We've kept an eye on the sad case of Sahara Baker-Koro; a young Wanganui-born girl killed and raped by her step-father. The final chapter of this tragedy played out today in the High Court in Napier today; Marty Sharpe from the Dom-Post reports :
Kerry Ratana has been sentenced to 16 and a half years' jail for killing and sexually violating his five-year-old step daughter Sahara Jayde Baker-Koro.Ratana, 25, killed Sahara on December 20, 2010. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied a charge of sexual violation.Ratana appeared before Justice Denis Clifford in the High Court in Napier this morning.Justice Clifford imposed a minimum prison term of eight years and three months.The court heard an emotional and tearful victim impact statement read by Sahara's paternal grandmother Karen Koro.Mrs Koro said Sahara was a dearly loved daughter and grand-daughter who had an infectious laugh and "enough love for anyone who came into contact with her".Ratana performed "a cowardly act" when he took her life, she said.Mrs Koro said life would never be the same for her family and she hoped Ratana had had time in prison to reflect on his actions."We won't be able to hug her, kiss her, or tell her how much we love her," she said.She said her husband was particularly distraught as he had been very close to Sahara, and the pair often spoke on telephone and would both cry when they had to say goodbye.Ratana bowed his head and wept as she read, but later when Justice Clifford recited the facts concerning the sexual offending Ratana became agitated, shook his head and muttered "nup".
We know this whanau, and that's the main reason why we have maintained an interest in the progress of the case. Sahara was, from all reports, full of life before her life was snuffed out by Kerry Ratana, her mother's boyfriend. Aged just five, she had her whole life ahead of her until the man that her mother had brought into their home committed the gravest of breaches of trust.
Ratana has repeatedly expressed his remorse. We wonder whether he's remorseful for taking Sahara's life (he still denies the sexual violation case, despite having nbeen found guilty by a jury), or whether he's remorseful because he's off to prison. Only God and Kerry Ratana know the answer to that. But this bit might give you a hint:
As Ratana was led out of the dock today, he lunged toward a Dominion Post reporter, picking up his laptop and punching it to the ground. He was then restained by four guards and led away, struggling.