THE mother of a 9-year-old boy who was “brutally murdered” in Otautau says she will never forgive herself for letting her son’s murderer babysit him.
Daniel Alan Cameron (16) was sentenced on Monday to life imprisonment with a minimum of 11 years behind bars for the murder of Hunter Arthur MacIntosh.
Hunter’s mother, Amy King, found his lifeless body on the floor of his bedroom on October 30, 2019, after he had been killed by Cameron.
She was 28 weeks pregnant at the time.
Visibly emotional in the High Court in Invercargill on Monday, Mrs King said the image of her son had never left her thoughts.
“People say [to me], ‘remember the good times’, but I remember finding my son dead… knowing that I could do nothing to save him.
“He [Hunter] trusted Daniel. He liked him.
“My reality is that I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time and the only thing that kept me breathing and eating was our baby.”
She said her youngest son would never be able to meet his older brother.
Through tears, Mrs King told Cameron and those gathered in the court of her love for Hunter.
“He was my love, my world, my reason for living. My every waking moment was about Hunter. I loved that he was the other half of me.
“He wanted to be a scientist but he never will be able to be, or do, so many things.”
Cameron “took him from us”, she said, addressing the teenager.
Crown prosecutor Riki Donnelly said imprisonment was the only possible outcome for Cameron.
He said it was an aggravating factor the youth had left the boy dead by himself in his room.
Defence counsel Bill Dawkins said he did not have the answer to why Hunter was killed.
He said his client, Cameron, was always very quiet.
“Since my first meeting with the defendant, I don’t know why he did the unthinkable.”
However, Mr Dawkins said when he asked Cameron if he wanted to say something to Hunter’s family, he had replied to him, “I’m sorry”.
Justice Rachel Dunningham said the families and community of Otautau were shattered after the offending.
“His teachers, his classmates… everyone is struggling to understand why and how this could happen.”
Justice Dunningham said reports stated Cameron did not suffer from “any recognised mental health issue”, but he had mild autistic characteristics and had shown a tendency to “get angry at the stupidest things”.
She read out a pre-sentence report to the court in which Cameron had explained what happened prior to the murder.
“Hunter was being really annoying that evening and had a device… which made a very loud sound.
“He kept making loud sounds with his device and wouldn’t stop when you asked him to.”
Justice Dunningham said Cameron would need to deal with his anger management, and she had seen no evidence of remorse from him.