Appeal rejected for Azalia Wilson's murderer

By Contributor

Azalia Wilson was 22 when she was murdered. Photo / ODT

By Hazel Osborne, Open Justice multimedia journalist, Pōneke

Murderer Samuel Samson will continue to serve his near two-decades prison sentence without parole after his sentence appeal was declined.

Samson was found guilty last year for the murder of young Invercargill mum Azalia Wilson and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 17-year minimum non-parole jail term.

He took his case to the Court of Appeal earlier this month in an attempt to reduce his prison sentence, claiming complex PTSD and a disadvantaged upbringing was not taken into consideration at his sentencing.

The court's decision, released today, denied Samson's bid to reduce his sentence and said the 17 years still stood as a sufficient prison term for a "particularly callous and brutal murder".

The court accepted Samson's "truly dreadful upbringing" helped to explain his offending.

However, there was no doubt he went to the motel that night with the intention of brutally murdering Wilson, who was his partner, the decision said.

Samson's lack of control over his anger and impulse was acknowledged, but there was no evidence of any significant intellectual impairment or inability to understand his offending.

"In short, there is no real evidence to support the conclusion that Mr Samson had diminished responsibility."

Samson killed Wilson in a motel room in Invercargill on November 15, 2019, while their baby was in the room.

Wilson had arranged for the three to spend a weekend together, but that night Samson went out drinking while she and their daughter stayed at the motel.

Returning home from his night out just before 2am Samson, who was in an "agitated state" told his taxi driver that he could expect to see him in the news.

He then brutally murdered the young mum and an hour later sent messages to a Facebook friend with images of her fatal injuries that left her unrecognisable.

They were extensive and graphic, and included fractures to her skull and jaw, extensive subdural haemorrhages, bruising all over her body and multiple stab wounds.

He stomped on her torso so badly he left a boot print.

Samson sent further derogatory messages to an associate, accusing them of an affair.

He then got rid of items, including a knife, a singlet that had been worn by Wilson, and their child's bassinet, before leaving her body in the motel room where she was discovered later that morning.

He turned himself in to the police four days later but denied committing the murder, a position he held until his case was heard at the court of appeal this month.

Pre-sentence reports were commissioned for Samson, but he refused to talk about the offending, or the lead up to the offending, with the probation officer because he wanted to appeal his conviction.

The decision today said Samson had a violent and traumatic upbringing, including witnessing the violent stabbing of his mother when he was a child.

His diagnosis of complex post traumatic stress disorder from his past was one of the reasons cited by his lawyer Nicolette Levy QC for a reduction in his sentence.

At the appeal it was said Samson has no recollection of the evening, claiming a form of "amnesia".

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - DO YOU NEED HELP?

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz