9 Feb 2011

Three-year-old scared of murder-accused, court told

7:14 pm on 9 February 2011

A three-year-old girl who died from fatal injuries was scared of the man accused of inflicting them, a court has been told.

Sean Donnelly, 23, is accused of the murder of Cash McKinnon on 19 August 2009 in Palmerston North.

The Crown says Mr Donnelly inflicted the injuries on the girl after she admitted throwing a toilet roll down the toilet.

The Palmerston North High Court was told there were 80 injuries to her body, as well as some brain injuries. She died in hospital the following day.

Mr Donnelly, who was 21 at the time, was home by himself with five small children to look after on the day of the incident and had been smoking cannabis.

On Wednesday, the court heard evidence from children who were in the house at the time.

One child said Mr Donnelly took Cash McKinnon from the room where the children had been playing and she could hear Cash screaming outside because he was hurting her.

Another child gave evidence that the accused was mean to the three-year-old girl and scared her.

That child said Mr Donnelly was kind to his own children, but treated the other children in the house unfairly. She said that the accused had hit and kicked her in the past, and blamed her for things she had not done.

Witness tells of big lump on girl's head

Earlier, a 14-year-old who visited Cash McKinnon's home with her mother after the injuries were sustained says her mother and Mr Donnelly laid the girl on the floor and her mother rang an ambulance.

The girl said the three-year-old looked floppy and unresponsive and her arms were just hanging when she was picked up. She could see a big lump on Cash McKinnon's head.

The witness's mother also gave evidence, saying when she first saw Cash McKinnon that day she was lying on a bed, the girl's feet were cold and she noticed blood around the corners of her mouth and just under her nose.

Another child who was in the house gave evidence via video, saying she came home from school early and saw Mr Donnelly and his friend trying to wake the three-year-old up.

She said one of them told her that two other children in the house had hit the girl with a doll.

The trial is continuing.