A man accused of killing a 15-month-old boy has told a court he gave a false statement to police shortly after the boy died because he was trying to protect the child's mother.
Troy Taylor, 23, is on trial in the High Court in Christchurch charged with assaulting and murdering Ihaka Stokes at their home in 2015.
Mr Taylor was the partner of the boy's mother, Mikala Stokes.
While giving evidence today, Mr Taylor alleged Ms Stokes was alone in the house for several hours on the day in question and that she caused the baby's death.
Mr Taylor said he lied to police when he said Ihaka was fine when he returned home that night and that a fall in his cot must have caused his death.
He told the court today that, when he went to check on Ihaka, he found him unconscious and floppy in his cot.
"I was not going to put Mikala in it. I knew that I had to make Ihaka out to be fine, to take it away from her."
The Crown's lawyer has argued that Mr Taylor had suffered a series of concussions which left him easily angered, and that he killed the boy after "losing it".
In court today, Mr Taylor said that was not true. He said the symptoms of concussions only ever caused him to be frustrated with himself, and he did not take his frustrations out on anybody else.
He said Ihaka used to follow him around like a shadow, and gave Mr Taylor all the love and attention in the world, which he adored Ihaka for.
Mr Taylor will continue to be cross-examined by the Crown tomorrow morning.
Neighbour gives evidence
Earlier, a neighbour told the court that, about four weeks before the child's death, she saw a man pick up a baby by its clothes like a carry bag.
Angela Marshall said she heard a baby grizzling inside the house next door. She said a man with dark hair, aged in his early 20s, who was working outside, yelled "shut up" repeatedly and sounded agitated.
Ms Marshall said she saw the man go inside and carry the child by its clothes out to a mat on the lawn.
Under cross-examination Ms Marshall said she could not be sure who the shouting to shut up was directed at.