Case 14: Sophie Elliott (PART II)

DUNEDIN. OTAGO. The day after stabbing 22 year old Sophie Elliott to death, the 10th of January 2008, Clayton Weatherston appeared in court in Dunedin — he pled not guilty to the charge of murder. This began long and lengthy court proceedings.

Visit www.truecrimenz.com for additional information on this case. Including a transcript of this episode, with supporting pictures, sources, and credits.

If you are a victim of family violence or in a relationship that makes you fearful about your own or anyone else’s safety, seek help as soon as possible. We have linked some resources in the show notes. You have the right to be safe.

Hosted by Jessica Rust
Written and edited by Sirius Rust

Music sourced from:

Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
https://filmmusic.io/
“Anguish”, “Day of Chaos”, “Long Note Two”, “Pensif”, “Relaxing Piano Music”, “Sunset at Glengorm”, “Unnatural Situation”
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

The podcast version is the intended way to consume this story but I make a transcript available for those that would rather read instead. This can be found below.

HIGH COURT

The day after stabbing 22 year old Sophie Elliott to death, the 10th of January 2008, Clayton Weatherston appeared in court in Dunedin — he pled not guilty to the charge of murder. This began long and lengthy court proceedings.

Fig 1. Sophie Elliott

95% of criminal cases are tried in District Courts, overseeing matters from very serious crimes including rape, aggravated robbery and sexual violation to more minor crimes like disorderly behaviour.

Only category 4 offences are outside of the District Court’s jurisdiction such as treason, manslaughter and murder. These matters are dealt with in the ‘first instance’ by the High Court. The superior High Court also functions as an appellate court from the lower District Courts.

The High Court of NZ replaced the ‘Supreme Court of New Zealand’ in 1980. The High Court is the ‘superior court’ of NZ and serves a senior rank in our justice system; with only one higher — the new Supreme Court or ‘the court of last resort.’

The halls of these courtrooms would become familiar territory for Clayton Weatherston and Sophie’s supporters over the next several years as the wheels of justice moved slowly. Many hurdles needed to be cleared before we could reach the finish line;  justice.

PRELIMINARY HEARING

Fig 2. Clayton Weatherston

First there needed to be a Committal Hearing, also known as a deposition hearing or preliminary hearing. A committal hearing is kind of like a trial before the trial. The purpose is to determine whether there is sufficient Prima Facie Case to go before a jury.

Prima Facie is a Latin term meaning “something that has been proven or assumed to be true unless there is evidence presented to the contrary.” In terms of the law, this means the legal side, with the burden of proof (in this case the Prosecution) must present sufficient evidence of the defendant committing the crime they are charged with, that the defense cannot rebut or disprove. 

26th of May 2008. Day one of Clayton Weatherston deposition. Sophie’s mother Lesley Elliott was the first of 17 witnesses to present evidence at the committal hearing. She presented her account of what she heard on the 9th of January 2008; describing the ‘rhythmic thumping’ followed by ‘soft sighs,’ “In my mind, I thought he was raping her because of the thumping noise, which I thought was her headboard hitting the wall and the sighs were her passing out.”

Then Lesley described what she witnessed when she finally got the door open, “Sophie was lying dead, staring, and Clayton was still stabbing her. He was straddled across her legs and she had blood around her neck. The whole room to me seemed like it was red.” 

Lesley continued with her testimony, describing the ‘on-again, off-again’ couple and Clayton’s abusive relationship with her daughter; including the emotional ‘put downs’ and how that had affected Sophie’s self esteem, “He had some impotence problems. She said she blamed herself. Her words were: ‘I’m not sexy enough for him. It’s my fault’.”

Lesley described Clayton physically assaulting Sophie in December of 2007 and how Clayton had wished her dead that day, “When you were flying back from Australia I hoped the fucking plane would crash so you would be killed.”

Clayton looked disinterested with Lesley’s evidence looking calm and composed during the four hour testimony; shaking his head regularly. This ‘calm’ demeanor changed when Clayton’s ex-girlfriend Hayley took the stand; (not her real name)

In Clayton’s mind, Hayley was one of his allies in this trial. While the relationship of three years was over, Clayton and Hayley still spoke regularly in the months leading up to Sophie’s death. While awaiting trial in jail Clayton wrote to her:

I have been better and have been thinking about you. This is a rough ride and it’s not looking like getting any easier. I am in a cell (3.5m x 2.5m) most of the day getting some time for a shower and outside in a small yard. The good is pretty good. Knowing I have your support is crucial to me. I am so sorry for not seeing how great you truly are. I will talk/see you and mum and dad et al, soon as possible.

I am also sorry that such a horrible person has been glorified in the media (from what I have heard). That is our society. It will blow over. Not going to dwell on the uncontrollable but rather on staying positive. There is unfortunately way too much time here to over analyse. I have started to appreciate the small things in life already.

I am nervous about Court on Thursday and am annoyed my side will not be made public. I also expect a lot of ill will. I will focus on your continued positive energy to help me through it. Don’t know what I’ll be wearing.

You is my one, Clayt.

However, when Hayley took the stand at the deposition, she did not paint a flattering picture of Clayton Weatherston as a partner. She asserted that Clayton had a loving/generous side simultaneously with a nasty and mean side that he seldom displayed in public.

Hayley described an incident in 2006 where, while she was trying to sleep, Clayton was playing his guitar in the bedroom. She asked him multiple times to stop or play somewhere else. Eventually, Hayley placed her hand on the guitar. Clayton reacted by jumping up and down on her. When Hayley told Clayton that really hurt, he replied, “Oh well, I was just playing — at wrestling.”

Hayley described Clayton’s obsession with her previous partners sexual organs, and how he stacked up in comparison. She reluctantly told Clayton the truth. He didn’t like the answer, replying, “I can’t believe you’d tell me that, it’s such an insensitive thing to say.” During nearly all of Hayley’s testimony, Clayton watched her closely and openly wept at times.

One theory on Clayton’s impotence problems was he was addicted to pornography. During the investigation into the murder of Sophie Elliott dubbed ‘Operation Dove,’ Clayton’s work computer was searched. Detectives found he would spend hours daily accessing pornography on work time. Perhaps signs of an addiction.

One 2012 Swiss study found 30% of men between the ages of 18-24 experience problems with erectile dysfunction. Another Italian study found 25% of men under the age of 40 experienced ED. The theory of why we are seeing such high numbers of ED in young men? Excessive porn consumption. Quoting psychologist Takeesha Roland-Jenkins, “Pornography, in general, causes intense mental stimulation that changes the way the brain views sexual activity and sexual violence in pornography exaggerates the alterations in the brain. This phenomenon is similar to becoming more tolerant to a certain drug after prolonged use; meaning you eventually need higher and higher doses to experience the same feelings of euphoria. Repeatedly watching hard-core porn can have a similar effect on sexual performance. In other words, watching excessive porn changes the way the brain processes sexual arousal and activity, often leading to desensitization that lowers libido and causes psychological erectile dysfunction.”

On day two of the committal hearing Hayley continued to give evidence. She confessed when she spoke to Clayton two days before the death of Sophie Elliott, that his mental state was ‘of concern,’ “Clayton was unusual. He was irate and discussed Sophie and his job over and over and over again. I think he was quite unwell, although I had heard him speak this way on occasion. I was quite concerned about him.

Next to take the stand was Senior Economics Lecturer at the University of Otago and Clayton’s supervisor, Dr. Robert Alexander. Robert spoke of finding out about Clayton’s relationship with Sophie in July of 2007. Sophie was in Robert’s office discussing something regarding her course when Clayton knocked at the door, “I assumed he’d come to see me and said, ‘I’ll get back to you shortly’ and he left… Sophie looked at me somewhat embarrassed and said something along the lines of, ‘Well, you know what’s going on’.” Robert communicated some concern of a potential conflict of interest but Sophie assured him, “…Clayton had the matter in hand.”

From this point onwards, Sophie began to confide in Robert about some of Clayton’s abusive behaviour; criticizing her intellect and her appearance. Robert says Sophie spoke of Clayton in “quite negative terms.”

In October of 2007, Clayton approached Robert and asked him if his relationship with Sophie would affect his chances for the permanent lecturing job he had applied for at the university, “I said I couldn’t see it as a positive factor. But given his difficulties in the department to date, he had very little chance of appointment, anyway.”

Robert was referring to incidents where Clayton had accused some other members of the faculty of plagiarism. Clayton claimed to have co-written a paper with another lecturer; something they denied vehemently. The issue was taken to mediation and with no evidence to back up his claims, Clayton lost.

Then Clayton would accuse the head of department of plagiarism; claiming they stole an idea he had. Clayton wasn’t navigating the world of academia with much nuance. He didn’t have many friends at the university; especially once the circumstances of Sophie’s death eventually came out.

INJURIES

The particulars of Sophie’s injuries are difficult to hear. A pathologist at the deposition relayed that Sophie had received a total of 216 stab wounds; including 40 times in one eye and 20 in the other. A frenzied Clayton stabbed Sophie’s chest so many times he practically severed her heart in two.

Furthermore, when Clayton said to the arresting officer on the 9th of January 2008, “I used them at the end,” referring to the scissors; he was referring to mutilating Sophie’s corpse. These injuries are detailed in Lesley Elliott’s book ‘Sophie’s Legacy,’ “After she was dead, and God, how we have hoped and prayed she was dead, he defiled her by cutting off her ears and nose, a nipple from her breast and parts around her genital area. As a final indignity, he cut off some of her hair and laid it across her face. Sophie had beautiful long hair. Why he did this only he will know.”

The committal hearing lasted four days. Many more witnesses took the stand. They painted a picture of Clayton Weatherston as a controlling, abusive boyfriend, each new witness echoing the last. Jessica Smith, Sophie’s best friend, through tears, read out the last texts from her departed companion — quoting the Otago Daily Times, “Miss Elliott exchanged a series of messages with Jessica Smith around noon on January 8, saying in one she had seen Weatherston the previous day — “not on purpose,” and the meeting was “not good,” That he was “unbelievable,” Calling her “mentally deranged — riiiight.”  Miss Elliott texted Miss Smith. “I replied ‘you’re not,’ Miss Smith said, giving evidence on the third day of a murder depositions hearing…”

The meeting on the 7th of January 2008 was another violent incident between Sophie and Clayton. Sophie had visited Senior Lecturer Robert Alexander’s office to drop off a thank you gift for his help during her degree. 

On her trip she passed Clayton’s office. As she passed, Clayton called out, “Sophie, come in to my office. We need to talk.” As Sophie entered; Clayton shut the door. He gave Sophie a hug. What transpired next is detailed in Sophie’s Legacy, “Sophie began shaking and he asked her why. She just lost it and put one arm across his throat and a hand over his mouth. She screamed at him that this is what he did to her the previous week and that is why she was frightened. She told him her friends and her mother had urged her to go to the police. He pushed her roughly away and said that she had now assaulted him and he could justifiably go to the police and lay a complaint. Sophie rushed out of his office and down a flight of stairs. On the landing he shoved her hard and it was just by the grace of God she didn’t fall. Turning to Clayton, she said, ‘What did you do that for?’ to which he replied, ‘I am trying to give you my hate.’”

The depositions concluded on the 29th of May 2008. It was concluded that there was enough evidence to go to trial. Both the Crown and the defense retreated to prepare their respective cases.

PRETRIAL HEARINGS

Leading up to the trial many pretrial hearings took place. The purpose of pretrial hearings is to “clear up any issues and administrative details that can be handled prior to trial, which then frees the parties up to focus on the real legal issues of the case without the distractions.”

One pretrial hearing was to debate where the trial would take place. The defense argued that their client would not receive a fair trial in Dunedin. The argument being the city was too small and the ‘jury pool’ was already too biased against Clayton. The defence argued that a local jury would be unable to remain ‘dispassionate’ in the circumstances. Ultimately, the trial was moved to the Christchurch High Court.

Many of Clayton Weatherston’s pretrial hearings were to debate what evidence should be, and should not be included in the trial, or what evidence should be admissible or inadmissible. 

For evidence to be admissible, it must tend to prove or disprove some fact at issue in the proceeding. It must be probative evidence; probative is a legal term and is defined as, “evidence which is sufficiently useful to prove something important in a trial. However, the probative value of proposed evidence must be weighed by the trial judge against prejudicing in the minds of jurors toward the opposing party or criminal defendant.”

Much controversy surrounded Clayton’s defense counsel using Sophie’s private diary as evidence against her character and the morality of that issue. Should the defense, and by extension, the accused, be allowed access to private thoughts of their victim, then furthermore use it as evidence, which in turn becomes part of the public record? 

Sophie’s mother Lesley Elliott spoke about her perspective on the matter in her book ‘Sophie’s Legacy,’ “…one of the hardest things I’ve had to do is search through her diary trying to make sense of what happened; looking for entries that counter that man’s claims. This wasn’t easy and I couldn’t read those diary entries without a box of tissues close at hand. I’ve cried buckets over what I was reading, partly because of the content, but mainly because I felt I was prying. Sophie and I had a close and open relationship and she confided in me over many issues. Sometimes I would say, ‘Too much information, Soph!’ But her diary is private — sacrosanct in fact… I have always believed that her diary should not become public property.”

In the end, both prosecution and defence used Sophie’s diary as evidence in the trial. The trial slowly crept closer. In total there were five pretrial hearings, and two trial delays, before the date was set for the 22nd of June 2009; 18 months after the killing of Sophie Elliott.

PROVOCATION

As the trial was almost imminent, how Clayton’s defense council Judith Ablett-Kerr QC and Greg King were attempting to argue, innocence began to come into focus; provocation.  

The partial defense of provocation was developed in 16th century English courts; for at that time the mandatory punishment for murder was the death penalty. Persons in the 1500s considered it virtuous for a man of honour to respond with a degree of violence to certain forms of offensive behaviour. Killing the person was considered to be overreacting, but not disproportionately. Such overreaction was considered to be natural, human frailty. Thus, the defense of provocation was created.

Section 169 of the Crimes Act 1961 of NZ defines provocation as follows:

(1) Culpable homicide that would otherwise be murder, may be reduced to manslaughter if the person who caused the death did so under provocation.

(2) Anything done or said may be provocation if—

(a) In the circumstances of the case it was sufficient to deprive a person having the power of self-control of an ordinary person, but otherwise having the characteristics of the offender, of the power of self-control; and

(b) It did in fact deprive the offender of the power of self-control and thereby induced him to commit the act of homicide.

And furthermore, loss of ‘self-control’ is defined as in the Crimes Act as, “all offenders are held to the standard of self-control of the ordinary person. They cannot call in aid of the bad-temper or self-indulgence, all ordinary people can be tempted by and can overcome. ‘But otherwise’, if they have a characteristic which affects their self-control, because in them, the control mechanism of the ordinary person is diminished by the characteristic, then in my view the meaning of the clause permits that characteristic to be taken into account in assessing whether the provocation was ‘sufficient’ to cause loss of control.”

This is also known as ‘voluntary manslaughter’ where the offender killed in ‘the heat of passion.’ ‘Heat of passion’ is a phrase used in criminal law to describe an offenders state of mind during the offence; defined in a legal sense as, “when the accused was in an uncontrollable rage at the time of commission of the alleged crime. If so, it may reduce the charge, indictment, or judgment down from murder to manslaughter, since the passion precluded the defendant having premeditation or being fully mentally capable of knowing what he/she was doing.”

Critics of the partial defense of provocation argue that since the defense is only used in trials of murder; the victim has no ability to defend themselves; thus creating a culture of blaming the victim.

Provocation was created as a defense for men, and due to that fact it has been accused of having a gender bias in the modern day, “A sudden violent loss of self control in response to a particular triggering act is seen to be the archetypal male response to provocative conduct. Despite changes that have been made over time, this test remains very difficult for women to use.” Despite this, there have been cases of women arguing successfully that they were ‘provoked’ into killing their abusive partners.

When is provocation used successfully as a defense against murder? An Australian study found that of the 115 cases of defendants using provocation between the dates of 1990 and 2004 in New South Wales; 75 were successful. 11 of those cases were for defending themselves against “homosexual advances.” Another 11 found that the offender was justifiably ‘provoked’ to murder, when they discovered infidelity in a relationship. Three were men, ‘provoked’ to kill during a physical altercation with their partner after being attacked first. Most curious, in one case — a man was ‘provoked’ to kill by just words alone.

Clayton’s defense team was arguing that on the 9th of January 2008, Sophie attacked Clayton first with a pair of scissors; yelling, “fuck you, Clayton” as she did so. Due to the “torrid and tumultuous relationship,” and Clayton’s “unique personality make-up,” he lost ‘self control’; stabbing Sophie Elliott 216 times and mutilating her corpse.

Fig 3. ‘Sophie’ by C. Weatherston, the Provocation School.’ 23 July 2009. Ref DCDL-0011864. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Although, Clayton now claims he does not remember anything after Sophie lunged at him with the scissors. If Clayton was successful in arguing that he was ‘provoked’ into killing Sophie; it would reduce his sentence from murder to manslaughter.

TRIAL

531 days after the death of Sophie Elliott. Wednesday, 22nd of June 2009. Christchurch High Court. Day one of the trial of Clayton Weatherston for the murder of Sophie Elliott. Defence counsel Judith Ablett-Kerr QC in her opening statement, pointed at her client Clayton Weatherston, “This man is not normal.”

The defense got started right away, setting the stage for the provocation defense in their opening statement. Due to the nature of the defense, this required Clayton’s council to weave a narrative of a man being pushed to the limit before ‘snapping.’ Clayton’s defense council began painting a picture of a man at the end of his rope. A man in the crosshairs of a vindictive university, aided by one of their students, to ruin his career and life — Sophie Elliott. 

The first couple of weeks of the trial consisted of the Crown presenting their case, thus all the evidence introduced at the committal hearing was represented, this time for a jury. Lesley Elliott was forced to recall the horrific images she witnessed on the 9th of January 2009 once more.

She denied hearing Sophie yell, ‘fuck you, Clayton.’ Even claiming she had turned off the kitchen radio so she could listen in closer to the conversation, but all she heard was screaming and either the words, ‘stop it, Clayton’ or ‘don’t, Clayton,’ “The words were screamed very loudly – she sounded really frightened, scared and once she started screaming it was a pained scream.”

On Day three, Dr. Robert Alexander spoke of the last time he saw Sophie, and how she had detailed the latest account of Clayton’s abusive behaviour to him.

During the cross examination of the witness, Robert was asked about an entry dated the 5th of March 2007 in Sophie’s diary, in which she wrote of “having a crush” on him. To which Dr. Alexander replied, “That would surprise me.”

The defense argued that Robert and Clayton had “bad blood” from years of academic friction, beginning when Clayton was still a student, when Robert gave one of his dissertations an A. Together Robert, along with Sophie, were scheming to “ruin his dreams.” Robert responded that it was only Clayton’s own actions that jeopardised his future at the university.

Many of Sophie’s friends were called to testify on the ruinous relationship. One after another detailed an abusive Clayton manipulating Sophie’s emotions. One describing Sophie feeling “like a puppet.” 

More suffering for Lesley and the Elliott family was ahead. Sophie’s character was defamed as the defense port rayed her as a “mean” person. They also involved Sophie’s sexual past to portray her as a “promiscuous” girlfriend. 

CLAYTON TELLS HIS STORY

This was all set dressing for the main event on the 7th of July 2009, when Judith Ablett-Kerr QC called her client to the stand.

Clayton began weaving a narrative of an emotionally scarred child due to his extreme anxiety.

After covering in detail his ‘unique personality makeup,’ Clayton began telling the tale of his actions leading up to the killing of Sophie Elliott on the 9th of January 2009. 

By the 7th of January 2009, according to Clayton, he was ‘in overdrive.’ He was already emotionally exhausted from his ‘extreme anxiety’ around his upcoming job interview for the full time Economics lecturing position at the University of Otago.  

In the weeks leading up to the killing, Clayton was “unwell” according to his mother, “He was complaining of feeling tired all the time and had stopped his physical activity, in particular aerobics.” Clayton had also tripled his Prozac intake beginning a couple of weeks before.

He was in his office preparing for the upcoming school year when Sophie Elliott walked through the door on her way to give Dr. Robert Alexander a bottle of wine. In this version, when Sophie entered Clayton’s office, she presented him with a cheque for a window she damaged at his flat before choking him, and saying “now we’re even.”

On the 8th of January, Clayton spent most of the day complaining to friends about Sophie Elliott.

On the morning of his 32nd birthday, the 9th of January 2009, Clayton “sounded low in mood” from a restless night. That morning, Clayton swallowed three Prozac tablets and headed to work at the university.

Clayton had coffee with Sarah Forbes sometime mid morning, “Clayton talked about his family. He talked about the interview for the lecturing position. He talked about his birthday plans and how he was looking forward to that evening,.. We were going to catch up and have drinks and go to karaoke. That’s what he wanted to do with his friends.” When Sarah asked if Clayton had heard from Sophie, “He just said `no, no’ and changed the subject.”

At 11.37am, Clayton checked Sophie’s facebook page. Sometime later, Clayton began to head over to Sophie’s Ravensbourne home; only about a 10 minute drive from the campus. His laptop bag was packed with a kitchen knife, something Clayton suggested was normal for him and something he routinely travelled with.

Clayton arrived around 12.15pm, “simply to return gifts and say goodbye before she moved to Wellington the next day.”Clayton says when he asked Sophie if he should be tested for a sexually transmitted disease because she had slept with someone in Australia, she lunged at him with a pair of scissors, “It happened very quickly… I tried to block her and I remember her hitting me around the face with her other hand. My reaction to that was not good — I was very scared. I reached out and grabbed her around the neck very hard. My glasses went off to my left. I just remember a lot of noise and pushing forward into her to push her away… I have memories of a pounding movement and a lot of noise — but nothing directed at me, background stuff. The next thing I recall is standing or kneeling over her with a pair of scissors in my right hand. The scissors had gone through the front of her throat and I could feel a crunching sound, not of them going in but of meeting something hard, her spine. It’s quite vivid.” 

After five weeks of evidence being presented, on the 22nd of July 2009, both the crown and the defense rested their cases. Justice Judith Potter instructed the 11 person jury to retire and consider a verdict. 

The next day, the 23rd of July 2009, the jury returned a verdict: Guilty.

And on the 15th of September 2009 Clayton Weatherston was sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 18 years; meaning Clayton would not be eligible for parole until 2026. The sentence equated to one month for each of the 216 stab wounds.

PROVOCATION REPEAL

At sentencing, anger around the provocation defense and how it blames the victim, was reaching breaking point with the public. Heather Henare from the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges said, “In this trial, we saw the defendant on the stand and we all saw, as the jury did, that he felt justified in his actions and sought to blame his victim… Weatherston’s tactics and refusal to take responsibility for his actions were not unusual, but were a classic example of the justifications used by perpetrators of violence every day… Of course, this was a particularly horrific killing, but what was really unusual about this case was that Clayton Weatherston took the stand. The jury, and indeed the whole country, witnessed his self-righteous lack of remorse… We cannot let this go on. It is time to really invest in change. New Zealand just cannot afford the social and economic cost of domestic violence any more… As a country, we must recognise the urgency of this issue and strive for the elimination of violence towards our women, our children and our families.”

Two months later, on the 27th of November 2009, the partial defence of provocation was abolished. Justice Minister Simon Power who introduced the Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill in August earlier in the year said the provocation law was flawed, “It effectively provides a defence for lashing out in anger, not just any anger, but violent, homicidal rage… It rewards lack of self-control by enabling an intentional killing to be categorised as something other than murder.”

CONCLUSION

The legacy of Sophie Elliott has been kept alive by her family, specifically her mother Lesley Elliott. On the 6th of October 2010, the Sophie Elliott Foundation was launched; aiming to warn and educate young women of signs of an abusive relationship.

Then on the 10th of June 2011, Lesley launched the book Sophie’s Legacy — A Mother’s Story of Her Family’s Loss and Their Quest For Change; written to simultaneously present her side of the story and spread the word about the dangers of domestic abuse.

On the ten year anniversary of the death of Sophie Elliott, her mother Lesley Elliott reflected on how the pain has never really gone away, “Strangely enough I think each [anniversary] has got harder… I think it’s because, it’s a long time ago, but it’s not. It just seems like yesterday in some respects because I just remember so much of it so vividly, and yet there’s so much that I haven’t remembered… She could have been married with a family now, who knows? We’ve been denied that. I could be angry about that, but I don’t feel angry, I feel incredible sadness. My anger might come out really clearly when he gets out, if he ever does. That’s when I’ll be angry because I don’t want him to ever get out. Ever.”

When Lesley was asked if she could ever forgive the man who took her daughter from them, she replied, “The Lord’s Prayer says you should forgive. But when I went to church after Sophie died, I couldn’t say that part … The bottom line is, if I have to go to hell then so be it. That’s my payment. I don’t care. I will never give in on that… [But] I feel a bit sad about it, because I want to be with Soph.”

AFTERWORD

If you are a victim of family violence or in a relationship that makes you fearful about your own or anyone else’s safety, seek help as soon as possible. We have linked some resources in the show notes. You have the right to be safe.

SOURCES

Books
Lesley Elliott, Sophie’s Legacy — A Mother’s Story of Her Family’s Loss and Their Quest For Change, 2011

Articles
NZ Herald, A decade on: Sophie Elliott’s family remember her, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11967319
Stuff.co.nz, Inside the mind of a killer, http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/features/2672247/Inside-the-mind-of-a-killer
Stuff.co.nz, Own evidence seals fate, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/2665587/Own-evidence-seals-fate
Sensible Sentencing Trust, SOPHIE ELLIOTT – HER DAD’S STORY, https://sst.org.nz/sophie-elliott-her-dads-story/
NZ Herald, Where are they now … Lesley Elliott, murder victim Sophie’s inspirational mum, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12271174
Stuff.co.nz, Clayton Weatherston jailed for minimum 18 years, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/2866308/Clayton-Weatherston-jailed-for-minimum-18-years
Otago Daily Times, Clayton Weatherston, https://www.odt.co.nz/tag/clayton-weatherston
NZ Herald, Gruesome details of Sophie Elliott killing revealed in court, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10580426
Murderpedia, Clayton Robert WEATHERSTON, https://murderpedia.org/male.W/w/weatherston-clayton.htm
The Dominion Post, ‘May her screams haunt you’, https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/the-dominion-post/20090916/281685430884086
Wikipedia, Murder of Sophie Elliott, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Sophie_Elliott
Stuff.co.nz, Sophie Elliott killing: Weatherston ‘calm, collected’, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/2530634/Sophie-Elliott-killing-Weatherston-calm-collected
Stuff.co.nz, Appeal by killer appals Elliott family, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2961325/Appeal-by-killer-appals-Elliott-family
Otago Daily Times, Weatherston not given fair trial: lawyer, https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/weatherston-not-given-fair-trial-lawyer
NZ Herald, Weatherston to stay in jail – final appeal rejected, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10751496
NZ Herald, Unanimous ‘no’ to provocation defence, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10591799
NZ Herald, Provocation defence abolished, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10611973
NZ Herald, Murder cuts short life of brilliant student (+ photos), https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10486279
Stuff.co.nz, I killed her, Weatherston told officer at scene, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/2573362/I-killed-her-Weatherston-told-officer-at-scene
Science of People, Everything You Wanted to Know About the Science of Psychopaths, https://www.scienceofpeople.com/psychopath/
Mayo Clinic, Narcissistic personality disorder, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662
Medical News Today, What is Prozac (fluoxetine)?, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/prozac-fluoxetine-side-effects-263773
The BMJ, Antidepressants and murder: case not closed, https://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3697/rr-4
The Guardian, Young people on antidepressants more prone to violence, study finds, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/16/study-finds-young-people-on-antidepressants-more-prone-to-violence
Doc Zone, THE PSYCHOPATHY CHECKLIST, https://www.cbc.ca/doczone/m_features/the-hare-psychotherapy-checklist
Healthy Place, Famous Psychopaths You Wouldn’t Want to Run Across, https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/psychopath/famous-psychopaths-you-wouldnot-want-to-run-across
Shine, Introduction to Domestic Abuse, https://www.2shine.org.nz/resource-room/introduction-to-domestic-abuse-1
Newshub, Weatherston talks about sex life with girlfriend, https://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/weatherston-talks-about-sex-life-with-girlfriend-200907091
Thought Catalog, Narcissistic Rage: This Is What Happens When You ‘Discard’ An Abusive Narcissist First, https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2017/03/this-is-what-happens-when-you-discard-an-abusive-narcissist-first/
Psychology Today, The Destructive Force of Narcissistic Injury, https://www.psychologytoday.com/nz/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201608/the-destructive-force-narcissistic-injury
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Legal Dictionary, Heat of Passion, https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Heat+of+Passion
Wikipedia, Voluntary manslaughter, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voluntary_manslaughter
Wikipedia, Preliminary hearing, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preliminary_hearing
Wikipedia, Judiciary of New Zealand, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_of_New_Zealand
Brain Blogger, Excessive Porn Consumption Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction – Myth or Truth?, https://www.brainblogger.com/2017/10/06/excessive-porn-consumption-can-cause-erectile-dysfunction-myth-or-truth
Legal Dictionary, Probative, https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/probative
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New Zealand Law Commission, 6. Provocation, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nzlc/pp/PP41/PP41-6_.html
NZ Herald, Provocation defence abolished, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10611973
Legal Match, Evidence Is Admissible?, https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/what-is-admissible-evidence.html
New Zealand Parliament, Crimes (Abolition of Defence of Provocation) Amendment Bill 2009 (Members Bill – Lianne Dalziel), https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-digests/document/49PLLawBD17021/crimes-abolition-of-defence-of-provocation-amendment#:~:targetText=The%20defence%20of%20provocation&targetText=They%20apply%20in%20circumstances%20that,lesser%20conviction%2C%20usually%20for%20manslaughter.&targetText=However%2C%20in%20New%20Zealand%2C%20under,murder%20is%20no%20longer%20mandatory.
Courts of NZ, Glossary of general terms, https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/publications/annual-statistics/glossary-of-general-terms-used-in-courts-and-tribunals-referred-to-in-the-definitions
Wikipedia, Supreme Court of New Zealand, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_New_Zealand
Wikipedia, High Court of New Zealand, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Court_of_New_Zealand
Wikipedia, District Court of New Zealand, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_Court_of_New_Zealand
Stuff.co.nz, Clayton Weatherston jailed for minimum 18 years, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/2866308/Clayton-Weatherston-jailed-for-minimum-18-years
Otago Daily Times, Mother tells court of daughter’s screams, https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/mother-tells-court-daughters-screams

Sword and Scale, The Murder of Sophie Elliott, https://www.swordandscale.com/the-murder-of-sophie-elliott/
Stuff.co.nz, Sophie Elliott: I can’t forgive, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/5132372/Sophie-Elliott-I-can-t-forgive?fbclid=IwAR2ANl2j-kygYrWs8obpde_bc2-yk8UOxDOtsrxyKDxHz1-K953IgWN50po
NZ Herald, A decade on: Sophie Elliott’s family remember her, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11967319

Videos
Youtube, Mindbender66, https://www.youtube.com/user/Mindbender66/videos

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