Shaken baby’s parents blamed

Stuff.co.nz 20/10/2010
A coroner has found a seven-month-old Christchurch baby who died from being violently shaken was killed by one of its parents – though no-one has ever been charged. In findings released today, regional coroner Richard McElrea has ruled that Staranise Waru was killed in February 2006 by either her mother Nyree Hopa or her father Robert Waru. While finding that Hopa would not have knowingly hurt the child and Waru’s evidence was “unsatisfactory” and he had lied to police, the coroner found the required standard of proof was insufficient to point the finger at any one parent. Neither Waru nor Hopa have been charged. The police investigation is still open but inactive. Staranise died in Christchurch Hospital on February 18, 2006, after being admitted with cerebral swelling, brain oxygen deprivation, spinal cord damage and bruising to the head. Hopa and Waru gave police interviews butdeclined to be reinterviewed on legal advice. At Staranise’s inquest both exercised the right to not incriminate themselves and declined to answer some questions.