A Taupo man has been jailed for seven years and two months after he shook his baby son so violently after an argument with his partner that the boy died from his injuries.
In the High Court at Rotorua today Adam Christopher Lock, 22, was sentenced for the manslaughter of five-week-old Jayrhis Lock-Tata.
He was given an additional two years' jail for a series of charges relating to serious assaults on his partner and the child.
This is to be served concurrently with the manslaughter sentence. He was convicted and discharged on a count of intentionally damaging a police cell.
Outside the court Lock's former partner Shannel Tata said she had hoped he'd be jailed for a lot longer.
"I can never forgive him... I am not able to watch my baby grow up... my heart hurts so much," she said.
Her aunt Phalan Houpapa said she prayed Lock would do as the judge had urged him to and get help while inside.
Justice Peter Woodhouse noted a post-mortem had uncovered earlier-inflicted injuries caused by Jayrhis' ribcage being squeezed so hard he would have suffered pain and discomfort. The infant's death had been caused by a brain bleed consistent with being shaken violently. His body was bruised and some ribs freshly broken.
The court heard that Lock panicked and immediately sought help from a friend who arrived at this home. They performed CPR and Lock called an ambulance but Jayrhis died on March 7 last year, when his life support was switched off two days after his admission to Starship Hospital .
Lock had repeatedly denied his involvement in the baby's death, claiming his daughter had jumped on the baby. Initially he pleaded not guilty to murdering him but when his trial was about to begin last month he pleaded guilty to a substituted manslaughter charge. Jayrhis was one of two children Lock and Tata had together.
Justice Woodhouse said Lock and Tata had had a stormy relationship which involved violence towards each other and tensions between them. Lock had assaulted her during her pregnancy and shortly after Jayrhis' birth.
On one occasion he had been angry because he considered she'd been too long at a neighbour's where she was doing the family's washing. At other times he had accused her of drinking alcohol and having sex with other men.
Justice Woodhouse noted Lock had a difficult, "possibly dreadful", childhood during which he was physically abused. He had been separated early from his father who had committed suicide and had no contact with his mother.
Lock's "own path" had led to him accruing a long list of convictions. His drug abuse was serious - he admitted smoking up to five cannabis joints a day.
Defence counsel Michele Wilkinson-Smith submitted Lock had not brutally bashed or thrown his son, who had shown classic "shaken baby" symptoms.
She asked for a jail term of between five to seven years.
Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch submitted the sentence should be in the vicinity of eight years.
A non-parole period of 3-1/2 years was imposed.