Grandma who threw 'defenceless' grandson down hall in fit of rage jailed at least 14 years for murder

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NZN

An Auckland grandmother who murdered her "defenceless" grandson in a fit of rage by throwing him down a hallway will spend up to 14-and-a-half years in prison.

Justice

Source: 1 NEWS

Irritable from smoking methamphetamine and furious because Jermain Mason Ngawhau had possibly had another toileting accident, 65-year-old Kathleen Cooper grabbed hold of the two-year-old in December 2015.

She hurled him down the hallway of their Manurewa home, his head smashing into either the floor or the wall with a force equivalent to being in a high-speed car crash.

He was rushed to Starship Hospital, but died five days later.

On Thursday in the High Court at Auckland, Justice Sarah Katz handed Cooper a life sentence for her "appalling and inexcusable" crime, with a chance of parole after 14 years and six months.

The death of another child at the hands of the person who was supposed to look after them was "rightly a matter of public outrage and deep community concern", she said.

Cooper listened tearfully from the dock.

Just why she so brutally attacked her grandson was never fully explained.

Prosecutors argued it was the culmination of stress, her habit of using violence to discipline Jermain and her irritability from meth use.

Her defence team said it was the result of a brain snap and she had not meant to kill her grandson.

Cooper had taken over the care of Jermain and his three siblings - all aged under five - from her troubled daughter when she was aged 62 in 2013.

It was an enormous load. Jermain alone was small for his age and suffered from a genetic disorder that meant he had yet to learn how to walk or use the toilet.

Cooper took to hitting the boy.

Justice Katz also accepted Cooper was a meth user, saying it was "incomprehensible" she would do this while caring for small children.

Cooper later tried blame Jermain's older sibling for his death, claiming the small child had whacked the toddler with a tablet.

Hilton Tong, who is now looking after the siblings, spoke in a victim impact statement of how Cooper's physical and mental abuse broke his heart.

"It is appalling to think that anyone could be so cruel, especially to a small child," he said.

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