Weatherston was 'provoked' - parents

Convicted murderer Clayton Weatherston should spend the rest of his days behind bars, say his victim's family, but his parents maintain he was provoked into killing his ex-girlfriend.

Weatherston, 33, was found guilty in the High Court at Christchurch last week of murdering Sophie Elliott by stabbing her 216 times in January last year.

Miss Elliott was an economics student at Otago University when she met Weatherston, who tutored her in the subject, two years ago.

Weatherston admitted the killing, but said he was guilty of manslaughter, not murder, attempting to use the partial defence of provocation.

He blamed "the emotional pain that she has caused me over the past year", and said she had attacked him with a pair of scissors.

His parents Yuleen and Roger haven't ruled out an appeal against his conviction, telling the Herald on Sunday there were "untruths" that needed correction.

"Clayton is an extremely honest and sensitive person and I am not just making it up," his mother said.

"He is honest, he tells the truth and we tell the truth. This is why this has been so hard."

Mr and Mrs Weatherston acknowledged their son was unpopular but believed he was provoked by Miss Elliott.

"The use of provocation as a defence is a legitimate legal thing to do," Mr Weatherston said.

"I think provocation was the only thing left to defend him with."

However, Mrs Elliott told the Herald on Sunday she believed her daughter's killer should live out the rest of his days behind bars.

"He took the most precious thing from us, that was our daughter and sister. . .

"For that I think he needs his life to be taken. I don't mean capital punishment. My thoughts are that he should lose his freedom for the rest of his living life."

Weatherston was remanded in custody for sentencing in Christchurch on September 15.

After one day in Christchurch Men's Prison, rumours spread that a bounty had been put on his head, before Weatherston was segregated from other prisoners for his own safety.

Beven Hanlon, who heads prison guards' union the Corrections Association, said Weatherston would "probably" be attacked in prison even thought he would not be among the general prison population because of his high profile.

Meanwhile, Otago University has said it would review its staff-student relationships policy following the case.

The university required supervisors to disclose any conflicts of interest – including family, financial and sexual relationships with a student or colleague – to their supervisor.

Weatherston had declared the relationship to Otago professor Philip Dorian Owen and the university put measures in place to prevent a conflict of interest.

Giving evidence during the trial, Prof Owen said his "immediate reaction was that the relationship was not a good idea".

A university spokesperson told the Sunday Star-Times its policy was reviewed periodically "and will be reviewed again in light of the case".

- NZPA