14 Jul 2017

Woman jailed six years for killing boyfriend

6:04 pm on 14 July 2017

A Christchurch woman who strangled her boyfriend of seven weeks to death with a computer cable has been jailed for more than six years.

Cory James Protos

Cory James Protos was killed in April 2014. Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

Zariah Jae Samson, 25, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a charge of manslaughter over the death of 30-year-old Cory James Protos in April 2014.

That charge was downgraded from a previous one of murder.

At the High Court in Christchurch today, Justice Mander sentenced Samson to six years and three months in prison, to a minimum non-parole period of three years and three months.

Justice Mander said Samson had told the police she strangled Mr Protos after an argument about "trust issues" escalated.

"You inflicted a superficial cut to Mr Protos' neck before wrapping a computer cable three times around his neck, with which you strangled Mr Protos and caused his death, then wrapped Mr Protos in a blanket and pushed him underneath the bed."

She then sent a text to an associate, requesting cleaning products and petrol, stating she was cleaning up her mess.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Protos' father Jim said he had been living a nightmare since learning of his son's death through Facebook and he hoped Samson got help.

Samson's defence lawyer, Jonathan Eaton QC, said his client was remorseful and never meant for Mr Protos to die.

Mr Eaton said the manslaughter charge reflected the fact his client did not mean for Mr Protos to die when she wrapped a computer cord around his neck.

"She didn't mean for Cory to die, she didn't contemplate that he could die as a result of it. But of course she has to take responsibility and live with the fact that her actions led to his death."

But outside court, Mr Protos' father said his family was disgusted that the original charge of murder had been downgraded to manslaughter.

He said justice had not been served for Cory but he hoped Samson got help.

"We really do that Zariah does get her life back on track for herself, for her children and her family. This would at least shine some light on our darkness."

Mr Protos said he had been living a nightmare since his son died.

"Our lives changed forever on 28 April, 2014, when we found out while on holiday in Phuket, via Facebook comments, that our son had been brutally murdered in Christchurch. Our beautiful son is gone forever, brutally murdered, without even a chance to defend himself."