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"May baby girl's soft little cries be loud at your quietest moment. May all your hideous actions return to you emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually."

That's the message grieving mother Lisa Cassidy directed at Tiana Kapea - the woman yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 10-month-old Jyniah Te Awa.

For the past year Miss Cassidy has carried a range of emotions - from grief and guilt to immense anger.

Yesterday, she had a chance to tell Kapea exactly how her actions had ruined an entire family's lives.

Miss Cassidy described how Kapea, a former friend and extended family member, had "coldheartedly" tortured Jyniah on the occasions she was trusted to care for her.

It was an abuse that was well hidden, despite questions being raised and visits to the doctors.

"Tiana would bring baby home [after babysitting] with lollies, smiles, bumps and bruises - with excuses ready every time we asked."

Since Jyniah's death - which followed a weekend of abuse in September 2007 - Miss Cassidy and her family have been struggling to move on. There have been countless tears, and her two other children "whimper and wail with bad dreams" in the middle of the night.

Her partner, Jyniah's father Ike Te Awa, has also become estranged from his family, who have continued to support Kapea and not him.

"This woman has poisoned and infected us," Miss Cassidy told sentencing judge John Hansen.

"She may be in prison and be released one day, but we will never be released from the lifetime [of] visions prisoned in our minds."

Miss Cassidy said it was difficult being in court and reliving the horrific details of what Kapea had done to Jyniah.

The infant was put into a closed freezer, smothered, swung around by her hair, thrown headfirst across a room and hung on the back of a door by her T-shirt.

"We'd rather be watching our 2-year-old baby girl running around laughing and not doing this."

The family have set up a special garden, and a memorial inside that includes a special prayer the family read each night.