Te Kūiti homicide inquiry: Father of baby Mustafa says he 'wasn't feeling good' in police interview, missed 'some things'

  • 12/06/2024

The father of a baby who died in Te Kūiti over the weekend says he was not feeling good during his initial police interview and claims he missed some information. 

Police have launched a homicide inquiry after 10-month-old Mustafa Maheir Mukzameel Ali died following "violent, blunt-force trauma". 

Mustafa's father, Mukzameel Ali, 22, said he was the only one home prior to his son being rushed to hospital. He denies involvement, telling Stuff Mustafa was choking and he tapped his son's back "a little" to wake him. 

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said during a press conference both parents have made statements with police, however, he added there were inconsistencies between the two. 

Later, speaking to Stuff, the father said he was not thinking right when he gave his police statement and missed "some things". 

"I was not feeling good, like nothing was coming in my mind," Ali said. 

"I was not thinking right straight away because just after what happened they took us to give our statement, so I was not in the right stage to give statement so that’s why some of the part has missed out." 

Ali admitted his son suffered fractures to his collarbone and ribs, as well as bleeding on the head and neck when he was three months old. He said the pair fell down the stairs together when he tripped. 

Oranga Tamariki has confirmed the agency had prior involvement with the family. 

Landlord Moshif Hussein told Newshub the father was a tenant in the Meads St home with his young 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 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. 

Waitomo District Mayor John Robertson told Newshub "everyone is really cut up about this". 

"No child should be abused in our society in New Zealand or in Te Kūiti or wherever, just very sad." 

The homicide investigation into Mustafa's death is ongoing.