A woman who assaulted her partner for several hours before fatally strangling him with a computer cord - then pushing his lifeless body under a bed - has been jailed for six years and three months.

Zariah Samson, 25, had pleaded guilty to the 2014 manslaughter of Cory Protos in the High Court at Christchurch on Tuesday.

They had been a couple for just seven weeks when the 30-year-old died.

Samson - a mother of three children from a previous relationship - had accused Protos of spreading rumours about her, and bashed him at a friend's Christchurch central home.


While under the influence of methamphetamine, she removed his clothes and bound his hands and the beating continued on and off for four hours.

Fearing Samson may kill Protos, an occupant of the home told her to leave.

She dressed Protos and guided him to his car and put him in the passenger seat before driving him to her home in Bryndwr, where an argument ensued. Samson wrapped a computer cord three times around his neck, strangling him.

Zariah Samson, 30, was sentenced to six years and three months jail today for the 2014 manslaughter of Cory Protos (pictured), whom she had accused of spreading rumours about her. Photo / NZ Police
Zariah Samson, 30, was sentenced to six years and three months jail today for the 2014 manslaughter of Cory Protos (pictured), whom she had accused of spreading rumours about her. Photo / NZ Police

She then wrapped him in a blanket and pushed him underneath a bed.

Samson sent a text message to an associate stating that she was "cleaning up your mess"
and requested cleaning products and petrol.

Samson blew a kiss to family members as she was led out of court today.

Justice Cameron Mander ordered that Samson should serve a non-parole period of three years and three months - which Samson has already served since her arrest for the manslaughter on April 27 2014.

The Parole Board will decide when she can be freed.


Protos' family are appalled at the sentence, saying they are the ones now serving a life sentence.

Gail and Jimmy Protos had learnt about their son's death via Facebook while they were on an overseas holiday.

They are distraught that the original murder charge was downgraded to manslaughter.

The case took a long time to be heard in court after two earlier trial dates had been abandoned.

"Our beautiful son is gone forever... without even a chance to defend himself," Jimmy Protos said outside court after the sentencing.

"We have come out of court here today with a life sentence of nightmares, pain and grief.

"We are disgusted with the justice system because our son never got any in that court room today.

"The justice system needs a major revamp because this is so wrong. What about getting rights back for victims?"

Their son was a talented sportsman and artist.

"Our son was not a bad person, loved his family, loved his friends and life," Jimmy said.

"He was loyal and always there to help a friend out in need, often putting his friends before himself."

Gail Protos was especially angry that Samson had taken so long to plead guilty.

However the parents said they still hoped Samson would be able to turn her life around.

The court heard that Samson had had a turbulent upbringing, being raised in a gang family and exposed to drugs and sexual abuse.

Her mother committed suicide when she was 14.

She offended as a teenager and by the age of 19 was admitted to a mental health facility with drug and alcohol abuse issues, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"At the age of 22 years you had three children aged under three," Justice Mander said.

"It was around the time that those children were taken to the North Island by their father that you commenced your relationship with Mr Protos."

Samson's fatal argument with Protos was in relation to "trust issues" .

Defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton QC said Samson had three children but they were taken away by their father and she had turned to drug use.

Samson had not intended to kill Protos by strangling him, the lawyer said.