The man accused of killing Mildura toddler Nikki Francis Coslovich was a “foolish, selfish, idiot” but could not be found guilty of murder, his defence lawyer told a Supreme Court Jury.
John Torney, 32, is on trial for the murder of the two-year-old whose body was found in the roof of her Mildura home on August 25 last year with injuries likened to those of a car crash victim.
Torney was in a de facto relationship with the little girl’s mother Peta-Ann Francis at the time of her death, but claims it was his partner who murdered the child – he merely helped to cover it up by hiding her body in the roof cavity.
His barrister Julie Condon described his conduct as “unforgivable” but said there was no charge for being a “foolish, selfish idiot”, according to the Age.
When he was first interviewed by police, an hour after her body was found, he denied any knowledge of what had occurred.
A video of the interview was played in court earlier in the trial.
“In the roof of Peta’s house?” Torney said in the video.
“Are youse playing f***ing mind games or something with me, you f***heads?”
After further questioning he told detectives, “I love all them girls like my own”.
“There’s nothing happened. I’m always on to Peta, like, to calm down with the girls and shit as well, cos I don’t believe in hitting kids,” he said.
“I don’t, I never smack my own kids. I would never smack anybody else’s kids or anything.”
Prosecutors allege Torney bashed the toddler while her mother was out running errands, then hid the body.
His lawyers, however, claim Francis fatally hit her daughter, while Torney was in another room.
She then told him she’d she’d “gone too far” and asked for his help.
The trial continues.