Accused of shifting the blame

Murder accused Clayton Weatherston has rejected a suggestion he did not take responsibility for his own actions.

During his cross-examination of the 33-year-old former economics research fellow in the High Court at Christchurch, Crown counsel Robin Bates asked him if he understood the meaning of the word responsibility.

"We've been here for several hours and you've taken responsibility for nothing. You're putting it all on to other people."

Weatherston said he had clearly been emphasising he had been taking responsibility "and you're trying to characterise me as not having done so", he said.

He was being cross-examined during his fourth day of evidence at his trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, 22-year-old honours student Sophie Elliott.

She was killed by Weatherston after a volatile five-month relationship. Weatherston had spoken of the on-again, off-again nature of the involvement and said he had wanted to end it.

But Mr Bates suggested that, at his age and having had several earlier relationships, the accused had "been round the block a few times", yet was trying to suggest he was "helpless in the face of her [Miss Elliott's] advances and can't get out".

Weatherston denied saying he was helpless but agreed there was "a certain amount of victimhood" in his relationship with Miss Elliott.

He said "the nature of the personality rather than the relative experience is what's important".

"You've put your spin on it, incorrectly, as to the way she was and way you were," Mr Bates said. The accused disagreed and said the Crown was attributing a generalisation to him.

He denied he was taking every opportunity he could to suggest Miss Elliott was promiscuous. But she had volunteered the information about having had a sexual relationship with someone while she was on holiday in Australia.

As part of his history with Miss Elliott, he agreed he had suggested "from what she told me" an earlier incident when she had kicked and punched another boyfriend.

"I told her it was not a good thing to do and she got extremely upset," Weatherston said. There were some things in his relationship with Miss Elliott that made him think it was heading the same way, he said.

He agreed Miss Elliott had told him of the circumstances when she had been upset with the former boyfriend and that she had launched herself at him and scratched his face.

Mr Bates suggested Weatherston's evidence had exaggerated what Miss Elliott told him about the incident, and that he said there was punching and kicking as well as scratching because he wanted to say it was something she would do to him later. It was another example of the accused making things up to put Miss Elliott in a bad light, Mr Bates said.

He also challenged Weatherston about what he called the accused's "penis envy".

Weatherston had raised the issue of penis size on separate occasions with Miss Elliott and with a former girlfriend who earlier told the court she would not have offered the information if the question had not been asked and the information was given "grudgingly".

"We were talking about just one person, and it was just spontaneous - a very small thing - maybe it wasn't," Weatherston said.

But it was different in Miss Elliott's case, he told Mr Bates. It was like she wanted to fantasise about sex all through the relationship.

He had been asking her about the status of her relationship with another male but not in a sexual way.

Mr Bates said Miss Elliott, in a diary entry, called Weatherston "so high maintenance" and said he had been continually pressing and wanting details "and not liking them when you got them".

Mr Bates suggested it was "another example of you taking one set of facts and blaming the other people for what arose out of your obsession".

Weatherston said his inquisitiveness was intended to be "of a platonic nature" and that Miss Elliott gave him "a sexually explicit answer".



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