A man on trial for the murder of his toddler has told a jury he lied to a psychiatrist about finding his unresponsive daughter in the Little Waihi estuary and trying to perform CPR because he did not want to be locked up in a mental health facility.
Aaron George Izett, 38, made the comment during cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery QC in the High Court at Rotorua today.
Izett is on trial defending a charge of murdering his 2-year-old daughter Nevaeh Ager at Little Waihi between March 20 and 21 last year.
The toddler's naked body was found by police on the tidal flats in the Little Waihi estuary.
When defence lawyer Julie-Anne Kincade QC asked Izett whether he was aware of causing Nevaeh's injuries and remembered how his daughter's body was found, he said: "Definitely not. I don't remember a lot of things."
The court heard Izett spent time in the Henry Bennett Centre under a compulsory treatment order following his arrest.
"I thought I was in a spaceship ... people were walking around, blip, blip. I thought I was abducted, my fingers had bandages on and I thought they were gone and missing.
"When I was waking up it was very intense. As soon as I spat, they would stop and walk away, but I believed this was my last line of defence.
"Sounds mad, but two people came up to me wearing gold uniforms and there were balloons behind their heads. I was hooked up to machines and thought the nurses were experimenting on me.
"I thought I was in a triangle-like spaceship hovering around the earth...I was very delusional."
Izett claimed he did not remember being tasered by police or being arrested but accepted he bit a police officer during his arrest in March.
He said he only remembered one part of being out in the estuary after the police arrived.
"I believed if I closed my eyes no one would see me and that is why I walked to the island with my eyes closed."
During cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery QC said to Izett he had given different accounts of events in court to those he had told two psychiatrists who medically assessed him.
Izett told a psychiatrist he had found his unresponsive daughter and tried to perform CPR and also tried to seek help.
He also told a psychiatrist he had binged on significant amounts of cannabis and methamphetamine in the days before his daughter's death, the jury heard.
Yet, he told the jury during his trial the last time he had consumed methamphetamine was on March 17, the day before his partner gave birth to his son.
Izett said after experiences he had, he lied to the psychiatrists to avoid being considered insane because he did not want to be locked up in a mental health facility.
"I didn't trust the doctors, my lawyers and I didn't trust anybody."
Raftery QC said it was clear when Izett went into the water, Nevaeh's body was already in the estuary weighed down with two large rocks he had placed on top of her.
"I have absolutely no recollection of that," Izett said.
Izett said the last thing he remembered before heading into the estuary was being with his daughter watching Peppa Pig.
"We don't hit our child...I don't have any recollection of violence towards my child."
Asked about how he felt about Nevaeh's death he said: "Devastated every day."
Izett's mother Bernadette Pascoe, who gave evidence via video link from Australia, said she was a frequent-flyer to Little Waihi to visit her son and partner.
This including visiting twice in early 2019 to support Izett and his partner with a tenancy tribunal hearing challenging their eviction from a Tio Place property.
She said during one of those visits the house was "a total mess and unrecognisable" compared to how it looked before.
Pascoe said she also had concerns for her son's mental health and so did Alyson Ager, Izett's partner.
"It was not Aaron. It was not the person I see today in front of you. He had lost weight and he was skinny and very stressed."
Pascoe said she had spoken to Izett's partner before March 18 and they were both worried about her son's mental health.
"He was walking around in circles and talking to himself, and I could see that his mental health was going downhill rapidly."
She also said she had never seen Izett consume methamphetamine.
Pascoe said her son was a "great dad" who loved his daughter and Nevaeh was a much-loved "great child".
She said she and her family were "absolutely devastated" by Nevaeh's death and also for her son and his partner and she still got anxiety attacks about it.
The trial continues.