A Muslim refugee who wallpapered his Auckland home with images of beheadings and subjected his six children to a violent, eight-year reign of terror was unflinching as he was jailed today.
The Auckland man and his wife - who were both granted permanent name suppression to protect their children - were sentenced in Manukau District Court this morning.
The man, in his 40s, moved from the Middle East a decade ago with his wife.
The court was told he punched and slapped his children on a daily basis, as well as regularly using weapons against them such as a horse whip and hammer.
He was jailed this afternoon for seven and a half years, with a minimum non-parole period of half that, after admitting 16 violence charges on the eve of a May trial.
As the judge described his slew of offences, the defendant showed no emotion and was similarly unmoved as he heard one of the children never wanted to see him again.
His wife, 20 years his junior, pleaded guilty to assaulting two of the kids and was sentenced to a year on supervision and 150 hours community work.
The male defendant was also convicted on an objectionable-material charge over a "picture wall" in the house showing graphic images of the conflict back home.
"One of those images is so gruesome it defies my being able to describe it in court," Judge Charles Blackie said.
It is understood the photo, in the lounge, showed a man having his throat slit with a large knife, and was only one of hundreds of similar pictures.
"I have seen photos of you and the children posing in front of the images," the judge said.
"Some of those photos depict the children in semi-military-type dress."
The man's lawyer Shane Cassidy told the court his client had done it because his extended family had been victims of political unrest back home.
"His intentions were so his family did not forget what was happening in [the country] and how those people had died," Mr Cassidy said.
A psychiatrist's report revealed the defendant's history of mental health issues, which had led him to make threats to blow up public facilities and threaten to kill people in a mosque in the past.
Mr Cassidy said his client had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after spending time incarcerated as a political prisoner, during which he was bound by chains and tortured.
Judge Blackie discounted his sentence to reflect those issues.
Court documents said the man's eldest daughter was repeatedly slapped and punched by her father, including on one occasion when she was aged 13 and he was angry over her use of Facebook.
Two years later, he "became enraged" after hearing the same daughter had hugged and kissed a girlfriend in school as a greeting, "sparking rumours of lesbianism".
The man beat his daughter with an umbrella, first around the torso, and when she fled to the lounge, he followed her and continued to hit her five times to her head and body.
He also beat the same daughter around the head and torso with a stick after she took some of his synthetic cannabis to school.
"When the victim crouched over to protect herself from the barrage of punches, the defendant pulled up her head by the hair and punched her in the stomach before slapping her face several times."
She suffered two black eyes, a broken tooth, a fractured nose and bruising to her back.
Crown prosecutor Kirsten Lummis said the man had no real remorse, little insight into his offending and had minimised his offending during interviews.
Reports on the victims showed the "devastating" effects of the offending and their relief in their father being locked up, Ms Lummis said.
Judge Blackie quoted from the statements of the older victims.
"I never want to bump into dad again, so before he gets released I'd like to leave New Zealand. I'm scared of how he feels," one said.
"When I lived with my parents I got hidings most days ... sometimes I thought he was going to kill us," said another.
The court heard how the youngest of the six children had stayed with the female defendant during her time on bail, while the others remained in care.