said Sanft believed the shotgun was harmless and that it accidentally went off in his hands as he was waiting to throw it into a rubbish skip.
He said Sanft never deliberately pointed it at his daughter.
Ms Hogan said the “tragedy” occurred when the family was in the middle of moving out of their Favona Road address.
Amokura began playing up by jumping on the couch when Sanft pointed the shotgun at her, perhaps to try and scare her, and then pulled the tigger, Ms Hogan said.
Once 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?” she said.
When his partner returned home shortly after, Sanft called out to her, “I shot her, I shot her”, Ms Hogan said.
To an ambulance officer Sanft said, “I don’t want your sympathy I am a killer”. NZN