18 Jul 2017

'You need to get home, sis, you need to get home'

7:51 pm on 18 July 2017

The partner of a man accused of shooting his two year-old daughter in the face with a shotgun has told the court she was desperate to hug her child after the incident.

Gustav Sanft at the High Court in Auckland.

Gustav Sanft at the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Edward Gay

Julia Daniels gave evidence at the trial of her partner, Gustav Otto Sanft, who has denied a charge of manslaughter relating to the death of his daughter Amokura Daniels-Sanft.

Ms Daniels told the court she was seven months pregnant at the time and the family was moving to her father's home in Henderson where she planned to have a home birth with family close-by.

Ms Daniels told Crown prosecutor Katie Hogan that she had left the house shortly after 11am one day in June last year to organise a bank loan to pay for a skip.

She said "my baby" Amokura had asked to come with her.

"As soon as she would hear the alarm on the car, she knew the car was going, she would run straight to the car."

Ms Daniels said she told her daughter she would be back soon. That was the last time she saw her alive.

Ms Daniels also had a kapahaka dress rehearsal in the afternoon.

She pulled over at the service station to call the bank and the skip company and was told there were no bins available. The next call was to her sister to pull out of a planned beauty salon visit because she was running late.

"And then I told her: 'Oh my gosh, I'm stressed about this because nothing is working my way'. Because of the bins and that not working out. I didn't know anybody else to contact to get a skip bin in. But I knew I needed to be back out west by 4pm to get ready for the dress rehearsal so I told her I was going to get me a chocolate cake because I was stressed."

It was while waiting in line at the bakery that she got a call from Anna Leau - a friend who was helping with the move, back at the house.

"All I remember is she told me I needed to get home. [She said]: 'You need to get home, sis, you need to get home'."

Panicking, she drove the four-minute drive at speed. Rounding the corner on Favona Drive, she saw a fire truck and ambulance parked outside her house.

"Then I attempted to go... to try and get into my house but they stopped me... I think it was the police but I can't remember... They wouldn't let me get to my baby."

She said she couldn't see anyone, but could hear Mr Sanft crying.

Under cross-examination from Mr Sanft's lawyer Phil Hamlin, Ms Daniels described her partner as the best father who loved Amokura.

She said Mr Sanft hated guns and had told her so, sometime before the shooting.

Ms Daniels said she had been told the shotgun had been at the house and was told Mr Sanft's cousins had tried to use the gun.

"I think I was told of it and I had told him to get rid of it and for them not ... like: 'This is my family house, don't bring that s**t here'."

The trial is set down for three weeks.