9 Jun 2017

Killer of 15-month-old jailed for at least 17 years

8:42 pm on 9 June 2017

A Christchurch man who murdered a 15-month-old boy has been sentenced to at least 17 years in prison.

Troy Kevin Taylor at his sentencing in the Christchurch High Court for murdering and assaulting 15-month-old Ihaka Stokes.

Troy Taylor at his sentencing today in the High Court in Christchurch today. Photo: Pool photo

Troy Kevin Taylor, 24, was found guilty by a jury in March of murdering and assaulting Ihaka Stokes at their Bryndwr home in 2015.

Taylor was the partner of the boy's mother, Mikala Stokes.

Justice Mander sentenced him to life in prison with a 17-year non-parole period in the High Court in Christchurch this morning.

The judge spoke of the level of violence inflicted on the defenceless child, whom Taylor was meant to be caring for.

"The violent homicide of babies and young children by people who take responsibility for their care has been for many years now a growing and grave concern to the community.

"It is trite to observe that children have a right to be safe in their own homes, and denunciation and deterrence are important considerations."

Justice Mander said Taylor had never taken responsibility for Ihaka's death, instead telling police the toddler had fallen in his cot and then at trial pointing the finger at the boy's mother.

"You sought to exonerate yourself firstly by attempting to maintain the injuries were accidental, and when that was no longer available ... you attempted to blame Ihaka's mother.

"In my view, that demonstrates a certain callousness, and a certain disregard for Ihaka's family, and importantly, an inability by you to face up to the enormity of your actions," he said.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Stokes said she still had not come to terms with the fact she would never hold her son again.

Ms Stokes' father, Paul, also read a statement, saying his relationships with others were now strained and he no longer enjoyed going to work.

"Whenever I see the Lotto commercial with the little boy and the pirate ship and his granddad, I get emotional. I feel like crying, but I can't, because I don't want to show."

Taylor's defence lawyer said his client still maintained his innocence.

Troy Taylor found guilty of killing Ihaka Stokes

Ihaka Stokes Photo: RNZ / YouTube

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