A Taranaki man who killed his 2-year-old daughter has lost an appeal against his prison sentence, while certain facts about the horrific case remain suppressed.

Philip Murray Kinraid was sentenced in the High Court at New Plymouth on February 22 to four years and three months behind bars by Justice Rebecca Ellis for the manslaughter of Esme Claire Kinraid.

He appealed the term of imprisonment, claiming it was "manifestly excessive".

However, the appeal was dismissed.


After the release of the Court of Appeal's decision yesterday, a judgment allowed the publication of certain facts pertaining to the prosecution against Kinraid.

But Kinraid applied successfully for interim suppression of those facts pending a second appeal to the Supreme Court.

Last November the chemical engineer pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his daughter after she died at their Hawera home on June 26, 2015.

Kinraid had been putting his two children, including a crying Esme, to bed and wrapped his daughter in a blanket.

However, Esme kicked it off, which led to the burly father flipping the toddler over and placing her face down on a pillow.

He then pressed down on the back of Esme's head with his arm.

She began "squirming, making noises, inhaling and exhaling while she screamed", Justice Ellis said at sentencing.

Philip Kinraid was sentenced in the High Court at New Plymouth in February. Photo / Sam Hurley
Philip Kinraid was sentenced in the High Court at New Plymouth in February. Photo / Sam Hurley

Kinraid left the home after receiving a call from work and later told police it appeared his daughter was breathing normally.


He returned to watch videos with his partner, but when he checked on his children he found Esme "unnaturally stiff" and colourless.

"You turned her over and noticed one of her eyes was half open," Justice Ellis said.

After attempting to perform CPR on his daughter, Kinraid rang 111.

"I think I may have killed my daughter," he told the operator.

Emergency services arrived just after 11pm, but by 11.21pm Esme was pronounced dead.

Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich told the court at sentencing that Esme would have suffered tremendously during the final moments of her life.

"The horror that Esme must've felt in the last minutes of her life when her face was held into the pillow and her life taken away," he said.

"There is no doubt in her last minutes she experienced true horror."

Justice Ellis said the cause of Esme's death was a "fatal neck compression".

"A grown man holding a child down against her will. I do not accept what [Kinraid] did was not violent ... she was struggling against [him], she had no chance of escape.

"Esme is dead, her life and her future were taken away in an instant."