A Bay of Plenty man who killed his two-year-old daughter while under the influence of methamphetamine has been sentenced to a minimum jail term of 17 years.
Aaron Izett, 39, caused serious serious injuries to Nevaeh Ager at Little Waihi near Maketu in March 2019.
He was sentenced on Wednesday in the High Court in Tauranga.
The girl received multiple external injuries on many parts of her body.
This included between 10 to 20 blows to the head with a blunt force using a weapon which caused brain injuries.
The court was told that the girl was likely unconscious but still alive when her father put her in the water in the nearby estuary, weighing her body down with two rocks weighing about 80kg.
The cause of death was by drowning.
When police arrived at Izett’s home at Little Waihi, they found him running around naked. He refused to surrender, even after being tasered and ran into the water.
He was eventually restrained using pepper spray but not before biting a police officer on the wrist.
Police spotted the two rocks about 50 metres from shore and Nevaeh’s leg in the water.
The Crown said the degree of brutality was substantial, sustained and very determined.
At his trial, Izett had used a defence on insanity but this had been rejected by the jury.
Justice Gordon said Izett’s drug use and not his mental condition at the time was the driving force in killing his daughter.
She described the death of a child who ought to have felt safe in the care of her father as cruel and harm at the highest level.
Izett became addicted to meth at the age of 24.
He had moved to Australia at the age of 12 and started living on the streets from 15, ending up in prison at 19.
He was released in 2004 and deported back to New Zealand.
In victim impact statements from Nevaeh’s great-grandmother and step great-grandfather, Niki and John Sturgess described the girl as a pretty little princess who was deeply missed.
Both had seen the girl on the day she died and, because they were concerned about Izett’s behaviour, had tried to take the girl away but Izett refused.
They said the baby’s death had shattered and distressed the whānau and no words could describe the pain she feels.
Nevaeh’s mother Alison Ager was in Tauranga Hospital, having given birth that day to a son she had with Izett.
She said she felt guilty having left Nevaeh in Izett’s care.
Ager described her daughter as her precious little princess.