Police will not be drawn on how Wellsford toddler Stevve
Lawson received fatal head injuries, or whose custody she was
in when she was hurt.
Stevve, who celebrated her first birthday in April, was
airlifted to the Starship hospital by the Auckland Westpac
rescue helicopter on April 29. She died on May 2 and police
launched a homicide inquiry.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper said Stevve died of
"unexplained head injuries". However, he could not elaborate
further on how or where the little girl suffered the
He said she had been living with her mother, Ajhalia Trotter,
and partner Todd King at a Wellsford address. He confirmed
that when she was taken to hospital she was in Ms Trotter's
However, he would not say who was looking after Stevve when
she was fatally injured.
It is understood Ms Trotter shared custody of Stevve with the
toddler's father, Steve Lawson.
Ms Trotter's lawyer, Eb Leary, told the Herald on Sunday that
Stevve had been in Mr Lawson's care before she was admitted
He said Ms Trotter had nothing to do with Stevve's injuries.
But last night, he could not comment further on the specifics
of the investigation, or elaborate on the custody arrangement
in the lead-up to the death.
He said Ms Trotter, with others in her family, had been
through a "trauma" and they were not up to speaking publicly.
It is understood police were alerted to Stevve's injuries
before she died. Their investigation was then upgraded to a
homicide on May 2.
A homicide investigation begins when a death is unnatural or
unexplained. It does not necessarily mean the death was
violent or suspicious.
Stevve was farewelled at a "celebration of life" service at
the home of Ms Trotter's parents, Perry and Sheree, on May 7.
Mr Trotter posted details of the service on Facebook,
inviting family and friends to celebrate Stevve's "short but
His son Zahn Trotter posted that Stevve was the "new centre
of attention in heaven".
Ms Trotter's younger sister, Avya, has also posted tributes
on her social media pages. On June 2, a month after Stevve
died, she published a photograph of herself with her niece.
"Fave person in the world, now fave person in heaven," she
Avya Trotter is a singer and songwriter in the Wellsford
area. She revealed on her YouTube page that she had been
writing a song for Stevve when the toddler died.
"I started writing this song about her a couple of months
ago. I could hear her laughing in the next room as I was
writing it," she said.
"Never did I imagine this would happen. The day after Stevie
passed away I completed this song. Stevie was our sunshine.
She was just so happy all the time."
- Anna Leask of the NZ Herald