Auckland stepfather Phillip Welsh sentenced for killing 16-month-old Malcolm Bell

An Auckland man who killed his 16-month-old stepson has been called a "liar, coward and a monster" by the young boy's mother. 

Phillip John Welsh, 52, appeared in the Auckland High Court on Friday after pleading guilty to manslaughter over the death of toddler Malcolm Robert Bell last year.

Welsh was sentenced to five years and 11 months imprisonment and must serve at least half of the sentence.

Bell was rushed to Starship Hospital in June 2019 with serious head injuries and despite emergency surgery, died six days later.

Welsh was babysitting Bell when he swung the young boy against a couch, causing life-threatening injuries. 

For the six days that Bell was fighting for his life in hospital, Welsh denied any responsibility and tried to blame Bell's mother saying she had inflicted the injuries before she left their home.

In court on Friday, Savana Bell said she would "never forgive or forget" what he had done to her son.

"You are a liar, coward and a monster," she said.

Malcolm's mother, father and grandmother were also present in court and read victim impact statements.

Auckland city police detective senior sergeant Geoff Baber acknowledged the sentencing in a statement on Friday, saying Bell's life was "cruelly taken from him".

"He was a vulnerable little boy and he should have been safe in his home," Baber said.

"The offender's guilty plea shows Police carried out a thorough investigation. 

"I would like to thank all Police staff who worked on this case, it is never easy to deal with investigations such as these, but we do it because we wanted justice for Malcolm.

"Our thoughts and sympathies continue to be with Malcolm’s family and whānau."