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Clayton Weatherston to be sentenced today

Tuesday 15 Sep 2009 7:16a.m.

Clayton Weatherston to be sentenced today
Clayton Weatherston will be sentenced today for the murder of Otago University student Sophie Elliott.

Miss Elliott, who had been his girlfriend, was stabbed in her Dunedin home 216 times on January 9 last year.

Weatherston, 33, an economics lecturer 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.

Within weeks, the Government had introduced a bill to Parliament that would remove the partial defence of provocation from the statute books.

Weatherston arrived at Miss Elliott's home as she was packing to leave for a job in Wellington.

The prosecution said he arrived at the house with a knife in his bag and the intention to kill and mutilate Miss Elliott. He locked her bedroom door to allow him to complete his task, they said.

Weatherston blamed "the emotional pain" Miss Elliott had caused him for his frenzied attack, and said she had attacked him first with a pair of scissors.

The jury found him guilty of murder.

Miss Elliott's mother, Lesley , who gave evidence at the trial of walking into the bedroom to see her dead daughter being stabbed, said at the weekend she thought she would be lucky if Weatherston got a non-parole period of more than 20 years.

"I want to see a life sentence mean the rest of a person's natural life -- exactly what they took from someone else."

Justice Judith Potter will sentence Weatherston in the High Court at Christchurch this morning.

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