A father has been sentenced to more than four years in prison after killing his 2-year-old daughter in a moment of "true horror" at their Hawera home.

Philip Murray Kinraid, 29, appeared at the High Court in New Plymouth today and was sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

Last November 23, the chemical engineer pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of toddler Esme Claire Kinraid.

The court heard Kinraid worked for Fonterra but the company told the Herald he worked for another company and did the occassional contract work for them.

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Emergency services were called to the Victoria St house about 11pm on June 26, 2015, however, attempts to revive the girl were unsuccessful.

Residents on Victoria St in the southern Taranaki town of Hawera were in shock after a 2-year-old's death. Photo / Sam Hurley
Residents on Victoria St in the southern Taranaki town of Hawera were in shock after a 2-year-old's death. Photo / Sam Hurley

Justice Rebecca Ellis told the court before Kinraid had left for work he put his two children to bed shortly after 7pm.

She said Kinraid wrapped his daughter in a blanket, but Esme kicked it off.

He then placed the toddler face down on a pillow, and forced her down with his right arm.

Justice Ellis said Esme was "squirming" and making noises, "inhaling and exhaling while she screamed".

After Kinraid returned from work, he checked on the toddler, who appeared "unnaturally stiff".

Philip Kinraid was sentenced today at the High Court in New Plymouth. Photo / Sam Hurley
Philip Kinraid was sentenced today at the High Court in New Plymouth. Photo / Sam Hurley

After turning her over, Kinraid noticed one of his daughter's eyes was half open, and half her face was colourless.

Kinraid told the 111 operator: "I think I may have killed my daughter."

When emergency services arrived he told police, "I might have committed manslaughter".

He also appeared suicidal and asked police to shoot him.

Philip Kinraid has been living in Dunedin since his daughter died in 2015. Photo / Facebook
Philip Kinraid has been living in Dunedin since his daughter died in 2015. Photo / Facebook

Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich said Esme's mother was suffering a "clear feeling of loss and pain".

"She is now a mother growing old without the memories and achievements of her daughter."

He said Esme would have suffered "great horror" during the final minutes of her life.

One of Kinraid's family members said the 29-year-old was a
One of Kinraid's family members said the 29-year-old was a "lovable giant". Photo / Facebook

Kinraid has been living with his brother in Dunedin.

Kinraid's mother, Jacinta Kinraid, declined to comment when approached by the Herald.

However, a family member, who wished not to be named, told the Herald Kinraid was a "lovable giant" involved in an "unfortunate tragedy".

Justice Ellis suppressed the name of Kinraid's ex-partner, the mother of Esme, and several names and identifying factors of people known to him.

Kinraid's former partner, along with their 5-year-old son, no longer live in Taranaki.

In December 2015, Kinraid breached his bail conditions by failing to report to the Dunedin Central Police Station, which he was required to do every weekday.

He was placed in custody on Christmas Day 2015 until a hearing on January 7 when he was again granted bail.