Auckland father who shot toddler in the head to stay behind bars after contraband found in cell

A South Auckland man who shot his daughter dead in the driveway of their home while playing with a firearm has been refused parole after contraband was found in his prison cell.

Amokura Daniels-Sanft died after she was shot in the head at her Mangere home on June 2, 2016.

In September 2017 her father Gustav Otto Sanft, 27, was found guilty of manslaughter following a high-profile jury trial.

Sanft had earlier pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a pistol, a sawn-off shotgun.

The horrific incident occurred while the family were moving from their home in Māngere to begin a new life in West Auckland.

Sanft eventually admitted to the Parole Board that he had pointed an illegal firearm at his preschooler and pulled the trigger- something he had previously denied.

Amokura, who was playing on a couch, was shot just above her left eye at close range, causing her skull to fracture as she suffered a significant and unsurvivable head wound.

Sanft was toying with the modified shotgun when it fired.

Justice Geoffrey Venning sentenced him to four years and four months in jail.

The Parole Board has seen Sanft several times since he became eligible for an early release from prison.

He has been refused parole each time.

On September 10 another hearing was held and it was revealed Sanft was facing misconduct charges in prison.

“Mr Sanft completed his rehabilitation programmes two years ago and has been on a
reintegration pathway,” said Parole Board panel convenor Neville Trendle.

“That pathway was interrupted recently when a search of his external self-care unit yielded three secreted telephones and other contraband.

“Together with the other occupants he was regressed from the self-care unit.”

Prison management were to decide when and if Sanft could return to the “self-care environment”.

He has seven months remaining on his sentenced and his statuary release date is April 30, 2022.

Trendle said at this stage Sanft had no release proposal to present to the board.

In the past he was refused parole earlier over concerns about his release plan.

And the board previously told Sanft they had no confidence he would keep out of trouble if he was allowed out of prison.

They have also heard that when released, Sanft wants to return to live with the mother of his children.

“We note Mr Sanft’s partner is proposing to move northwards early next year,” Trendle said in his decision, released to the Herald today.

“There seems to be no impediment for their contact to resume.”

However while Sanft is facing “potential misconduct proceedings” and without a release plan, he could not be granted parole.

“Having regard to the progress he was making up until very recently we will however provide him with the opportunity to return to the board in three months by 20 December 2021,” Trendle ruled.

“We invite his case manager to work with Mr Sanft in the interim to further develop his release plan.”

The board has earlier stated that for Sanft to return to the home with his partner and other children, Oranga Tamariki would have to approve.

It has also been suggested that on any release a special condition should be imposed banning Sanft from having any children under 14 left in his care as a sole supervisor at any time.


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