Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Mangere toddler shooting: Dad charged with manslaughter over death of daughter

The man charged after the fatal shooting of a South Auckland toddler was her father, it can be revealed.

Gustav Otto Sanft, known as Gus, is charged with the manslaughter of 2-year-old Amokoura Daniels-Sanft.

The father and daughter can both be named this morning after name suppression orders lapsed.

Amokoura died on the morning of June 2 at the home on Favona Rd, Mangere where she lived with Sanft, her mother Julia Daniels and her three siblings.

Police allege Sanft, 26, shot the little girl in the head at close range with a sawn-off shotgun in the driveway of the home.

It is understood that after an extensive investigation police did not believe Sanft intended to shoot or kill the child, which is why he was charged with manslaughter rather than murder.

Gustav Otto Sanft, known as Gus, is charged with the manslaughter of 2-year-old Amokoura Daniels-Sanft. Photo / Doug Sherring
Gustav Otto Sanft, known as Gus, is charged with the manslaughter of 2-year-old Amokoura Daniels-Sanft. Photo / Doug Sherring

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Sanft was initially charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

However, a month after Amokoura's death, police laid additional charges of manslaughter and possession of cannabis for supply.

He was granted interim suppression when he first appeared in the Manukau District Court and the order was extended in the High Court at Auckland, meaning the names of Sanft, Amokoura and their relationship could not be published.

On Wednesday last week, Sanft's lawyer Sam Fernando applied to have that suppression order extended.

He told the court that if his client's name was published his family would face alienation and ridicule from their community and may be isolated from the marae they were connected to.

Fernando said Sanft "was not only a defendant".

"He is a victim as well," he said.

Fernando also said that if Amokoura and her father were named, the toddler's siblings may suffer at school.

Justice Graham Lang declined the application, saying there was no strong evidence that lifting suppression would affect Sanft's right to a fair trial or cause him, Daniels or their wider family any significant hardship.

"I just don't see how [Fernando's submissions] justify suppression," he said.

"The victim has to show hardship. I just don't see how that could happen."

The Herald has chosen not to name Amokoura's siblings to protect their privacy.

Justice Lang delayed the lifting of suppression for a week to allow Sanft and Daniels to tell "everyone that needs to know to be told".

"You have seven days to get things in order."

The order lapsed at 9.30am today.

The police cordon at the scene of a shooting at an address on Favona Rd in Mangere, Auckland. A 2-year-old girl was shot dead in her home. 2 June 2016 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Jason Oxenham.
The police cordon at the scene of a shooting at an address on Favona Rd in Mangere, Auckland. A 2-year-old girl was shot dead in her home. 2 June 2016 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Jason Oxenham.

The death of Amokoura Daniels-Sanft

Amokoura was born on February 15, 2014 and is one of four children.

Sanft and Daniels had been living at their Favona Rd home for about six months and were in the process of moving when their toddler was shot dead on June 2.

Neighbours said they heard a "loud explosion" followed by hysterical sobbing.

One said it wasn't until police knocked on her door a few hours later that she discovered what had happened.

Later that day police confirmed Amokoura had been shot dead with a sawn-off shotgun - classified as a pistol under the Arms Act.

A woman who lived next door to the Sanft-Daniels family said she often saw Amokoura playing in the yard with a man she believed was her father.

"She would pedal this way to the house and the father would turn the little bike around for her," the woman told the Herald.

After Amokoura's death, family friend Sione Tatafu described her as a "Daddy's girl".

"She was a smart little girl who loved to come kick it with the boys."

- NZ Herald

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