Stepdad on murder charge bailed
A South Auckland man charged with murdering his two-year-old stepdaughter has been released on bail.
Michael Martin appeared in the Manukau District Court yesterday via video link from Mt Eden Prison, in relation to the death of Leilani Mary Jane Lotonu'u-Lorigan last month.
About 30 family members were in the courtroom to support Martin.
He was bailed to a Manurewa address and is due to re-appear in court on August 8.
Leilani died on June 10 at a Housing New Zealand home she lived at with her mother, her baby sister Miami, and Martin.
On Wednesday a woman appeared in the Manukau District Court on two charges of assaulting Leliani in February.
She was granted name suppression and was remanded on bail to re-appear in the court in October.
Police last week said an ambulance was called to Martin's Manurewa house about 5.45am and Leilani was pronounced dead.
Leilani's great grandmother, Joyce Lorigan, said Leilani died from septicemia from two ruptures in her bowel and passed away in her "mother's arms".
"She never made it to the hospital... she died in my granddaughter's arms. She thought the baby had a tummy bug," she said.
"It's the biggest nightmare."
Miami is now been looked after by a Child Youth and Family caregiver.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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