Clayton Weatherston has been sentenced to life imprisonment
with 18 year minimum period of imprisonment for the brutal
murder of Otago University student Sophie Elliot.
Mum hopes 'screams of agony' ring in Weatherston's
Judge Judith Potter said Sophie Elliott's death was a tragedy
in every sense of the word. It was undoubtedly a highly
brutal and callous murder, among the worst, she said, as she
handed down the sentence to Weatherston in the High Court at
Christchurch at 12.17pm today.
The courtroom was very subdued and Weatherston had no
reaction as he was sentenced. No-one cried.
Judge Potter said she believed the killing was deliberate and
controlled and rejected the defence that Weatherston was
A sentencing report from the probation service said it was
difficult to assess if there was any long-term risk of
Weatherston harming another person because he had not shown
any remorse and was unable to control his negative feelings
towards Miss Elliott, but Weatherston had said his violence
was the result of a unique set of circumstances in his
relationship with Miss Elliott.
She took in to account the continued attack and mutilation of
Miss Elliott's body after her death, Justice Potter said.
"I am in no doubt this murder was committed with a high level
of brutality and callousness."
There was some planning, but it was not over careful and
orchestrated, but she rejected Weatherston's evidence that he
usually carried the knife with him for his own protection.
She took into account his lack of previous convictions and
that he was likely to respond well to therapy.
Miss Elliott, who had been Weatherston's girlfriend, was
stabbed in her Dunedin home 216 times on January 9 last year.
Weatherston, 33, an economics tutor at the university,
admitted manslaughter at the start of the month-long trial in
June but denied murder.
In a move which caused controversy and national debate, he
claimed he was provoked into killing Miss Elliott.
Read the Judge's full address to the court in tomorrow's
Otago Daily Times newspaper.