I killed her, Weatherston told officer at scene

BY JOHN HARTEVELT
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2009

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"I killed her," Clayton Weatherston said as he stood over Sophie Elliott's bloodied body, a jury has been told.

The High Court in Christchurch heard yesterday that Weatherston admitted stabbing his former girlfriend with a knife, and using scissors "at the end".

Constable John Cunningham was the first officer at the scene on January 9 last year after Elliott was killed in the bedroom of her Dunedin home.

Weatherston admits manslaughter but denies murder, saying he was provoked.

On the 10th day of Weatherston's trial yesterday, Cunningham said Elliott's mother, Lesley, had told him her daughter was dead. He said he went upstairs to Elliott's bedroom. The door was locked, and he told to the person inside that he would kick it in.

"I then heard the door being unlocked, so I opened the door and stepped into a small bedroom," he said. "I saw in front of me, to my left on the floor of the bedroom, a young Caucasian female covered in blood around her neck and upper torso. I then saw a male standing at the end of the bed next to the body.

"I said to this person, `What have you done?' To which he replied, ' I killed her'."

Cunningham said Weatherston was calm and reserved.

"It appeared that he was not shaking or similar ... he was in a normal state ... in control of himself. He was just standing with his hands by his sides."

Cunningham said Weatherston immediately complied when directed to lie face-down on the floor.

"I then asked him, `Why did you kill her?' He replied, `The emotional pain she has caused me over the past year'."

Cunningham asked Weatherston what he had killed her with, and he said a knife.

He asked where the knife was, and Weatherston had replied: "Probably under her."

He asked Weatherston about a pair of scissors he found between Elliott's legs.

"He replied, `I used them at the end'," Cunningham said.

Outside the house, Cunningham asked Weatherston whose blood was smeared over his arms, legs and face.

Weatherston had replied: "A little bit mine, mostly hers."

Asked who he had killed, Weatherston had said: "It is Sophie Kate Elliott. Eleventh of June, 1985."

Weatherston had two scratches to the left side of his neck, Cunningham said.

Detective John MacDade gave evidence on Weatherston's demeanour on the day Elliott was killed. He said Weatherston was "lucid, coherent, calm and not agitated".

The 11-person jury was shown a video of a police interview with Weatherston. In it, he said: "I have no trouble being honest, [but] I'm not sure if I should have a lawyer here."

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With a lawyer present, he declined to answer the allegation he had killed Elliott.

In evidence read to the court, psychiatrist Dr Jubilee Rajiah said she assessed Weatherston on January 9 last year. She believed he was a high risk of suicide and recommended that he be placed under constant observation while in custody.

- The Press

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