Charges upgraded to murder following death of six month old
Charges upgraded to murder following death of six month old Raumati baby
Today in the Porirua District Court a charge of assaulting a child was upgraded to a murder charge against 31 year old Michael Te Kouarehu KEREOPA. Initial charges were laid following the death of six-month old Gracie May McSorley in July this year. Gracie died as a result of severe head injuries that were inconsistent with Kereopa's claims of an accidental fall.
Following expert medical advice, Police allege that Gracie's injuries, similar to those that would be sustained in a high-speed car crash, are non-accidental and were deliberately caused by the defendant. Kereopa had been in a brief relationship with Gracie's mother at the time of her death.
When Gracie's mum left to collect an older sibling on Monday 6 July 2015 at 2:45pm, Gracie was alert, happy and healthy.
When her mother returned 45 minutes later it was clear Gracie was very unwell.
The defendant was the only person in the home with Gracie during this time. An ambulance was called at 4:26pmwhen Gracie became unresponsive.
Her mother performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
Gracie was air-lifted to Wellington Hospital and placed on life support.
Gracie passed away at 8:30pm on Tuesday 7th July 2015. Police are pleased that thorough investigative work has identified the defendant as the alleged offender in this case and he will now go before the Courts to be held accountable for his actions.
However, this is yet another sad reminder of New Zealand's unacceptable levels of child abuse.
We must all work together to keep our children safe and free from harm. Now a family is mourning the loss of a beautiful little girl at the hands of someone she should have been able to trust to care for her.