Troy Taylor murder trial, Day 2: The day after being allegedly assaulted by the man accused of murdering him, 14-month old Ihaka Paora Braxton Stokes was “pretty much his usual self” during a visit to the doctor.
The second day of the trial of Troy Kevin Taylor in the High Court at Christchurch heard that he had offered to adopt Ihaka as his son and marry the woman who was his partner, Mikala Stokes.
She agreed with defence counsel Phil Shamy, who asked during cross-examination: “As far as you knew, he was a fine young man?”
Taylor, 23, denies charges of assaulting the child on Thursday July 2, 2015, and murdering him on Friday July 3. The Crown will call evidence from 36 witnesses during the trial which will take at least two weeks.
Miss Stokes spent Tuesday morning telling Justice Cameron Mander and the jury about the days leading up to July 3, and the events that night when Taylor told her he had found something was wrong with Ihaka who was injured in his cot.
The child was pronounced dead in hospital about an hour later, and the post mortem examination showed that he had 59 injuries including broken bones, and brain swelling from a head injury.
The Crown is alleging that Taylor, who had suffered repeated concussions, had “lost it” and injured the baby. The defence is alleging that Miss Stokes – a heavily pregnant mother coping with a child with an ear infection – cannot be ruled out as being the person who caused the injury. She was the only other person in the Bryndwr house.
Miss Stokes told the court that she and Taylor were no longer in contact.
Cross-examined, she said that Taylor had “adored” Ihaka, and the child had adored him. They had spent a lot of time together.
She recalled that one time, Taylor had told Ihaka off and had then felt bad about it.
She said that sometimes when he was awake in his cot, Ihaka would bang his head against the cot or pull his hair “because he didn’t want to miss out”.
Taylor had sometimes been nauseous, or had headaches or dizziness because of his concussions, but she had told the police his moods were good and he had been very patient with Ihaka.
She had not heard anything unusual on the Thursday night, but next day Taylor had told her that Ihaka had had a fall and had bitten his lip. Taylor took photos of the injury to show the doctor and they had taken him to see a doctor in Riccarton. Taylor had been keen to get him to the doctor to make sure the boy was okay.
She also said Ihaka had fallen off the bed around that time, and it had been “a regular thing”.
The doctor had recorded that Ihaka was happy during that visit on the Friday. Taylor had later slept on the couch during the day, and Ihaka, who had an ear infection and a sore throat, had been “pretty much his usual self”.