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Tania Witika begins new life

Published: 7:13AM Thursday September 05, 2002

Convicted child killer Tania Witika has been released from Christchurch women's prison after ten years inside.

She was convicted of the manslaughter of her two-year-old daughter Delcelia in 1991.

Tania Witika's release on statutory parole came after serving two-thirds of her sentence.

The horrific death of Delcelia Witika, or Delcie, in 1991 shocked New Zealand.

Delcelia lived just 12 weeks beyond her second birthday before dying in unimaginable violence after months of physical torture.

Delcelia's body was covered with bruises and burns when she was discovered lying in a south Auckland home.

Tania Witika's partner, Eddie Smith was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his part in the killing.

And while Smith blamed Tania Witika, she had a tale of helpless terror.

"I just can't explain it eh.. I know everybody will be pointing and saying you know why didn't you do this, why didn't you do that, but you know if they lived in this house, behind closed doors, when we got back here nobody knew what went on behind closed doors," Tania Witika said in 1991.

Now after serving two-thirds of her sentence, her lawyer, says she is greatly relieved to be free.

"I've kept in touch with her over the past ten years, spoken to her, visited her, and she appears one happy woman this evening," says Tania Witika's lawyer Frank Hogan.

Hogan says that Tania Witika is now a very different woman ten years on and is determined to contribute to society

"All she asks is that she be given the opportunity to get on with her life," Hogan says.

A life she plans to start afresh in the South Island.

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