The adult children of a Zimbabwean man accused of murder, George Gwaze, have spoken of their father's kind nature in the High Court in Christchurch on Thursday.
Daughter Nothando Gwaze and sons George junior and Tafadzwa Gwaze, described their father's character as gentle, kind and loving and said he treated Charlene Makaza and her sister Charmaine as his own children.
They are giving evidence at the retrial of George Gwaze, 60, who is accused of the sexual violation and murder of his adopted niece, Charlene Makaza in January 2007.
Nothando Gwaze said Miss Makaza was regularly unwell and after a church service the night before she died, went straight home to bed without eating or getting changed into her pyjamas.
Ms Gwaze, who shared a room with Miss Makaza, said she told police from the start it would have been impossible for her father to have committed the crime without her knowing.
She said she did not physically check the girl but asked if she was okay, and said she would say a prayer for her that night.
Ms Gwaze said she slept soundly the night Miss Makaza became unwell and woke only when her mother came into the room early the next day to find the girl unresponsive, foaming at the mouth and lying in a pool of diarrhoea.