A Sydney man accused of murdering a toddler has told a jury he "never laid a finger" on the girl, insisting her mother was the one who pinched, punched, hit and whipped her, at times making her unconscious.
Mohammed Khazma, 25, is on trial in the NSW Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to murdering his ex-girlfriend's two-year-old daughter in December 2016 in the Sydney granny flat the couple had just moved into.
When questioned by his barrister Luke Brasch on Wednesday, Khazma said he had wanted to report the girl's abuse to police but never did so because he "didn't want to get her (the mother) in trouble".
"But at the same time, I didn't want her doing what she was doing to the kid," he said.
"I thought that I could take it into my hands and try to sort it out myself."
Khazma told the jury a day before the girl died in hospital, he'd walked into a bedroom of the granny flat and found the mother "laying into" the toddler's face.
"She was repeatedly punching her," Khazma said.
"Seconds later" the toddler was unconscious on the bed.
"I just said: 'That's it, I've had enough'. I've grabbed my bag and my keys and stormed outside," he said.
"I was going to report her to the police."
Khazma said the mother begged him to come back inside and when he went to dial triple zero she "ripped the phone" out of his hand.
He claims the mother insisted on going to hospital alone and said he caught a taxi to meet up with his friend.
The mother previously testified she became disorientated and took the girl to Khazma's parents' house instead.
Khazma on Wednesday told the jury he'd also seen the mother pinch and bite the toddler after a bottle was spilt in the car, hold her by the ankle so her head hit the floor, and whip her legs and feet with a phone charger cord.
He rejected suggestions from crown prosecutor Philip Hogan that the couple's relationship was such that the mother had to do whatever Khazma said.
When asked by Mr Hogan why he didn't "just leave" and report her to police or Family and Community Services, or tell his parents, Khazma said: "I don't know."
The prosecutor said: "I suggest to you the reason you didn't do any of those things is because it just never happened?"
"That's not true," Khazma replied.
The mother was originally charged with her daughter's murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis she failed to remove the girl from Khazma's alleged abuse, failed to protect her and failed to get medical help. She has already served her jail time.
Khazma's trial before Justice Elizabeth Fullerton continues.