Toddler 'flopped like a ragdoll'

By Edward Gay

Two-year-old Seini Ikamanu died in 2010. Photo / supplied
Two-year-old Seini Ikamanu died in 2010. Photo / supplied

A two-year-old girl "flopped like a ragdoll", after allegedly being thrown against a wall and stomped on by her father, a court has heard.

St John Ambulance officer Toni Harris' evidence was read to the High Court at Auckland today. She said she and partner Angela Parry were called to a a Beach Haven home in March 2010, after a report that a young girl was having a seizure.

She said they found Seini Ikamanu lying on a bed.

Seini's mother Sela Taufu was on her knees by the bed and wiping blood from her daughter's mouth.

Ms Harris said Seini was rolled over.

"She just flopped like a ragdoll, there was no muscle tone at all."

She said she noticed a bruise on Seini's face and was told by Seini's mother that the girl had fallen down the stairs.

Seini was rushed to hospital. Ms Harris said Mrs Taufu sat in the front of the ambulance.

"She was asking me: 'Is it bad? What are they going to do to her when they get to hospital?'."

Ms Harris said those were normal questions for a mother to ask.

The girl's father Kefu Ikamanu denies murdering his daughter Seini, causing grievous bodily harm by grabbing and breaking her shoulder, and injuring with intent to injure by stomping on her pelvis and shattering it.

Photos of Seini have also been shown to court this morning. One shows the swollen face of the two year-old as she lies in hospital with tubes inserted in her mouth. Bruising around the child's eyes is also visible.

In his opening on Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Phil Hamlin said Ikamanu changed his story when speaking to authorities in the days following Seini's admission to hospital.

Mr Hamlin said Ikamanu told one police officer that Seini and her brother had been playing outside when Seini fell down the steps.

"And - to use my words - out of the blue, Seini began to have seizures."

Ikamanu later told another police officer a different story.

"He told the police officer that he threw the child against a wall in the lounge room of the house."

A short time later he told the officer that he had been holding the girl's hand and they had both let go and she had fallen against the wall.

Ikamanu's lawyer Simon Lance said much of Mr Hamlin's opening address was "Crown theory" and not evidence.

He said an example of this was evidence about bruising found on Seini's chest.

"What we know is that Mr Ikamanu attempted CPR. Doctors will say the bruising on the chest is consistent with someone attempting CPR."

He said Ikamanu was there on the night - not Mr Hamlin.

"Not all deaths are a murder, and this is one of the cases where it is not."

Timeline of events, according to the Crown

April 14, 2007: Seini is born

September 2007: Seini moves to Tonga to stay with her grandparents

July 29, 2008: Seini's brother Manamoui is born

January 29, 2010: Seini returns to New Zealand to live with her parents

March 22 and 23, 2010: Seini's mother notices her daughter has bruises on her face, a red eye and bruises on her back

March 24, 2010: Seini is taken to hospital with fatal head injuries, a broken shoulder and shattered pelvis

November 30, 2010: Seini has neurosurgery

December 6, 2010: Seini dies in Starship Hospital

- NZ Herald

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