A University of Otago economics lecturer appeared in front of a packed Dunedin District Court for less than a minute yesterday, charged with murdering his former student and girlfriend, Sophie Elliott, nine days ago.
Clayton Robert Weatherston, 32, did not speak before Judge Mary O'Dwyer, who remanded him to reappear on February 21.
Weatherston is alleged to have murdered Miss Elliott, 22, in her family home at Ravensbourne on January 9. Police say Miss Elliott received multiple injuries with a sharp instrument during a violent attack.
Miss Elliott's mother, Lesley, was in the house at the time and rang 111. Yesterday, when Weatherston stood in the dock, she remained standing as the rest of the crowd sat down.
Weatherston did not look at her or anyone else in the public gallery, as his lawyer, Len Andersen, successfully sought an adjournment.
Mrs Elliott was comforted by husband Gil and son Chris as they sat in the front row of the public area. Family and supporters occupied the remaining wooden benches.
Outside the court Mrs Elliott broke down and was encircled by supporters.
Weatherston's family left quickly when the case was adjourned.
The accused showed no emotion but winked briefly at someone in the courtroom.
Approached after the court appearance, Mr Elliott confirmed Weatherston lectured his daughter during her time at the university.
He said the pair had been seeing each other for no more than five months. The relationship ended about a week before his daughter was killed, he said.
Weatherston taught a third-year economics class at the university. He graduated from Otago with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 2000 and completed a post-graduate diploma in commerce, with distinction, in 2004. On December 15 last year he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Before that, he worked as a policy analyst in the education team at the New Zealand Treasury.
Miss Elliott recently completed a first-class honours degree in economics and was meant to start a job at the Treasury this week.
The department of economics website says Weatherston's interests include development economics and economics of sport.
He is a member of the Building Research Capability in the Social Sciences Research College, and a New Zealand Association of Economists member.
He had co-written three recently published papers, including one titled Professionalism and competitive balance in New Zealand Rugby Union.
Mr Andersen told Judge O'Dwyer the five-week adjournment was sought after consultation with police. Weatherston would be remanded in custody by consent.
Weatherston was granted interim name suppression at his first appearance on the charge on January 10. There was no application for that to continue.
- OTAGO DAILY TIMES