19 Jul 2016

Man gets 17 years jail for murdering baby daughter

4:58 pm on 19 July 2016

An Auckland man who bashed his five-month-old daughter to death has been sentenced to 17 years without parole.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

Troy Louis Stuart Solomon has been found guilty of killing his baby daughter, Aaliyah, in 2014 while he was meant to be looking after her alone in his home.

In the High Court in Auckland this morning, Solomon sat with his eyes closed as the judge described how Aaliyah was killed.

Just before midday on 7 August he had called 111, saying his daughter had swallowed water in the bath tub and was unconscious.

He was given instructions on how to perform CPR and, when ambulance staff arrived, attempts were made to resuscitate her but she died a little while later. Staff noted she had a large bruise on her head.

They also found the water in the bath was only two inches deep and no water was spilled on the floor, or the nearby table.

His partner of six years was out shopping at the time with his eldest daughter and he was looking after Aaliyah and his stepson at home.

Speaking to police, Solomon said he had gone to check on his son while his daughter was in the bath and she had drowned.

But a post-mortem examination found Aaliyah had no water in her lungs and suffered a severe blow to her head and a fractured spine.

A medical expert later told the court her injuries showed she was likely swung by her leg and made impact with a hard surface.

When confronted again by investigators, Solomon said he had tried to pick up his daughter from the bath, but she had slipped and hit her head.

He also told police he "wasn't straight" at the time and was very high on cannabis, something he did regularly when his wife was away.

Solomon's statement was rejected by a jury, who found him guilty of murder.

Examinations also showed signs of ongoing physical abuse of Aaliyah, causing internal bleeding, but the Crown prosecutor said it could not be proven Solomon was responsible.

'You have not shown any remorse'

Justice Davison addressed Solomon in the court this morning, saying he continued to pose a high risk to the safety of others and was at a moderate risk of reoffending, particularly due to his use of illicit drugs and his continued denial of responsibility.

"You must have appreciated that you in fact caused her death, because you straight away lied to the emergency services and police about how she received her injuries.

"You continued to deny the offending and failed to take responsibly for Aaliyah's death in a real or meaningful way. You have not shown any remorse."

The judge agreed the 26-year-old didn't mean to kill his daughter, but the attack was so violent and brutal she had no chance of surviving.

He said Solomon abused his power "as an adult, and more importantly, as a parent", and showed a high level of "self interest and callousness".

He sentenced Solomon to a minimum of 17 years in jail without parole, and said he hoped it would send a stern message that violence against children would not be tolerated.

A large number of family members were present in the court, among them Aaliyah's mother. Following the sentence, several shouted messages of support to Solomon as he was lead out, telling him they loved him.

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