Elliot's father appalled by Weatherston appeal

12:25, Oct 20 2009
APPEAL: Clayton Weatherston, whose lawyers are appealing his conviction for murder.

The father of murdered student Sophie Elliott is appalled at the prospect of an appeal for the man convicted of her murder.

Clayton Weatherston, 33, was jailed for a minimum of 18 years in September after a jury found him guilty of murdering Ms Elliott, his former girlfriend, in January 2008.

The former Otago University tutor admitted stabbing Ms Elliott 216 times, but argued he had been provoked.

He was found guilty of murder in July after a month-long trial.

His lawyers today lodged an appeal against his conviction with the Court of Appeal.

Wellington lawyer Robert Lithgow QC said he had been asked to go over the Weatherston file and provide an opinion as to which grounds could be used for an appeal.

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He told Radio New Zealand there had been a "lynch mob" mentality and media frenzy surrounding the trial.

Ms Elliott's father, Gil Elliott, said he was surprised to hear about the appeal and believed it would be a frivolous exercise.

"In terms of a fair trial, I think it was an extremely fair trial," Mr Elliott told Radio New Zealand.

"In many ways you could say what he did to Sophie wasn't fair, he was damn lucky that he got a fair trial, and it was nothing to do with a lynch mob or anything like it."

Mr Elliott said the defence had gone out of its way to ensure the trial was not tainted, including moving the trial from Dunedin to Christchurch.

"Not only did (the jury) hear lots of witnesses, but they heard him, the accused, on the stand for something like five days," he said.

"I think it would be a frivolous appeal and I would be very surprised if the Appeal Court accepted it."

Earlier this month, Weatherston's sister Angela Muir said her brother would not appeal his sentence.

A spokeswoman at the Court of Appeal in Wellington confirmed the appeal was lodged today.

NZPA