A man whose baby daughter was murdered after months of systematic torture at the hands of a babysitter has himself been sent to prison for 10 years for the long-term physical and sexual abuse of two young children.
Ike Mokohoria Te Awa was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to 20 charges of sexual and physical abuse involving two children and his partner.
His sentencing came shortly after the 10th anniversary of the murder of his 10-month-old daughter Jyniah Mary Te Awa in September 2007.
Jyniah was rushed to hospital after turning blue and freezing cold. She died soon after as a result of head injuries.
After her death it emerged that the baby had endured countless acts of cruelty for most of her life.
Jyniah was left in a closed freezer, hung on the back of a wardrobe door, held against a gas heater, swung around by her short hair and hung on a clothesline.
Her fatal head injury was the result of being kicked, thrown against a wall, shaken and smothered.
Her babysitter Tiana Mary-Anne Odessa Kapea - a relative and close friend of Te Awa - pleaded guilty to murdering the baby and was sentenced to life in prison.
Te Awa was sent to prison on March 5 for his own offending and this week the Herald was granted access to his court file.
Upon learning of the Herald's request to access information about his case, Te Awa applied for name suppression.
However the court ruled suppression was "not appropriate".
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Court documents reveal Te Awa, now 33, admitted a raft of serious charges including sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, sexual conduct with a child, sexual conduct with a young person, injuring with intent to injure, assault with a weapon, assault on a child and male assaults female.
The sexual offending relates to a young girl, starting when she was 6 years old.
The violence charges relate to the same girl, a young boy and an adult woman.
For legal reasons, further details about the victims cannot be published.
At a sentence indication hearing in July last year Judge Gerard Winter detailed the offending.
The Herald has chosen not to detail the specifics of the sex charges.
However Te Awa repeatedly offended against the girl - even when other adults were nearby.
"The victim confirmed that touching became worse and more frequent as she got older until the point in her life when it was happening up to twice a week," Judge Winter said.
The girl was also kicked, had her head stomped on, was pushed to the floor, slapped, punched and hit by Te Awa on many occasions - often when he was drunk.
Te Awa kicked the little boy so hard he fell over, punched him with clenched fists, hit him with a stick and slapped his face.
The woman seemed to take the brunt of the violence.
The court heard Te Awa "regularly hit the victim" and on one occasion he gave her "a hiding" after an argument, stomping on her ribs.
On another occasion he punched her in the face and after she fell to the floor, continued to hit and kick her in the head.
The worst assault on the woman was when she was pregnant.
She and Te Awa argued and he "became angry", hitting and punching her.
He also struck her in the stomach and back with a piece of wood as she lay on the ground, unable to defend herself.
As a result of that attack, she suffered a miscarriage.
Judge Winter outlined the impact on the younger victims, starting with the girl.
"The events are said to have had major impacts on her life.
"It has affected her both mentally and physically.
"She described the physical injuries as being like dying inside.
"She felt sick every day and would lock herself away because of the physical, sexual and violent abuse she suffered.
"Mentally, she blames herself for letting all of this happen. She would lose sleep and describes being very paranoid and in a scared state.
"She was at such a young age she thought at first it was normal for [Te Awa] to do that [to her] and truly believed he was sorry."
Judge Winter said the boy said he was angry at Te Awa for the abuse.
He said Te Awa, as an adult in a child's life, had breached the young victim's trust.
At sentencing in the Papakura District Court Judge Winter said Te Awa's offending was "persistent and significantly harming".
Reports prepared for the court for sentencing by a psychologist, probation officer and a
cultural expert revealed Te Awa wanted to take responsibility for his violent offending but
denied any sexual offending.
Although he pleaded guilty to all 20 charges, he only did so to get through the court process faster.
One of the reports stated: "Ike has yet to accept and acknowledge responsibility for his offending, notwithstanding his guilty pleas, which he claims were to hurry things along."
Judge Winter said Te Awa showed "an absence of remorse".
He indicated that Te Awa had faced difficulties in his personal life, which had undoubtedly contributed to his offending.
"This has contributed to your attitudes and behaviours that have hurt both yourself and others," he told Te Awa.
"Your effective rehabilitation will require significant time and effort to unpack these experiences and their relationship between one and each other," he said.
Te Awa had not had the capacity to address his life experiences to date, said Judge Winter, and he would be recommending to the Parole Board that they consider "programmes and interventions" that would address the matters.
He also revealed that Te Awa had a "lengthy criminal history" but until this offending came to light, he only had one violence conviction.
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz
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