Te Kūiti baby death: Police say child was known to police since one-month-old

Inconsistent statements are being given to the police regarding the death of a 10-month-old baby in Te Kūiti, police say. 

Acting Detective Inspector Andy Saunders on Tuesday afternoon provided an update on the death, which was being treated as a homicide. 

On Saturday afternoon, 10-month-old Mustafa Maheir Mukzameel Ali was taken unconscious to Te Kūiti Hospital and died a short time later. 

The father has told Stuff he "didn't do anything wrong, because I was trying to save my son". 

Det Insp Saunders told reporters he was aware of the comments made in the media.

Initial examinations showed Mustafa suffered "violent, blunt-force trauma and we do not believe these injuries were accidental", he reiterated. 

"The family members are speaking to [the] police and cooperating, but I will outline that we have some inconsistencies with some of the statements that we are getting with what appear to be the injuries of Mustafa. 

"I can confirm that I do know of those statements that have been printed in the media in regard to it but I am unwilling to comment further as the investigation progresses." 

The baby was known to the police, Det Insp Saunders confirmed. 

"Mustafa Ali is known to police in regard to a non-accidental injury previously that has been investigated," he said. 

Det Insp Saunders added that incident happened in October, when Mustafa was a month old. 

"That investigation has been ongoing since that time with a number of reviews - I won't be commenting further in regard to it because it's now critical in regard to this investigation. 

"I would like to say that non-accidental injuries on children are one of the most complex cases that our detective and investigator can work on for a number of reasons and that complexity is also present, as you would expect, in this case." 

A scene examination was expected to be completed later Tuesday or early on Wednesday, he said. 

'He was a cute little boy' 

Landlord Moshif Hussein earlier told Newshub the 22-year-old father of Mustafa was a tenant in the Meads St home with his young Samoan wife, his older relative and another friend. 

"They were good tenants, they lived like a family together. Baby Mustafa was such a cute little boy, it's so very sad," Hussein said. 

The young couple met at Te Kūiti's meat processors where they worked together with the other two men.  

He believed the two other tenants were back in Fiji on a holiday and were not home when neighbours heard "hysterical screaming" from an adult at the home on Saturday afternoon.  

"They all seemed quite good guys, they were regularly at the mosque together," Hussein said. 

As the Muslim community leader, Hussein said he is awaiting instructions from the young mother's side of the family before the little boy's funeral can be organised. 

"The baby's Samoan mum was accepted into Islam and we had a ceremony. When baby Mustafa was born, we had a big celebration, they seemed a loving young family," he told Newshub.  

He said the Islamic community was eager to respect that baby Mustafa was of two cultures and that would be reflected in his funeral.     

The 10-month-old's body is expected to be released to family members in the coming days. 

Det Insp Saunders said on Tuesday the full post-mortem examination was expected to take several days due to the nature of Mustafa's injuries. 

He urged neighbours who may have heard screaming on Saturday who hadn't already spoken to the police to get in contact.