GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING
Maketū toddler Nevaeh Ager could have received up to 70 blows to almost every part of her body - but the 2-year-old may have survived had she not been placed into the water, a court has heard.
Aaron George Izett, 38, who is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua, is accused of murdering his daughter Nevaeh Jahkaya Whatukura Ager between March 20 and 21, 2019.
Police found Nevaeh's body on the tidal flats at Little Waihi, Maketū, on March 21 while her mother was in the hospital, having given birth to her and Izett's son.
Her body was found by police in the estuary weighed down by two large rocks.
The Crown alleges Izett's "meth rage" led to him killing his daughter and assaulting three other people.
Forensic pathologist Rexson Tse told the jury today that he did the post-mortem examination on March 22, 2019, and the toddler's cause of death was drowning.
He described the multiple abrasions and bruises and other injuries to Nevaeh's body, including a number found during an internal examination, and said some of her injuries were consistent with a "child abuse situation".
The court heard Nevaeh had injuries to her torso, buttocks, limbs, face, head, lips and ears, caused by a weapon or weapons, and also neck injuries.
Tse said the most serious injuries were to her limbs, buttocks and head, which may have contributed to the cause of death, particularly if unconscious.
He said the toddler may well have been unconscious after the assault, but it was uncertain. However, she "undoubtedly" was alive when placed into the estuary, he said.
Tse also said there were two main particular areas of injuries, which were mostly focused on her buttocks and lower limbs, her head and neck area.
He said at least 8 to 10 blows were inflicted to Nevaeh's head but that was a "conservative estimate" only.
Some of the bruising and abrasion injuries to her neck were connected to her head being moved vigorously, "more vigorously than a baby being shaken".
Tse said there were also 11 sets of torso injuries, and a small crush laceration to her liver, which could have been caused by rocks placed on her body.
He said the injuries to Nevaeh's buttocks included seven 3mm wide linear patterned bruises, similar to those caused by a cane or a piece of bamboo.
Tse said the buttocks injuries alone suggested two implements were used, like a bolt or possibly a screw on a household implement.
The degree of force used, including to the child's head and neck and buttocks, was "substantial" and the injury to her brain was also the result of "substantial" force.
Tse said the maximum number of blows inflicted to cause of these types of injuries could have been close to 70, but again that was only an estimate.
An implement like a broom handle was capable of making the injuries to the child's buttocks, he said.
Tse said the assaults inflicted on the child were consistent with a "child abuse situation".
"We see these injuries in abusive head injury cases," he told the court.
He confirmed the toddler would have been capable of surviving her injuries if she had not been placed into the water, but it was possible she could have had a residual brain injury.
The court heard that Izett had methamphetamine and cannabis in his system when his blood and urine were analysed by ESR forensic scientist Dr Helen Poulsen.
The trial continues.