Family's relief over killer's failed sentence bid

Azalia Wilson. Photo: Supplied
Azalia Wilson. Photo: Supplied
Azalia Wilson was a soldier. She was the life of the party, a dedicated mum, a woman who fiercely loved her family and friends.

But her life was taken away at the hands of a violent partner who murdered her in a jealous rage while their baby daughter Kiara-Maye was in the same room.

Samuel Moses Samson, who murdered the young mother in a motel room in Invercargill in 2019, was this week denied his appeal to reduce his 17-year minimum non-parole jail term.

"I'm glad, I just feel relief," mother Trinette Wilton told Open Justice when she heard the news.

"I feel as though there is one less weight in my life, knowing they won't consider an appeal for the same thing again," sister Crystal Wilton added.

"Samuel is just trying everything he can with this case and I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't the last we hear from him and his lawyers. But I have an immense amount of relief knowing his appeal was denied."

It was another step forward in the healing process for the family, Crystal said.

"Azalia was the literal life of the party. In any situation she could make fun," she said.

"Azalia was a soldier and if you needed her she would be right there no matter how small."

Mum Trinette Wilton, sister Crystal and Azalia. Photo: Supplied
Mum Trinette Wilton, sister Crystal and Azalia. Photo: Supplied
Crystal said her sister was an amazing mother.

"From the minute she found out she was pregnant her whole life changed for Kiara."

Because of a rocky start to life for the little girl who spent a lot of time in incubators, photos with her mum are limited.

Crystal wants her sister to be remembered for the woman she was, not the tragic way she died, and has taken to social media as her advocate.

"Azalia's story would never have been shared if I didn't do it.

Azalia's daughter Kiara-Maye sits beside her mother's headstone. Photo: Supplied by family
Azalia's daughter Kiara-Maye sits beside her mother's headstone. Photo: Supplied by family
"News stories, as expected, have always been about Samuel's crime, not Azalia as a victim.

"I wanted Azalia to be heard and I wanted everyone to really get to understand all the pain Samuel's crime has caused, on everyone."

She hopes a TikTok account created under the name justiceforazaliawilson will achieve that – justice for the family, and any other women who may face domestic violence.

Reaching views in the millions, she posts content to 29.6k followers and has made it her mission to do what she can in bringing visibility to domestic harm and prevent rising statistics.

"The reason I think it's important is because I know there are so many other women out there that are in the same situation Azalia was in," she said.

"Since Azalia passed, I made it my mission to do whatever I possibly can to prevent women from becoming statistics."

Between 2009 and 2018 there were 125 intimate partner deaths in New Zealand, 76 per cent of offenders were men and 70 per cent of those who died were women, according to Family Violence Death Review Committee.

"Azalia my whole life has always been my biggest supporter, even when I felt like she wasn't. She would always show up for me," Crystal said.

"Most of all Azalia always stood true to who she was and she never ever let anyone take that from her."

How to get help

If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people. Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you. Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.

Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Crisis line - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 (available 24/7)
• Shine: Helpline - 0508 744 633 (available 24/7)
• It's Not Ok: Family violence information line - 0800 456 450
• Shakti: Specialist services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and children. Crisis line - 0800 742 584 (available 24/7)
• Ministry of Justice: For information on family violence
• Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga: National Network of Family Violence Services
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women

How to hide your visit:
If you are reading this information and you're worried that someone using the same computer will find out what you've been looking at, you can follow the steps at the link here to hide your visit. Each of the websites above also has a section that outlines this process.

 -By Hazel Osborne
  Open Justice multimedia journalist, Wellington



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