19 Jul 2017

Sanft trial: 'I shot her, what have I done?'

5:29 pm on 19 July 2017

A senior constable broke down in court as she described seeing a man holding a child who had been shot in the head.

The shotgun Gustav Sanft allegedly pointed at his daughter Amokura Daniels-Sanft.

The shotgun Gustav Sanft allegedly pointed at his daughter Amokura Daniels-Sanft. Photo: RNZ

Gustav Otto Sanft has denied a charge of manslaughter, relating to the death of his two year-old daughter, Amokura Daniels-Sanft, and is on trial at the High Court in Auckland.

Senior Constable Jackie Fyfe was in one of two police cars, on their way to make an arrest in a fraud investigation, when her car was waved down by a woman on Favona Rd in Mangere on 2 June last year.

"I ran past the lady and was confronted by a man holding a small child. He was covered in blood and there was a large pool of blood on the ground when I ran in."

Gustav Sanft at the High Court in Auckland.

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

Ms Fyfe said she approached the man who was making a howling noise.

She became emotional as she explained that her job was to check if the child was alive.

"I went up to him further and I said ... I asked him to give me the child but there was no response so I looked at her - I didn't know it was a little girl - but I looked ... She wasn't moving and she didn't have half of her head."

She said Constable Yutaro Kanai told her to get away and pushed her. A short time later she noticed a car parked close by with three young children inside. She and another colleague covered the children's faces with their jackets and carried them down the driveway.

When Ms Fyfe had finished giving her evidence she left the court room and loud crying could be heard outside.

Constable Yutaro Kanai was also at the scene. He said he also noticed the blood as he came down the driveway. He stood by Mr Sanft and put his arm on his shoulder.

"In amongst the crying and wailing, I heard the defendant say: 'I shot her'."

He said eventually he convinced Mr Sanft to put Amokura down and walk down the driveway. He said Mr Sanft continued to talk while they sat in an ambulance.

"So, he said: 'I pulled the trigger. She was just playing up. I'm sorry, my baby. My son, what have I done?' And he kept repeating that: 'My son, what have I done. I shot her, what have I done'?"

Under cross examination, Mr Kanai was asked by Mr Sanft's lawyer Phil Hamlin if he could be mistaken about what his client had actually said.

"But I've gone over this over and over and over in my head. What I saw that day and heard that day, I can't... As much as I want to forget it, I can't."

Another constable, Seepa Ah Lam, told the court she grabbed Amokura's mother Julia Daniels, to stop her going down the driveway.

Soon after Constable Kanai brought Mr Sanft down the drive-way.

"She yelled out to him: 'What happened, what happened?' And that's when he's replied back: 'I shot her, I shot her.' And that's when I grabbed her and I held her to stop her from hearing anything else and she was just screaming: 'What'?"

The trial has been set down for three weeks.