Killer to be re­leased

Stratford Press - - News - By SAM HUR­LEY New Zealand Her­ald court re­porter

A fa­ther who smoth­ered his 2-year-old daugh­ter to death with a pil­low will be freed from prison — de­spite still main­tain­ing her death was “an ac­ci­dent”.

Philip Mur­ray Kin­raid was con­victed and jailed for the man­slaugh­ter of Esme Claire Kin­raid at their Haw­era home on June 26, 2015.

On an undis­closed date this month he will be re­leased.

The Taranaki fa­ther of two was putting his chil­dren, in­clud­ing a cry­ing Esme, to bed and wrapped his daugh­ter in a blan­ket.

How­ever, Esme kicked it off, which led to the burly man flip­ping the tod­dler over and plac­ing her face down on a pil­low. He then pressed down on the back of Esme’s head with his arm.

In Novem­ber 2016, the chem­i­cal en­gi­neer pleaded guilty to the tod­dler’s man­slaugh­ter — but only af­ter a judge ruled ev­i­dence for a mur­der charge was in­ad­mis­si­ble.

Po­lice had ob­tained med­i­cal records which de­tec­tives said proved mur­der, how­ever, the records were ex­cluded be­cause med­i­cal priv­i­lege ap­plied.

A court or­der pre­vents the Her­ald from pub­lish­ing spe­cific de­tails of the ev­i­dence, how­ever, it is un­der­stood the Crown was re­ly­ing heav­ily on it to prove the mur­der charge.

On Fe­bru­ary 22 last year, Jus­tice Re­becca El­lis sen­tenced Kin­raid in the High Court at New Ply­mouth to four years and three months’ im­pris­on­ment.

He ap­pealed his sen­tence in the Court of Ap­peal, claim­ing it was “man­i­festly ex­ces­sive”, but the chal­lenge was dis­missed this month, and af­ter serv­ing the min­i­mum third of his sen­tence, Kin­raid was re­leased from prison.

Fol­low­ing a Pa­role Board hear­ing on July 9 at Ton­gariro Prison, the board found Kin­raid had a “favourable pa­role as­sess­ment re­port and a new part­ner”.

“He has ap­proved ac­com­mo­da­tion with [with­held] and strong fam­ily sup­port of [with­held],” the re­port reads.

A psy­chol­o­gist’s re­port from May found “no fur­ther treat­ment was war­ranted” for Kin­raid be­cause he had “made ex­em­plary progress” with oneto-one coun­selling.

“He is as­sessed at low risk but there is some need to strengthen his re­lease plan,” the pa­role board said.

“Mr Kin­raid has no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions and the of­fence was in­ex­pli­ca­ble. Al­though, as he says, the death of his daugh­ter was ‘an ac­ci­dent’, his ac­tions which caused that death were un­law­ful and very se­ri­ous.”

Af­ter sen­tenc­ing, the de­tec­tive in charge of the case, Daniel Coomey, told the Her­ald he couldn’t com­pre­hend how Kin­raid’s ac­tions could be con­ceived as an ac­ci­dent.

“Most def­i­nitely not,” he said.

“No length of time served in prison is go­ing to les­son the harm caused by Mr Kin­raid.”

PHOTO / SAM HUR­LEY

Philip Kin­raid was sen­tenced to four years and three months’ im­pris­on­ment in Fe­bru­ary last year.

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