Gil Elliot, the father of Sophie who was murdered by Clayton Weatherston, wants changes to the law to allow greater freedom of expression for people giving victim impact statements.
The statement he delivered to the court before Clayotn Weatherston was sentenced was heavily censored and he is justifiably angry about that.
There is something wrong with a justice system which allows an accused person to besmirch his victim’s reputation but censors her father’s victim impact statement.
The Bereaved parents Club is one no-one chooses to join.
The death of a child is against the normal order of things. Coping with that is difficult enough when it is the result of an illness and no-one is to blame, as was the case with our sons. Dealing with the death of a loved daughter, sister and friend when it is the result of murder must be so much harder.
I was overseas when Clayton Weatherston was tried. I deliberately avoided the court reports yet still picked up enough of the awful details to sicken me from online news and blogs.
My heart went out to Sophie Elliot’s mother, father, family and friends, as the pain of her murder was compounded by having to listen to the dreadful details of her death and hear the man accused of murdering her besmirch her memory.
Clayton Weatherston was found guilty of her murder and has now been sentenced to life imprisonment with an 18 year non-parole term.
Those who loved Sophie have their own life sentence. They have lost not just what they had with her and what she meant to them, but the hopes and dreams they had for her future as well.
The sentencing will be the end of one chapter of their grief but not the end of their grieving.
May they have the love they need to heal; the knowledge that, in time, it is possible to be happy again; and may they have peace.