25 Jun 2009

Mother describes watching daughter being stabbed

8:29 pm on 25 June 2009

The mother of a slain woman has given a harrowing account of her daughter's final minutes, telling a High Court jury she watched her being stabbed.

Former Otago University tutor Clayton Weatherston has pleaded not guilty to murdering his ex-girlfriend and student Sophie Elliott in Dunedin in January 2008.

Mr Weatherston, 33, has admitted a charge of manslaughter at the High Court in Christchurch.

The defence says he was provoked by Miss Elliott attacking him with scissors and by their tumultuous relationship.

On Thursday, Lesley Elliott told the jury she heard Mr Weatherston attacking her 22-year-old daughter in her bedroom, saying she heard her scream: "Don't Clayton" or "Stop it Clayton".

Mrs Elliott said she raced upstairs to find the door locked and returned with a meat skewer to open it.

The court was told when she entered the room, she saw Mr Weatherston stabbing her bloodied and already dead daughter.

She said Mr Weatherston then leaned over and shut the door in her face.

Miss Elliott suffered 216 stab or cutting wounds in the attack.

Earlier on Thursday, Mrs Elliot said her daughter visited Mr Weatherston at his home about two weeks before she died to give him a Christmas present.

She testified that when her daughter said their relationship was over Mr Weatherston threw her on the bed, putting his arm across her neck and his hand over her mouth.

Mrs Elliott said her daughter managed to leave the house, but did not go to the police because she was leaving Dunedin to take up a job in Wellington.