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Weatherston Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter, As Murder Trial Opens

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Christchurch, June 24 NZPA - Clayton Robert Weatherston pleaded "not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter" at the start of his trial for the murder of Sophie Elliott, in the High Court at Christchurch today.

Weatherson, 33, is accused of stabbing his 21-year-old girlfriend 216 times in an attack at her Dunedin home on January 9 last year.

The trial was due to begin on Monday but was delayed for two days by legal arguments in closed court.

Weatherston was a tutor at Otago University, where Miss Elliott had just finished an honours degree in economics at the time of her death.

Weatherston appeared in court dressed in a black suit, and tie, for his arraignment as the three-week trial began before Justice Judith Potter.

Before jury selection began, Justice Potter told panel members that they must put out of their minds any pre-trial publicity about the case.

She said if they had contributed anything about the case to any internet blog sites, they should also stand aside.

It meant they would not be able to bring independence and objectivity to the case.

The Crown was expected to call about 30 witnesses in support of its case that Weatherston was guilty of murdering Miss Elliott.

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