‘May her screams haunt you’

Her death would have been so aw­ful and so ex­cru­ci­at­ing as to be unimag­in­able.’

The Dominion Post - - News -

SO­PHIE EL­LIOTT’S mother told her killer, Clay­ton Weather­ston, she hoped So­phie’s ‘‘screams of agony’’ would haunt him as they did her.

Weather­ston, 33, was given a life sen­tence with a min­i­mum no-pa­role pe­riod of 18 years for mur­der­ing his for­mer girl­friend, who was stabbed 216 times at her home in Dunedin on Jan­uary 9 last year.

At Weather­ston’s sen­tenc­ing in the High Court at Christchur­ch yes­ter­day, Les­ley El­liott de­scribed how she had been af­fected by her 22-yearold daugh­ter’s mur­der and wit­ness­ing part of the at­tack. ‘‘As a mother be­ing present and un­able to help her un­til it was too late will live with me for­ever.’’

Mrs El­liott told how she tried in vain to en­ter her daugh­ter’s locked bed­room af­ter hear­ing her daugh­ter’s scream, as Weather­ston re­peat­edly stabbed her.

‘‘I will never for­get those mo­ments of sheer ter­ror and her un­be­liev­able screams of pain. By the time I was able to get into her room she had gone. My beau­ti­ful daugh­ter had been butchered.’’

Ad­dress­ing Weather­ston di­rectly, Mrs El­liott told him he had been priv­i­leged to have had time with her daugh­ter and she would never for­give him for his crime. ‘‘I hope that her screams of agony ring in your ears as they do mine.’’

Miss El­liott’s fa­ther, Gil­bert El­liott, de­scribed Weather­ston as ‘‘the epit­ome of evil’’, and said he had de­stroyed his daugh­ter’s life in the ‘‘cru­elest way imag­in­able’’.

‘‘Her death would have been so aw­ful and so ex­cru­ci­at­ing as to be unimag­in­able,’’ Mr El­liott said.

Christo­pher El­liott said Weather­ston’s lack of re­morse had made his sis­ter’s death harder to deal with. ‘‘He’s, thus far, done noth­ing to lessen the im­pact of So­phie’s death on those who loved her, and only seems to care about the im­pact it has had on him­self,’’ he said.

‘‘He can­not ra­tio­nally be­lieve that So­phie could have said or done any­thing that jus­ti­fied the in­cred­i­bly ex­ces­sive vi­o­lence and sav­agery of his at­tack on her.’’

Weather­ston, a for­mer tu­tor at Otago Uni­ver­sity, sat silently through­out the two-hour sen­tenc­ing, show­ing lit­tle emo­tion. How­ever, when his fa­ther, Roger, spoke, he bent his head and wiped away tears.

‘‘I never thought for one minute he could be ca­pa­ble of such a trav­esty that un­folded on Jan­uary 9, 2008,’’ Mr Weather­ston said. ‘‘I’m hop­ing that Clay­ton will find it within him­self to pub­licly show re­morse.’’

The de­fence team had put a de­fence of provo­ca­tion be­fore the court at the month-long trial which ended in July.

De­fence lawyer Ju­dith Ablett Kerr, QC, said Weather­ston had achieved much in life in spite of the strug­gle with his per­son­al­ity dis­or­der, in­volv­ing nar­cis­sism and ob­ses­sion­al­ity.

She said he stood by the ev­i­dence he gave at the trial, about how the events took place.

Jus­tice Ju­dith Pot­ter said Miss El­liott’s mur­der had an im­pact on the whole of the New Zealand com­mu­nity.

‘‘So­phie El­liott’s death was a tragedy in ev­ery sense of the word,’’ she said.

She, like the jury, could not ac­cept the de­fence of par­tial provo­ca­tion. ‘‘I con­sider they are likely read­ily to have reached the con­clu­sion that his killing of So­phie El­liott was not the re­sult of his los­ing the power of self­con­trol, but was rather a de­lib­er­ate and con­trolled at­tack on a young woman who he had made known to oth­ers he hated.’’

She said she se­ri­ously doubted that his per­son­al­ity dis­or­der con­trib­uted to di­min­ished in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity at the time of the of­fend­ing, but it may have con­trib­uted to a di­min­ished un­der­stand­ing of the crime. NZPA

Life cut short:

So­phie El­liott was 22 when Clay­ton Weather­ston stabbed her 216 times. Her mother, Les­ley El­liott, told Weather­ston he had been priv­i­leged to have had time with So­phie and she would never for­give him.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.