charged over toddler's death
Zeland Police NGA Pirihimana O Aotearoa
woman will appear
in court later today charged with the murder of 3-year-old Cherish
died at Wellington
Hospital on Wednesday, February 18; the day after being found with head
injuries at a house in Ahuru Street, Marton.
morning a 56-year-old
woman from Marton has been charged with murder and will be appearing at
Wanganui District Court later today.
parents of Cherish
have been informed of the charges.
team of about 20
officers had been working on the investigation. This has now been
down to two officers who will oversee the remaining enquiries and the
be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.
charged with child's murder
Marton woman will
appear in court today charged with the murder of three-year-old Cherish
died in Wellington
Hospital on February 18, the day after she was found with head injuries
at her grandparents' house in Marton.
morning a 56-year-old
woman from Marton has been charged with murder. She will appear in
District Court later today.
with girl's murder
woman has appeared
in court charged with the murder of three-year-old Cherish
was granted interim name suppression when she appeared in the Wanganui
District Court this afternoon. Other details that could identify her
in custody till April 20.
known as Cherish, died at Wellington Hospital on Thursday, February 19
- two days after being found with head injuries at a house in Marton.
morning her parents had been informed of the charges.
team of about 20
officers have been working on the investigation. That will now be
down to two officers, who will oversee the remaining inquiries and the
with murder of girl, 3
Mar 17, 2009
woman has been
charged with the murder of a three-year-old girl at Marton last month.
died at Wellington Hospital on February 19, two days after being found
with head injuries at a house in Ahuru Street, Marton.
woman had been charged with murder and would appear in Wanganui
Court today, police said.
parents of the
dead girl had been told of the charges.
team of about 20
officers had been working on the investigation and this had been scaled
down to two officers who will oversee the remaining enquiries and the
by police when they were called to her grandparents' house at 12.15pm
airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital and was later transferred to
live in Porirua, had been living with her grandparents in Marton for a
with murder of three-year-old girl
2:09pm on 17 March 2009
a woman with the murder of a three-year-old girl who was found with
injuries at a house in Marton.
was found with head injuries at the home of her grandparents on 17
died two days
later in Wellington Hospital when she was taken off life support.
say a 56-year-old
woman is due to appear in Wanganui District Court on Tuesday. Officers
have told the child's parents about the murder charge.
team of 20 has now been scaled down to two officers, who will oversee
remaining inquiries and prosecution.
over child's death
woman charged with
the murder of three-year-old Cherish Tahuri-Wright has appeared in the
Wanganui District Court.
identity of the
woman remains suppressed. She was remanded in custody to reappear on
died at Wellington
Hospital on February 19, two days after being found with head injuries
at a house in Marton.
Cherish case, says St John
has admitted it mishandled the care of a fatally injured toddler, but
the delay in getting her to hospital did not contribute to her death.
February the ambulance
service began an internal investigation after it took more than two
to get injured three-year-old Cherishsiliala Tahuri-Wright from the
town of Marton to Palmerston North Hospital a drive of 40 minutes.
girl, known as
Cherish, later died in Wellington Hospital from severe head injuries. A
56-year-old woman has been charged with her murder.
findings issued yesterday, St John Ambulance medical director Tony
said the initial emergency response was immediate but the "broader
picture and the need for rapid transport were lost".
one hour and 53 minutes spent attempting to stabilise Cherish at the
received a call at 12.17pm on February 17 and, on arrival at the scene,
found the girl unconscious with poor breathing.
the local doctor
and two ambulance crew decided to call for specialised help to insert a
breathing tube into her lungs.
they called was unable to leave Wanganui Hospital, and the advanced
on a Palmerston North-based helicopter was delayed while the craft
Another advanced paramedic arrived by car and inserted the tube and
was flown by helicopter to Palmerston North by 2.46pm.
Smith said it
would have been quicker to take her to hospital by road and have her
tube inserted there.
medicine specialists who reviewed the case did not find the transport
contributed to her death.
became focused on their own particular role and tasks, with nobody
an overall view," he said. "We are applying the lessons learned from
case to improve our responses in future to similar cases."
Litea Ah Hoi, who spoke on behalf of Cherish's father, Nofosione
said she was "really pleased" St John Ambulance had fronted up to its
and was making changes.
she was astounded
that a doctor and paramedics had to call for outside help to insert a
it's too little
too late for Cherish, Nofo is pleased it won't happen again, that
child's life could be saved," she said.
just hope the
extra government funding also goes to training and retraining staff.
if that doctor, who is primarily accountable to St Johns, is not sure
to insert a breathing tube, that needs to be addressed as well."
give the critically short-staffed ambulance sector $48 million over the
next four years.
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We often gave rides - accused
to Cherish's mother that her own mother might be responsible for the
head injuries that resulted in Cherish's death.
been happy to help babysit her grand-daughter Cherish many times at her
Marton home in the Rangitikei.
used to babysit
Cherish often. It was never a problem. She was happy to do it for me,"
Cherish's mother, who has name suppression, told The Dominion-Post.
it to Cherish's tangi or visited the dying toddler in hospital.
to the manslaughter of her grand-daughter near the end of a two-week
case in Whanganui District Court on Monday.
had earlier tried
to blame Cherish's fatal injuries on the little girl's three-year-old
young girl was
found bleeding and badly injured at Tahuri's home on February 17, 2009.
She had been left in her grandmother's care.
to Wellington Hospital after she had been violently shaken by her
She died two days later after being taken off life support.
be frank she
looked like an alien," the mother said.
began when Cherish travelled to Marton with her mother and uncle on
29 to attend Tahuri's 56th birthday party.
and her mother
spent four days in Marton with Tahuri and her partner, Alan Kemp Hunia,
51, a meatworker, at their Ahuru St home.
toddler was left
with her grandmother for two weeks after the party when her mother and
uncle hitchhiked home.
was a lot
of alcohol at the birthday party," the mother said.
mother had no qualms about leaving her daughter with her grandmother.
could stay up there with Mum. Mum offered to look after her. She used
ring me up quite a lot so I could talk to Cherish.
last phone call
from Mum was on a Thursday [February 12, 2009] saying they [her
and mother] were going to bring Cherish home.
mum said she
would ring me before midnight ... That was the last time I heard from
three years, three months and one week. She was born in Wellington
on December 12, 2005.
and bruised in the same hospital when her mother made the toughest
of her life to switch off life support.
was quite hard.
I was not myself. I had my victim support worker to help me."
recalls difficult times during her own upbringing.
was eight when
I was first taken out of my mother's home. I was away from home [off
on] for five years in social welfare care.
I kept on running
away from there [the social welfare accommodation] because I wanted to
be with my family. I wanted to be at my own house."
her own tough
upbringing she trusted her mother to look after Cherish.
trusted my mum.
She was all good about it. She asked me to leave Cherish with her. She
had my nephew staying there as well."
three, had lived with Tahuri and Mr Hunia since he was a week old.
back to her home. Instead she returned to Wellington in a coma aboard a
Tahuri was imprisoned in Arohata Prison on remand while awaiting her
letters to Cherish's mother, who refused to open and read them.
friend [a support
person] reads me parts of the letters that it is good for me to hear.
[Tahuri] sometimes says in the letters I should forgive her and come
visit her in jail."
was lived mainly at Cannons Creek with her mother, who was on a
purposes benefit. Her father was a frequent, supportive visitor.
still does not know who her own father is.
last year, she was in and out of Wellington Hospital's Ward 27
wanted to be with
health has improved
this year and she now has a part-time cleaning job.
guilty plea, Joanne Tahuri will somehow have to deal with the grief
her almost unheard of situation in Arohata Prison.
will have to
mourn the loss of her grand-daughter, a child she admits killing. She
also have to deal with not being able to help her own daughter cope
the grief surrounding Cherish's brutal death.
Now that her mother's trial is over, Cherish's mother says she has one
thing on her mind. As part of the grieving process she wants to provide
an appropriate headstone for Cherish. But she has insufficient funds to
help contribute to a headstone for Cherish can send a direct credit
to the Ninness Funeral Home, Porirua, bank account number 02 0548
can be sent
to Cherish headstone – reference 12050, Ninness Funeral Home, PO Box
Cherishsiliala Tahuri-Wright, 3, suffers fatal brain injuries at the
of her grandmother Joanne Tahuri.
dies in Wellington
Hospital on February 19, 2009.
17, 2009: Tahuri
charged with murder.
27, 2010: Tahuri
pleads not guilty to the murder charge.
May 31: Tahuri
pleads guilty to manslaughter. She is scheduled to be sentenced by
Warwick Gendall in the High Court at Whanganui on June 25 or July 2.
Cherish, jurors told
was partly responsible for the death of his cousin Cherishsiliala
a lawyer for their grandmother will argue.
of Joanne Jasmine Tahuri, 57, of Marton, began in the High Court at
yesterday, before Justice Warwick Gendall.
with the murder of Cherish, 3. The Porirua child died of head injuries
in Wellington Hospital on February 19 last year.
Ben Vanderkolk said Cherish had been staying in Marton with her
cousin and her grandmother's partner Alan Kemp Hunia, 51, at the time
a fall at a playground three days before receiving her injuries, she
seen to be well shortly before her rapid decline in health, Mr
said. "It was a descent into unconsciousness and ultimately death."
jury would hear
how Cherish was sick, struggling to breathe, with clammy skin, an
pulse and blood coming from her mouth, Mr Vanderkolk said.
saw bruising on Cherish's face, he said. "When she confronts the
and asked how the bruising occurred, she is told [the cousin] did that."
the blunt force
needed to cause Cherish's subdural haematoma required a fall of several
metres and could not have been caused by another three-year-old, Mr
stress on the day of the incident, having had less than four hours'
and waking to a flooded kitchen that morning, he said. She reacted when
Cherish's breathing became laboured, by shaking her and putting her in
the shower to revive her, before going next door for help. "The Crown
ask you to focus on a gap in her account, between the time Cherish was
well and unwell, which had in it an unlawful act."
Tahuri stared at the ground and wiped away tears, occasionally raising
her hand to her face as if to shield herself from the jury's view.
whose name was suppressed, said her daughter was very self-sufficient,
able to dress herself, make her own breakfast, and play unassisted in a
being "stressed and tired" when she dropped Cherish off at her house in
February, but Tahuri did not explain why, she said.
by defence lawyer Elizabeth Hall, Cherish's mother said the girl's
was extremely jealous of anyone who took attention away from him. He
occasionally hit Cherish, pull her hair, call her names, steal her toys
and hit her with them.
with asthma and once every two weeks would turn blue, the mother said.
She would then shake Cherish until she came around.
family were aware
of Cherish's breathing problems but she had never seen Tahuri
abuse her, she said. Cherish was "accident prone" and occasionally
into tables and doors.
trial is expected
to take four weeks.
on last days of Cherish's life
the trial of a Marton woman accused of murdering three-year-old
Cherish Tahuri-Wright shifted today to the last few days of the girl's
life and her relationship with a cousin, a boy of the same age who
in the same house.
of Joanne Tahuri, 56, who has denied killing Cherish, told Justice
Gendall and a jury in the Wanganui High Court, that Cherish was quiet,
slow, and clumsy on her feet.
who had lived with them since his birth and whom he regarded as his
was chunkier and taller, rough and naughty.
would kick Cherish or bang her on the head, he said.
trust him at all. He wanted attention all the time. Running down the
was one of his favourite pastimes. He wanted attention," Mr Hunia said.
the other hand,
Cherish, who had a very special bond with her grandmother, would never
run away or off down the street. She would just sit there, even when
was being punched or kicked, or her hair was being pulled.
Hunia also gave
evidence of two accidents Cherish had during the weekend, two days
she was found unconscious and airlifted on February 17 last year to
North, then Wellington hospital, where she died two days later.
she had somehow fallen between steps on a slide at a playground in
and how she had hurt herself while playing at home, either on the back
steps or a low wall nearby.
he said he had got out of bed and found Cherish sitting on the ground
pointing to her head. But she never said a word.
on the morning
of February 17 he was called at work by Tahuri, who said Cherish was
well. He told her to call a doctor.
said he had never
seen his partner physically discipline Cherish, whom she loved very
But he admitted hitting Tahuri, once in front of Chiefy. He could not
throwing her across the room or giving her a black eye shortly before
arrived to stay for the last time.
I never ever
hit Cherish," he said. "I never hit the girl."
by Dr Zlatko Benic, a Marton GP, who was called about 12.30pm on
17 to the accused's home in Ahuru Street, Marton, where he found
lying on her side in a darkened room.
was "very, very
unwell" -- struggling to breathe and with an irregular heart beat.
been normal until her grandmother came into the bedroom and found her
on the floor. She had been lifted onto a bed by a policeman and had
on her face and leg, her jaw was locked and there were traces of blood
in her mucus. Once stabilised she was transferred to hospital.
Hardy, the practise
nurse who accompanied Dr Benic, found the grandmother and a small boy
his hair in a pony tail waiting for them.
said she didn't
know whether the bruising on Cherish's face was fresh or not but it was
very pronounced. The girl's condition was "extremely serious. I've
seen anything like it in my time".
Paul Johnson said when he arrived at the home and was met by Tahuri, he
thought it was a case of a child who had been sick for a couple of days
and she was waiting for a doctor.
did not seem
had said the
child had fallen and hit her head on concrete at the weekend but had
fine until now. She also said the boy, who was running around the place
and was "pretty full on", often hit her.
Johnson said the
only evidence of blood on Cherish was on her teeth, consistent with
could have been a small cut on the gum.
tomorrow and is expected to last for up for four weeks.
accused wouldn't help paramedics
lay in the next room, dying of severe head injuries, Joanne Tahuri
to tell paramedics what had happened, a court has heard.
trial for the murder of Cherishsiliala Tahuri-Wright, known as Cherish,
in the High Court at Whanganui.
died of severe head injuries in Wellington Hospital on February 19 last
Tahuri inflicted a blow strong enough to cause a subdural haematoma, or
bleeding between the brain and skull.
intends to argue a combination of factors - including assaults by the
three-year-old cousin - contributed to Cherish's death.
day three of the
trial today, the jury heard from St John Ambulance Officer Bruce
who was the first paramedic called to Tahuri's house on February 17,
received a call
at 12.20pm that day and arrived at 12.39pm, with another paramedic, to
find Cherish lying on a bed with her jaw locked and hands cramped.
also had fixed
pupils was also experiencing slight seizures, he said.
spasms and jerking movements. They came in pulses."
could be considered
signs of brain damage, he said.
Tolhopf said he
administered oxygen then talked to Tahuri in an attempt to find out any
information that could assist with saving Cherish's life.
first two times
I asked her [what happened?] she said 'I don't want to talk about it'.
The next time I asked she said she wouldn't talk about it and walked
NO, NO, I DON'T
WANT THEM INVOLVED'
Bollinger - who lived near Tahuri in Marton on the day Cherish received
her fatal injuries - gave evidence.
Tahuri came to her house around 11am on February 17, 2008 in a panicked
state to borrow the phone.
on the phone with her partner Alan Hunia, saying, "Can you come home
please, there's something wrong with Cherish," Ms Bollinger said.
she asked Tahuri
what was wrong, Ms Bollinger was told, "There's blood coming out of her
mouth and she's had trouble breathing."
she rang 111 for an ambulance but could not get through, so she called
the Marton Police station.
that when she told Tahuri the police had been called, Tahuri replied by
saying, "No, no, no, I don't want them involved".
she went with Tahuri to her house to find Cherish lying almost
struggling to breath, with blood around her mouth and a bump on her
mouth was clamped
shut. It was like she had bitten her tongue," she said.
trial is continuing.
jail for child's death
dealing with a flooded kitchen, Joanne Tahuri lost control and lashed
at her three-year-old granddaughter.
was only a momentary
lapse but one that would prove fatal and, in a sad new chapter in the
dysfunctional life of the Marton woman, she was yesterday jailed for
injuries that would ultimately take the life of Cherishsiliala Sheliah
Tahuri-Wright in February last year, Tahuri panicked and endeavoured to
get help for the child. That effort was always going to be too late,
Warwick Gendall told Tahuri at her sentencing in the High Court at
Tahuri, 57, to jail for five years and nine months.
died in the
early hours of February 19 in Wellington Hospital from injuries that
neurosurgeon said could not have been survived.
Tahuri's assault on her granddaughter was brief and occurred quickly,
caused Cherish to decline rapidly with bleeding between the brain and
when Judge Gendall
began his address did Tahuri lift her head from her hands as she sat in
trial for murder
opened on May 17, but in the third week Tahuri amended her plea of not
guilty to murder to guilty of manslaughter.
Crown prosecutor Lance Rowe told the court that one blow from "Tahuri's
sudden loss of control was sufficient to cause the fatal injuries to
Rowe said the
Crown accepted that there were issues with the middle-aged grandmother
who was legal guardian of another grandchild, also aged three.
said Tahuri was
not well-equipped and under stress.
sleep and woke to a flooded kitchen, but there was no reason why
should have borne the brunt of her grandmother's loss of control.
was seen by
members of the Marton community hitting both her grandchildren, which
Gendall said were aggravating features in her sentencing.
grief-stricken after hearing the Crown's submission of her actions that
caused the death of her granddaughter.
Brosnahan told the court Tahuri was a person with significant
her mother to celebrate Tahuri's birthday in February but when the
returned home, she left Cherish behind.
Tahuri recognised her actions were likely to have led to Cherish's
her remorse was palpable and she acknowledged everything that had
acknowledged that Tahuri had a degree of vulnerability and was poorly
with life generally.
said Tahuri suffered
from shocking abuse throughout her childhood and it was a sad
that someone like her slipped through the net and, poorly equipped,
up looking after two small children.
dysfunctional and marked by violence.
told Tahuri, she took refuge in silence and her active denial and her
intent to blame her grandson for Cherish's injuries was lamentable.
accept you did
your best for Cherish and you provided physical and practical support,
but you did not provide psychological and emotional support."
that, implicit in manslaughter, the offender never meant to cause the
of the person, but adults must keep their hands to themselves.
was no sign
of Tahuri's partner or her family in the court.
to Cherish's Story
click here to read something that was sent to me by
a friend of Cherish's mother and see some pictures
news articles related to this story