Father pleads guilty to five-week-old's manslaughter

A Taupo man has admitted the manslaughter of his five-week-old son, who he violently shook and smashed his head against a hard surface.

Adam Christopher Lock, 22, pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter and a charge of assaulting Jayrhis Ian Te Koha Lock-Tata when he appeared before Justice Edwin Wylie in the High Court at Rotorua yesterday, the Rotorua Daily Post reported.

Jayrhis died in Starship Hospital on March 7 last year from massive bleeding between the skull and brain, two days after Lock forcefully grabbed the baby around the ribs, shook him violently and smashed his head against a hard surface.

Hospital staff noticed bruises to the baby's stomach and bladder area and x-rays found the baby had fractures to the ribs which were about two to three weeks old. A brain scan found bleeding across the entire surface of the brain.

When initially spoken to by police Lock denied causing the fatal injuries, blaming his daughter for jumping on Jayrhis.

The Crown said Lock did not mean to kill Jayrhis but had reacted angrily to the baby in a situation where he was upset. He sought help immediately after shaking the baby.

Throughout their relationship since 2006, Lock had physically and verbally abused his partner, Shannel Tata, believing she was playing around with other men, the Crown said.

Lock also pleaded guilty to five counts of assaulting a woman and one count of assault with intent to injure.

He has been remanded in custody for sentencing on September 30.