Grandmother wanted JJ away from home

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 05:00 01/11/2012
JJ Lawrence
JJ LAWRENCE: The two-year-old died at his home in Auckland in November 2011.
Joel Loffley
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JOEL LOFFLEY: The 29-year-old is accused of murdering two-year-old JJ Lawrence.

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The grandmother of toddler JJ Lawrence arranged to take the boy from his troubled home the night before he was killed.

A tearful Awhirangi Lawrence told the High Court yesterday that she resolved to take the two-year-old to live with her after he received a second broken arm and then became sick.

JJ's mother Josephine Lawrence agreed to the plan in a phone call on November 13.

The boy was killed the next day.

The Crown says the murderer was Josephine's new partner Joel Loffley, who allegedly hit the boy in the stomach so hard it split his liver and pancreas in two.

Awhirangi told the High Court in Auckland JJ was a "really happy little boy" who really loved his Mum and was even a bit clingy because she was so loathe to discipline him.

She did not like it when Josephine and JJ ended up living in Orakei because she did not like the house or the area.

After JJ received his first broken arm she arranged for JJ to live with his aunty, but that arrangement soon broke down and JJ returned to his mother and Loffley.

The next time she saw her daughter, Josephine was "not so smiley and outgoing" as she once had been.

The court earlier heard that Loffley told police he had convictions for domestic abuse, though only towards his partners, not children.

The Crown case is that Loffley assaulted JJ after arguing with his mother early on the morning of November 14.

Loffley says JJ was injured while his mother was out.

He said he had been making the bed and while he was "fluffing the sheets" JJ, who was on the bed, fell off.

Loffley said JJ hit a wall and his legs had gone over his back.

The Crown says JJ suffered his two broken arms while in the care of Loffley in the months leading up to his death.

A post-mortem also found the boy had cannabis in his system.

Defence lawyer Roger Chambers said it was "not (Loffley) in that household" who had hurt the boy.

In each cross-examination, Chambers has focused on the behaviour of Lawrence.

The trial before Justice Patrick Keane continues today.

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