A father's assaults on his children, including the use of a vacuum cleaner pipe, happened as he struggled with becoming a solo dad amid the grief of the death of the children's mother, a court has been told.
The issues were outlined by defence counsel Philip Jensen yesterday as the 33-year-old man appeared in the Napier District Court facing two representative charges of assaulting children and four of assault with weapons including the vacuum pipe.
The man had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing, but yesterday Mr Jensen said some facts were still disputed and succesfully sought a further remand.
Judge Tony Adeane remanded the man on continued bail for a probation report and sentencing on September 1.
According to the summary of facts two of his children, who were as young as 8 years old at the time of the offending, provided police with accounts of "systematic physical abuse" by their father while they were living with him.
They recounted being hit with a vacuum pipe and wooden spoon on numerous occasions, the summary noting the assaults were often a result of the defendant becoming frustrated and angry.
On one occasion the man told his son to clean and vacuum the house and, when the child didn't respond immediately, proceeded to grab him and repeatedly hit him on the head, body and limbs with the vacuum pipe.
On another occasion he became angry with his son who had snatched a toy from another and smacked his hand with a wooden spoon, going on to hit him on the head until he fell to the ground, dizzy from the blows.
The boy went on to receive medical treatment for a contusion to his scalp as a result of being hit with a wooden spoon.
When asked by Judge Adeane if the facts were in dispute, Mr Jensen replied: "Right from the very go."
In an appearance earlier this year Mr Jensen told the court the offending had occurred during a real period of grief and yesterday he elaborated on this background.
Three years ago the family's mother died of cancer and the man, left to raise three children on his own, hadn't coped, he said.
"She was the glue that stuck the family together. He was stuck a widow at an early age with two rambunctious boys and a daughter."
Mr Jensen said the man "couldn't handle" the boys and had resorted to disciplining them the way he was taught.
"He most probably disciplined them the way he was taught. He used a very heavy hand, a wooden spoon to hit them and a vacuum to hit them."