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Girl killed by kicking, court told

Published: 6:34PM Monday March 24, 2003

A Hamilton jury on Monday heard about the final hours in a 12-year-old's life.

Kelly Gush died in hospital last August and 35-year-old Darren Mackness is on trial for her murder.

The court was told he kicked his partner's daughter in the head because he was angry she had vomited.

A day later Kelly Gush died in Starship Hospital from severe head injuries.

On Monday the Crown described how Mackness controlled Karen Paget and her two girls.

Photos shown in evidence show how Gush and her sister lived.

The girls' door was bolted and the outside windows nailed shut.

The court heard that after school the girls were locked into their rooms and only allowed out to eat meals, to go to the bathroom they had to knock on their door and at night they were given a bucket.

The defence says Mackness actively encouraged the girls to learn and promoted healthy eating.

It questioned whether Paget saw the kicks land on her daughter.

After Kelly's death, Paget claimed Mackness was upset.

She said he told her: "I killed your daughter but I didn't mean to."

The trial is expected to last through the week.