Sanft trial: Mother of child describes the moment she knew her child had died

Gustav Sanft is on trial for the manslaughter of his 2-year-old daughter.

Gustav Sanft is on trial for the manslaughter of his 2-year-old daughter.

The mother of a child who was fatally shot in the head has described the moment she knew her daughter had been killed. 

Julia Daniels gave emotional evidence at the trial of her partner Gustav Otto Sanft, who is charged with their daughter's manslaughter. 

Sanft shot two-year-old Amokura Daniels-Sanft in the head with a sawn-off shot gun in June of last year at their Mangere home. 

The driveway in Favona Rd, Mangere, where Amokura Daniels-Sanft was killed.

The driveway in Favona Rd, Mangere, where Amokura Daniels-Sanft was killed.

The Crown alleges Sanft pointed the gun at his daughter and pulled the trigger while she was playing on a couch in the driveway. 

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They say he may not have known the gun was going to fire, or was loaded, but pointed the gun to "scare" Amokura for misbehaving. 

His defence counsel argues the gun went off inadvertently, and was not pointed at his daughter at the time. 

Daniels took the stand on Tuesday, explaining how the family was in the process of moving out of their Favona Rd property on the day Amokura was shot. 

Daniels was in a rush as she was trying to organise a skip bin, and also get to kapa haka practice.

When she went to run an errand, Amokura had tried to come with her but Daniels told her to stay at home with her dad. 

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"I told her mummy will be back soon," she said. 

Not long after, Daniels received a call from a friend telling her to come back home immediately. 

"That is when I got the phone call from Ana. All I remember was that she told me I needed to get home, I needed to get home. 

"I left the shop, panicked because I did not know what was going on. I sped home. 

"As soon as I came onto the intersection I could see the corner where the house was, I could see the fire engine, the ambulance, it made me panic."

When she arrived at the property she was stopped by a police officer from entering the property. 

"They wouldn't let me get to my baby...I couldn't see anything, but I could hear Gus. I could hear him crying.

"I wanted to go and hug my baby."

The court also heard how the night before the shooting, two of Daniel's children had found the gun in the hot water cupboard. 

Daniel's said she was unaware of the discovery until after the shooting, and had never seen the sawn-off shotgun before. 

When under cross examination by defence lawyer Phil Hamlin, Daniels said her partner did not like guns. 

"He had told me he didn't like them, that there was no purpose of them," she said.

Daniels told the court she was still in a relationship with Sanft, and the pair were expecting another child together. 

She said Amokura was "Daddy's kid". 

She denied the claim of an earlier witness that Sanft and her had an argument on the morning their daughter was killed. 


Katalina Katoa was driving with her son on June 2 last year when she heard a loud bang. She stopped the car and got out to find Gustav Sanft holding his dead daughter and crying. 

Katoa, who lived near Sanft, told the court on Tuesday she called emergency services after coming across the chaotic scene.

"There is a man holding a child, the child is bleeding, I don't think the child is alive," she said in the recording. 

"I was driving with my son and I heard a big bang....The child is bleeding, the child is not moving." 

Throughout the call Sanft can be heard wailing in the background. 

"He is just screaming and crying and holding the patient...There is blood everywhere.

"I don't think the child is awake."

Katoa could then be heard handing the phone to a police officer who arrived at the scene. 

The police officer said they believed the child had been run over. 

"The child is deceased...The skull has been run over...By the car."


The court also heard from Susana Yuen who lived behind the Sanft's property. 

She told the court how on the morning Amokura was killed she had heard shouting coming from the Sanft household. 

She believed the arguing was between a husband and wife. She heard a male voice yelling "you pay". 

Yuen had seen Amokura in the morning of the her death playing in the driveway. 

After the gunshot rang out the yelling stopped from the household, and was replaced by the sound of a woman crying, she said. 

Along with the manslaughter charge, Sanft was also charged with unlawful possession of a pistol, which he pleaded guilty to on Monday morning.

 - Stuff

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