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An man who shot his daughter dead in the driveway of their South Auckland home will stay in prison after the Parole Board raised concerns that he did not know how to “keep himself safe and away from crime” if released.
And for the first time Gustav Otto Sanft has admitted pointing an illegal firearm at his preschooler and pulling the trigger – something he has always denied.
Amokoura Daniels-Sanft died after she was shot in the head at her South Auckland 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.
Amokoura, 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.
He was refused parole earlier this year over concerns about his release plan.
At another hearing last week the board told Sanft they had no confidence he would keep out of trouble if he was allowed out of prison.
Sanft, now 28, has completed all of the rehabilitation in prison and is currently working in a “trusted position” outside the wire in the grounds.
“There are no issues with his behaviour. In fact the PCO gave a very good report about Mr Sanft today,” Parole Board panel convenor Kathryn Snook said.
“He said he is a role model prisoner. He is residing in a reintegration unit. In that unit Mr Sanft is effectively segregated from other associates including those in the Crips gang.”
Snook said one of the key and ongoing issues for Sanft had been getting approval for his post-prison accommodation.
It is understood he wants to return to live with the mother of his children.
Snook said despite the tragic loss of their child as result of Sanft’s actions, his partner
“remains in support”.
She was at last week’s parole hearing.
Parole declined: Auckland man who shot his daughter does not want to return to ‘risky’ old haunts
For Sanft to return to the home with his partner and other children, Oranga Tamariki would have to approve.
“Oranga Tamariki are working closely with the family. There have been at least three family group conferences which Mr Sanft has attended on guided releases,” Snook said in her decision, released today.
“The plan, as noted above, is that he will transition back home eventually.”
Until then Sanft proposed to live a the address where he grew up.
But the board heard that is where he first met his gang associates.
“We spent some time talking to Mr Sanft about his association with the (gang),” Snook said.
“He has successfully distanced himself from the gang in prison. He says he has a new resolve to not associate with the gang.
“However he also expressed concerns to the board that the gang may want to make an ‘example’ of him.”
Sanft told the board he had not given much thought to how he will manage that ongoing risk in the community.
Snook said that risk was “obviously heightened” if he returned to his childhood home.
“Mr Sanft appeared to acknowledge that,” she said.
“We do not gain much confidence from our discussion with Mr Sanft today that he is familiar with what he will need to do in the community to keep himself safe and away from crime.”
Another factor that concerned the board was a change in support for Sanft.
He had been working with someone who had offered to provide help with “safety planning, parenting support, grief and trauma counselling and other support in the community” after he was released.
But that person was no longer able to offer the support due to a death in her own family and a change in her work situation.
While she had encouraged Sanft and his family to obtain support from another service but the board had no information about how that would work.
“Mr Sanft was not able to talk in any convincing way about the planned support,” said Snook.
“He said he has yet to meet anyone from that organisation.”
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.
“We were advised that the reference to under 14-year-olds arose because all of Mr Sanft ‘s own children are 12 and under,” said Snook.
“We talked with Mr Sanft about the offending. He admitted today that he pointed the
gun at his daughter and pulled the trigger.
“This is different from what he said in court. It is what he was found guilty of at trial.
“It is clear from our discussion today that the offending arose in a situation of a series of very poor choices made by Mr Sanft.
“This includes continuing to have the firearm in a house where there were at least five children.”
Snook said Sanft had “done very well” on his sentence.
However the board were not in a position where they were satisfied he no longer posed a risk to the public.
Sanft was refused parole.
He will next see the board to plead his case for early release in March.
“Before the next hearing we want further work to be done in clarifying Mr Sanft’s release proposal,” said Snook.
“We have concerns about a release back to (his childhood home).
“Those concerns may be alleviated if there is a clearer plan put forward in relation to Mr Sanft managing his risk of coming into contact with his (gang) associates.
“He admitted today that this not only causes risk to him but also to those with whom he will be living.”
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