The man who killed a 17-month-old toddler will spend five years and 11 months in jail.
Phillip John Welsh was sentenced for the manslaughter of Malcolm Bell at the Auckland High Court this morning, after he threw the child against a couch last year.
The child spent days in intensive care, before dying due to severe head injuries.
While Welsh was initially charged with murder, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter in September this year.
He’ll face a minimum period of imprisonment of 50 per cent.
Today, Welsh cried silently in the dock while family of the child gave their impact statements.
Savanna Bell, Malcolm’s mother, was visibly emotional as she spoke to the court.
“How could you do this to my baby? All I want to do is yell, scream, and swear at you, but that won’t bring my baby back,” she said.
“You made up stories to save yourself.”
Bell said she is still traumatised by the killing and often has nightmares.
“You’re a liar, a coward, a monster.”
Tom Richardson, Malcolm’s biological father, said the death had been a “kick in the guts”.
He was at Starship Hospital when the toddler died of his injuries.
“It was like watching a plant die slowly, day by day,” he said.
“I can’t understand why you did it when there were so many options.”
Handing down the sentence, High Court Justice Whata said “the violence in this case was brutal”.
“The harm caused to the victims is incalculable.”
Earlier this year, the court heard that Welsh was angry with Malcolm’s mother and that he felt like a babysitter while she was out.
When police arrived at the Central Auckland apartment in June 2019, the child was found with critical injuries.
Welsh initially claimed the then 16-month-old child had a seizure.
Paramedics began treating the boy and noted his “slow and laboured” breathing and that he was “completely floppy and unresponsive”.
Malcolm then spent several days fighting for his life after he was admitted to Auckland’s Starship Hospital with severe head injuries.
Oranga Tamariki said after Malcolm’s death that social workers knew people were worried about his situation and were working to help him and his family before he died.
“The tragic death of Malcolm Bell has affected many and our thoughts are with those who loved him,” Central Auckland regional manager Anna Palmer said last year.
She added Oranga Tamariki would be looking to see if it should have done things differently.