The mother of a Tauranga toddler who died from a traumatic brain injury says the man accused of her daughter's murder was "very, very calm" about her injuries.
Adrian Colin Clancy, 39, who is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua, has pleaded not guilty to murdering 17-month-old Sadie-Leigh Gardner in Tauranga on March 27, 2019.
A trial by jury began in the High Court at Rotorua on Monday.
The jury has heard that Sadie-Leigh was taken to Tauranga Hospital in a critical condition after the Crown alleged Clancy violently assaulted her while in his sole care.
Clancy's defence lawyer Kerry Tustin argued at the start of the trial there was no Crown evidence that linked Clancy to the alleged assault of the toddler.
Crown prosecutor Richard Jenson told the jury that the toddler's injuries were not survivable and Sadie-Leigh died in Starship Hospital on March 29.
Jenson told the jury that they would later hear evidence that her injuries were consistent with the toddler's head either striking, or being slammed or thrown against a hard surface.
A CT scan revealed Sadie-Leigh sustained a significant bilateral brain bleed and a fracture to the right side of her skull just below the right ear.
Further tests confirmed the toddler also had significant retinal haemorrhages to both eyes and was unable to see, the court heard.
As well as the fractured skull, the post-mortem also revealed brain swelling and bleeding and a fracture to her right shoulder, the Crown prosecutor said.
The Crown has alleged that Clancy had become frustrated or angry for some reason and vented his emotions violently on the toddler.
Jenson said that after Clancy realised Sadie-Leigh was unconscious and not breathing, he sought help from a woman at a neighbouring unit who called 111.
Another neighbour performed CPR on the unresponsive toddler until ambulance staff arrived to take over and she was taken to Tauranga Hospital.
The toddler's mother, who has name suppression, gave evidence for the prosecution on Monday and was cross-examined by Clancy's defence lawyer yesterday.
Asked about Clancy's relationship with the toddler, the mother said "he wasn't horrible to her" and confirmed she never saw any signs of violence or abuse from him towards Sadie-Leigh.
The mother said she had left Sadie-Leigh, who had a cold and was a bit grizzly but otherwise fine, with Clancy - a former partner - while she attended an appointment.
Earlier in the day, the toddler spent some time with her grandmother while her mother did some errands, the court also heard.
The mother said she collected her daughter in the early afternoon and apart from stopping to buy some food, and once home a neighbour helped remove Sadie-Leigh from the car.
Sadie-Leigh was still feeling unwell and clearly needed a nap so she prepared her daughter for bed but it was Clancy who put the toddler in her cot, she said.
The mother said she attempted to give Sadie-Leigh cough medicine provided by her neighbour, some of which she spat up.
Sadie-Leigh was asleep when she visited a dairy for some snacks and drinks. She then checked on her before she drove to her appointment about 3.30pm, she said.
The mother said while at the appointment she noted a missed text message from Clancy which read, "Hey babe, come up to the hospital. Sadie wasn't breathing but she is okay now, call me."
She also said she spoke to her mother who mentioned she had received a Facebook message from a concerned woman at a neighbouring property trying to track her down.
The mother said when she arrived at the hospital, Clancy was there and he began rubbing her back and told her that Sadie-Leigh was "okay and she's going to be fine".
"Adrian was calm, very calm but if you saw Sadie's body movements there was nothing to be calm about...I just lost it.
"I don't believe anyone could be so calm in that situation...unless they are messed up in the head on seeing what I saw, which was my daughter lifeless on the bed.
"This is not normal behaviour...It was horrible seeing my daughter like that in the bed with the doctors surrounding her.
"My daughter's in hospital, she's lifeless and the police turn up and I recall he [Clancy] questioned me whether he should go to work."
The mother said later that evening she and her mother drove to Starship Hospital, where Sadie-Leigh had been transferred, but Clancy did not come with them as police took him in for an interview.
The mother wept as she described seeing her daughter's lifeless body in a hospital bed surrounded by doctors and only being kept alive by life-support machines.
She said the day before the funeral she and Clancy met up and he was "quick to throw accusations" around about what might have happened to her daughter.
Clancy had minimal contact with her after her daughter was injured and he did not attend the funeral, she said.
Clancy's lawyer put to this witness that she had exaggerated in her evidence about Clancy trying to explain away how the injuries may have been happened to cover himself.
The mother rejected the proposition, saying that Clancy had tried to shift the blame onto someone or something else several times.
However, when pressed by Kerry Tustin, the mother said at first she had not believed Clancy was responsible for Sadie-Leigh's injuries.
The mother confirmed that she had never heard Clancy yell at Sadie or ever saw him "raise a hand" to her and conceded she did not know what happened to her daughter.
Asked about her parenting by Tustin, the mother acknowledged she had been the subject of a complaint and was spoken to by a social worker.
"Yes, at times I did yell and often raise my voice with my daughter when I got frustrated with her... I was a stern mum but at the best of times I was a loving mum."
Under questioning from Crown prosecutor Richard Jenson, the witness said Clancy had not come across as "overly concerned" about the state of Sadie-Leigh's serious injuries.
"He was saying to me she was okay and she wasn't okay. "
Another Crown witness described her shock when Clancy turned up with an unresponsive Sadie-Leigh in his arms while she and her neighbour were chatting together.
Clancy said to them, "help, help she has stopped breathing" and he was "quite stressed and panicky" and started blowing on the toddler's face, the witness said.
"I didn't see Sadie at first, and then I saw her and oh my god, I thought she was dead.
"Adrian was saying Sadie had a coughing fit and there was dried blood around her mouth.
"She was breathing but gasping for air and every 10 seconds there was a massive gasp, and her eyes rolled back in her head. I knew something was very wrong."
The witness said while on the phone with the ambulance staff, Clancy left the room and went to get baby wipes and he tried to clean the dried blood from the toddler's face.
"I thought it was weird as Sadie wasn't breathing and we were trying to perform CPR to get breathing again...," she said.
The witness said Clancy didn't want her to call Sadie's mother and he was also reluctant to go in the ambulance with the toddler.
She said on arrival at the hospital Sadie-Leigh's mother was already there.
"Sadie was being hooked up to life support and half her body was seizing and tubes were being shoved into her body.... [her mother] just lost it."
Clancy was also there but he was standing back with his arms crossed and she thought he was stressed... "he wasn't calm, he was sweating and worked up."
The trial, which continues today, is expected to take up to two weeks.