Dad sentenced for killing two-year-old daughter

A man who caused the death of his baby daughter has been sentenced to 4 years and 3 months in prison.

29-year-old Philip Murray Kinraid appeared today in the New Plymouth High Court for the manslaughter of his 2-year-old daughter Esme Kinraid.

The toddler was smothered to death on her pillow on June 26, 2015.

Justice Rebecca Ellis described how Kinraid was attempting to put his daughter to bed. When she grew restless, he pressed her head the pillow, holding it there for 5 to 10 minutes.

Esme squirmed, made noises and screamed, but Kinraid had used this technique before and believed it would calm her and help her to sleep.

He left the room when she grew still, leaving her lying face down on the bed. He later told Police he thought she was still breathing.

When Kinraid checked on her later that night, he found her stiff and unresponsive. He called 111 at 11.10pm, telling the operator, “I think I may have killed my daughter.”

Justice Ellis said his actions were deliberate and prolonged, and even if he hadn’t intended to harm her, Kinraid had committed a breach of trust.

“I do not accept that what you did was not violent, and I cannot accept you weren’t aware of how dangerous that was,” said Justice Ellis.

Defence lawyer Paul Keegan called the death a tragic accident, which wasn’t born out of frustration or anger.

But Crown Prosecutor Justin Marinovich said Esme’s last minutes must have been lived out while experiencing “true horror”.

Justice Ellis said she struggled to find the right sentence, as doing required her to compare with other cases and put a value on a young child’s life.

“Every child is precious. Every child deserves a future. No child should ever ever have that future taken away by an act of violence,” said Justice Ellis.

Kinraid originally faced another charge in connection with his daughter’s death, the details of which remain suppressed.