Little JJ Lawrence's
stepfather was on probation for assaulting his ex-girlfriend
and enrolled in an anti-violence course when he is alleged to
have struck the two-year-old so hard that his liver and
pancreas were split in half, a court has heard.
Joel Loffley, 29, has denied a charge of murdering his
partner's son at their Orakei house last November and is on
trial at the High Court in Auckland.
A police interview with Loffley, recorded on the day of JJ's
death, was played to the court today.
Loffley told police he had never hit his kids and was not
responsible for the death of his stepson.
"I never assaulted my kids. I've got a few from assaulting my
kids' mums but never my kids, ever, ever my kids. Ever."
He said he was doing a "Man Alive course" with anti-violence
education provider Shine and was trying to complete his
probation for a charge of male assaults female.
"I was just trying to keep out of trouble, just do my all, my
probation things correctly and try not to breach so I go back
Loffley told police that JJ's mother, Josephine Lawrence,
went out and he had been looking after JJ and tidying the
bedroom on the day the boy died.
He said JJ was jumping on the bed while Loffley "fluffed the
"When I've gone to fluff it the last time he's jumped, fallen
off the bed and landed on his face, on his chin and his legs
have gone up over his head."
Loffley said JJ was wheezing afterwards but he put that down
to the effects of a recent throat infection.
He said he picked JJ up and the child stopped crying. He
checked the child's nappy and found it was full so took him
to the shower.
After the shower, he put JJ to bed for a rest and went out
with his friends before returning about an hour later.
"I went upstairs but I thought I'd check on Josie first and
see if she's checked on that boy. She said no, so I went and
checked on him and found him like he was gargling on his back
and there was s*** coming out of his mouth."
He said he took the boy to his mother.
"And then she screamed and then I screamed and then I started
to panic and then she started to scream ..."
Earlier, Loffley told police he met JJ's mother Josephine on
a social networking website.
He said she let him move in because he needed a bail address
while he faced a charge of male assaults female. The charge
related to an alleged assault on his ex-girlfriend.
The trial continues.