Warning: Disturbing details
A police officer who charged a Maketū man with murder has told a jury that it was the accused who first raised the matter of his slain daughter, not the other way around.
Constable Aaron Alexander told the court that it was Aaron George Izett, the man who is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua, who raised the matter of the toddler's death first.
Izett, 38, has denied murdering his 2-year-old daughter Nevaeh Jahkaya Whatukura Ager at Little Waihi in Maketū between March 20 and 21 last year.
Police found the toddler's body face down in the estuary behind her parents then-Tio Place house weighed down by two big rocks on March 21.
This was the day that Alexander and a group of police officers attended the property in response to a complaint about a man running around naked and acting erratically.
The Crown says Nevaeh suffered multiple severe injuries before she was drowned.
The Crown alleges Izett, a regular methamphetamine and cannabis user, killed his daughter during a "meth rage" after assaulting her with a weapon or weapons.
Izett does not deny he caused the injuries but denies he had murderous intent.
Video footage taken from two constables' Tasers were played to the jury yesterday.
It showed a naked Izett brandishing a pitchfork at police, stomping his feet and waving his arms around and blowing a whistle while standing in a large puddle in his driveway.
The court heard that inside the puddle was a mixture of water and petrol.
Izett was also holding a white object and shrilly blowing the whistle repeatedly and warned the police officers not to come on to his land.
Constable Michelle Attrill, one of the first officers on the scene, said there was a strong smell of petrol coming from the large puddle.
"It was quite an overwhelming smell and water from a garden hose was going into the petrol tank of a vehicle and there was also a petrol canister nearby," she said.
"At one point, he [Izett] took a large step towards me, looked me in the eye and told me he was going to kill me."
Izett was eventually tasered twice by another officer before he ran off into the estuary and refused repeated requests to come out and talk to the officers, Attrill said.
She said as well as the pitchfork, Izett had a white cone-shaped object and was waving it around as he thrashed about, and "dolphin dived" in the knee-deep water.
Attrill wept as she told the court how she and her colleague first saw the toddler's body in the estuary after an extensive search of the house and surrounding area.
They searched "every nook and cranny" for the 2-year-old, including under floorboards and down big holes in the spare room, she said.
The house was in a "disgusting and inhabitable" state, with stuff strewn everywhere.
Attrill said as she and her colleague stood on the shoreline, the tide began to recede which revealed the toddler's foot near a pole and some rocks in the estuary.
Nevaeh's head and hair were submerged surrounded by red murky water and two half-submerged rocks were on top of her, with items placed on top of one of the rocks.
Composing herself, Attrill said that she had remained with the toddler's body until asked to stand down from her duties.
Senior Constable Andrew McDonald, also one of the first officers at the Tio Place property on March 21, 2019, told the court that Izett had tried to evade capture the whole time.
"He was basically wading out, dolphin diving...yelling and screaming, and also had some sort of white club in his hand."
Izett was "ranting" in the water the entire time and most of what he said made no sense.
At one point Izett told him he going to "f***en kill him" and then went back to saying he was "the president", but they could not have a rational conversation with him.
McDonald said sometime later, Izett was found hiding in a patch of scrub on a nearby uninhabited island across the other side of the estuary.
Izett displayed "inhuman" strength as he thrashed about trying to bite and spit at police including McDonald and a Coastguard officer, despite being cuffed by his arms and legs.
"He managed to lunge forward at one point and bit into my wrist, with extreme force."
Flesh and skin were torn from his wrist, and Izett was pepper-sprayed but it had little effect and it took all their combined efforts to try to restrain him, he said.
Constable Alexander said he was the arresting officer who charged Izett initially with threatening behaviour, then about an hour later with murder.
While the accused was not making a lot of sense, Izett told him that police had no evidence against him and went on to say that he did not kill his daughter, Alexander said.
"But at that point, I hadn't mentioned anything about his daughter."
During questioning by Izett's lawyer Julie-Anne Kincade QC, Alexander agreed that in an earlier written statement he wrote that Izett did not appear to be registering what he was being told when trying to engage with him.
"Yes, I agree he was rambling and we couldn't make out a lot of what he was saying."