Guilty verdict follows trial

    Trinette and Tony Wilton hold their granddaughter Kiara Wilson (20 months), who has the same eyes and attitude as her mother.
    The family of Azalia Wilson (at front right, baby Kiara, sister Crystal, mother Trinette and stepfather Tony Wilton) were pleased with the verdict after the four-week trial.

    ‘‘SHE didn’t die for nothing.’’

    Those were the words of Trinette Wilton, mother of murder victim Azalia Wilson, after a jury found Samuel Moses Samson (32) guilty in the High Court at Invercargill on Tuesday.

    After about one and a-half hours of deliberation, a jury returned its unanimous verdict, following the death of Miss Wilson at the Bavarian Motel in Invercargill on November 17, 2019. She died of blunt force injuries after what the Crown claimed was a jealous rage.

    Samson will be sentenced on June 3.

    Stepfather Tony Wilton, who raised Azalia from when she was 18 months, said he was expecting the worst after a short deliberation from the jury.

    “We don’t have to use any more thoughts on him because he is just going to rot wherever they send him.”

    Mrs Wilton found strength in the love of her daughter to both cope with the loss and the “draining and painful” nearly four-week trial.

    “She would do the same for me.”

    Murder victim Azalia Wilson. Photo: Wider View Photography

    She wants the nightmare she has been through to help other women get out of violent relationships.

    “I hope somewhere, somehow, some girl has been following the story and leaves and runs for their lives. That’s all I hope.”

    Azalia’s younger sister, Crystal Wilton, agreed.

    “All we wanted to do, since the day Azalia passed away, was to help people and to not have this happening with anybody else.”

    When she heard the rumours about the killing of her daughter by Samson, Mrs Wilton said she held on to hope but she knew the worst could have happened.

    “Your soul falls apart. I don’t know how to explain it – half of my soul died.”

    “I think it always was going to happen. It might not have been her, but would be someone,” Mrs Wilton said.

    “She [Azalia] was the unlucky one,” Mr Wilton added.

    Azalia was a person “full of life” and with a strong personality, the family said.

    They knew Azalia and Samson had a troubled relationship but they did not want to push too hard so as not to drive her away.

    “Azalia wouldn’t say anything to anybody,” Mr Wilton said.

    Mrs Wilton tried to keep her safe.

    “I always told her that our home was safe. She would never get hurt at home. I told her I loved her every day,” Mrs Wilton said.

    The family choose not to speak the name of the killer.

    Mr Wilton said the whole thing made him an angry person.

    “I miss Azalia with all my heart but I’m just angry. I’m angry she has been taken away from Kiara. She was never given a chance — Azalia was going to be a good mum.’’

    When Miss Wilson was killed, Kiara was only 3 months old.

    It was impossible to not remember Azalia when they looked at their 20-month-old grandchild, Mr Wilton said.

    She had the same ‘‘attitude’’ and eyes as her mother — and the family would honour Azalia’s memory.

    “That is the only thing we can do. Make sure she knows everything about her mother,’’ Mrs Wilton said.

    After the gruelling trial, the family’s focus would be only on Kiara’s wellbeing, she said.

    “I want to her be happy, secure and confident. She will know the truth when she is old enough to understand.

    “But I just want her to reach out and do everything she and her mother wanted her to do.”