Taupo pair plead guilty to manslaughter of toddler

  • 02/05/2016
Taupo pair plead guilty to manslaughter of toddler

David Haerewa and Tania Shailer (Newshub.)

This story contains descriptions of violence some people may find distressing.

A man and woman have pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death of a three-year-old Taupo boy.

It's been revealed Moko Rangitoheriri suffered a string of horrific injuries in the days leading up to his death.

David Haerewa, 43, and Tania Shailer, 26, stood calmly in the dock as they made their plea in front of about a dozen people in the gallery.

A summary of facts shows they'd agreed to care for the boy while his mother was with her oldest child in hospital.

Instead, they violently assaulted him between June 12 and the day he died, August 10.

A post-mortem found the toddler's bowel had ruptured after he was stomped on. He had brain swelling, and significant clots and haemorrhages beneath his scalp and around his brain.

The three-year-old also had injuries consistent with being smothered, and what appeared to be human bite marks on his face and body.

The severity of the assaults against Moko is said to have escalated over the two months he lived with Haerewa and Shailer.

Haerewa admitted to police that he continually assaulted Moko, especially over the four days prior to his death. He said he didn't like Moko being around him, and would put the boy in the bathroom for hours on his own.

He also admitted to slapping, kicking and stomping on the toddler, and rubbing faeces in his face.

Haerewa and Shailer have been remanded in custody to be sentenced on June 27.