Regional | Child abuse

Man in court today charged with baby Maree murder

A man charged with the murder of four-week-old Maree Takuira Mita Ngahere will appear in the Kaitāia District Court today.

Acting Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid says the injuries inflicted upon the baby last month were “very serious”.

Results from a post-mortem indicated she suffered a brain injury and bleeding to her brain, according to Schmid.

There was also severe bruising on one arm and thigh.

Schmid says the 22-year-old man will also face a charge of assault on a child in relation to a separate matter.

A spokesperson for Maree’s family, Bardia Matiu, says, “We want to know what happened to our mokopuna.

“Our whānau are united in our support of the police in their search for the truth.”

A report released in 2018 found that children under 5 made up 12 per cent of homicide victims.

“These children represent the most vulnerable members of society, who are too often killed by the people whose job it is to keep them safe,” says Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson.

According to the report, Māori also account for around a third of homicide victims.

Schmid says he’d like to thank the Far North community for their information and support throughout the investigation.

More to come.