Woman convicted of torturing baby to death gives birth to second child

  • 01/05/2008

A Christchurch woman who was found guilty of helping to torture her two-year-old daughter to death in 1992 has had another baby.
  
Tania Witika was sentenced to 16 years in prison after her baby, Delcelia, was found lying dead in a pool of blood, faeces and urine, while she and the baby's stepfather, Eddie Smith, were partying at a friend's place in South Auckland. The toddler had been badly burned after being put in a bath of hot water.
  
Child, Youth and Family (CYF) obtained custody of the unborn baby when it heard Witika, now using the surname Hopping, was pregnant, The Press reported today.
  
The mother and baby have been under 24-hour supervision in Christchurch Women's Hospital since the birth on Tuesday.
  
The Press understood the baby was to go home in the next few days with her father, Witika's new husband, and for CYF social workers to supervise daily visits.
  
Witika would also have to undergo psychological assessment and have to prove to CYF that she was a fit parent.
  
Delcelia's death in 1991 was one of the country's worst child-abuse cases to go before the courts.
  
Witika and Smith were each sentenced in April 1992 to 16 years' jail for the torture and death of Delcelia. It was one of the longest sentences given for manslaughter.
  
At the time, Witika claimed she lived in terror of Smith and, although she wanted to help Delcelia, she was too afraid.
  
However, evidence presented at trial showed she had kept notes about her sexual gratification even as her child suffered.
  
Witika was released from Christchurch Women's Prison in September 2002 after serving 10 years.
  
NZPA
  
Listen to RadioLIVE's Jemma Dempsey on the World At Noon speak with former Commisioner for Children Roger McClay, about the issues surrounding Tanya Whittaker's new child.

source: newshub archive


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