Child murder accused to enter plea

AMY MAAS
Last updated 05:00 25/10/2012

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A South Auckland man charged with murdering his two-year-old stepdaughter in Manurewa is expected to enter a plea next month.

Michael Martin appeared in the Manukau District Court yesterday where he was remanded on bail by Judge Anna Johns.

He will reappear in court on November 7.

Martin has also been charged with driving with excess breath alcohol and obstructing the course of justice.

He is accused of killing Leilani Mary Jane Lotonu'u-Lorigan four months ago.

The toddler died on June 10 at a Housing New Zealand home she lived at with her mother, her baby sister Miami, and Martin.

A woman is also facing 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.

At the time of the toddler's death police 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.

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- Auckland Now

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