:: Man given ‘life sentence’ for killing daughter – New Zealand, world ::
NZPA | Monday, 2 April 2007
The man who killed one of his daughters when he drove his car off an Auckland quarry cliff said his actions had given him a life sentence.
South African Garth Duwayne Abbott, 29, was found not guilty last Wednesday of murdering his daughter Britney Angelique Abbott but guilty of her manslaughter after he drove his four-wheel drive vehicle off a 150-metre hilltop on Mt Wellington in August, 2005.
He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison with the chance of deportation on his release.
Abbott told TVNZ’s Sunday programme his family had come to New Zealand with its free public health system in mind.
His two daughters, Britney and Shirvaun, were suffering a rare genetic disorder that left them both deaf with the chance of becoming blind later in their lives.
Abbott said the pressure of dealing with the immigration process was causing him stress.
“The consultant at immigration put across to me that I was not good enough for some reason or the other. It’s like you’re stealing something from New Zealand.”
He was told by the immigration department his daughters would be a burden on the country’s health system, but they had not made any final decision on residency and were seeking more information.
The department told Sunday as the case was still open, they could not comment on whether the family would be granted residency.
Nine days before the accident, Abbott was told that nine-year-old Britney would not be eligible for an ear implant to help her deafness as she was too old.
On top of that, he and his wife were discussing getting a divorce.
Abbott was arguing on his cellphone with his wife, who was at their South Auckland home, when he drove his car off the road and plunged into the quarry below.
Police said Abbott’s intention was to kill himself and his daughters, who were not wearing seatbelts, by plunging the car over the hill.
Abbott admitted he was driving too fast for the windy road, but said the crash was simply an accident.
“I made a mistake. My daughter has lost her life because I made a mistake.
“I’ve got a life sentence – I’ve got to live with that everyday of my life.”