Sophie Elliott's mother Lesley dies after a long battle with Parkinson's

The mother of Sophie Elliott, the Otago University student who was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend Clayton Weatherston, has died. 

Lesley Elliott passed away on Sunday aged 76 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Lesley had been a tireless campaigner against violence towards women since the death of her daughter 14 years ago. 

Weatherston was a lecturer at Otago University and had a relationship with 22-year-old Sophie, which had ended by the time he stabbed her to death. 

He went to Sophie's house on January 9, 2008, as Sophie was packing to take up a job at the Treasury in Wellington. 

Lesley let him in after he said he had something to give her daughter. She told Newshub in 2019 she didn't like him much.  

Lesley heard loud noises from her daughter's room and went to check on her. She struggled to open her door and when she did, she saw Sophie lying on the floor covered in blood. 

Lesley tried to help her daughter, but Weatherston closed the door. 

Weatherston was found guilty of Sophie's murder after a highly publicised trial in 2009 where the grim details of the attack were revealed. 

Pathologist Martin Sage told the court in 2009 there were 216 stab wounds at 11 sites on Sophie's body.

Her body was found on top of an open suitcase she'd been packing for her move to Wellington. 

Weatherston admitted to stabbing Sophie, but his defence was she provoked him into losing control and killing her.

He was jailed for 18 years after being found guilty of murder.  

Lesley said she didn't uncover the string of abuse Weatherston subjected her daughter to until after her death, and so set up the Sophie Elliott Foundation with another abuse survivor, Kirsten Dunne. 

The foundation set about raising awareness around domestic violence, particularly the warning signs. 

It was also instrumental in developing the Loves Me Not programme in schools, which teaches students about healthy relationships. 

Elliott co-wrote two books on domestic violence, Sophie's Legacy and Loves Me Not - How to keep Relationships Safe. 

In 2011 she was awarded the NEXT Magazine Woman of the Year Award and in 2014 was named the supreme winner at the Woman of Influence Awards.  

She was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015.

The Sophie Elliot Foundation was wound down in 2019 after becoming too much for Lesley to run. 

She was battling Parkinson's disease and told Newshub at the time she had wanted to share Sophie's story and felt she had achieved that.