Boyfriend strangler Zariah Samson caught drink-driving three months out of prison

A woman who strangled her boyfriend to death was caught drink-driving within three months of being released from prison, a court has heard.

Zariah Jae Samson, 28, was jailed for six years and three months over the manslaughter of 30-year-old Cory James Protos in Christchurch and served nearly the entire sentence before being granted parole, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

In June, the board allowed her release on a range of conditions which would last for six months while the mother of three adjusted to life in the community.

Among them was a curfew from 10pm-6am for the first three months and a ban from consuming alcohol and non-prescription drugs.

On September 12, Corrections were alerted to the fact Samson had left her home at 10.50pm.

Five minutes later, she was pulled over by police in Bank Rd and admitted drinking four RTDs.

She gave a breath-alcohol reading of 551mcg — more than twice the legal limit.

The May 2014 killing was allegedly sparked because Samson, then 22, believed Protos spread rumours about her.

She began a vicious assault, removed his bloodied clothing and bound his hands behind his back, before covering him with a blanket and punching and kicking him sporadically over the next four hours.

The pair later drove to Samson’s house where she allowed him to shower but the argument reignited.

She inflicted a superficial wound to Protos’ neck, and then proceeded to strangle him with a computer cord, wrapped around his neck three times.

That night, Samson texted an associate saying she was ”cleaning up my mess” and requested cleaning products and petrol.

She was originally charged with murder but eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter.

Protos’ parents Gail and Jimmy were devastated the murder charge against Samson was dropped.

Judge John Macdonald sentenced Samson yesterday, on a charge of drink-driving and two counts of breaching release conditions, to six months supervision (to begin at the end of January when her release conditions lapsed).

He disqualified her from driving for six months.

The judge declined an application by the Otago Daily Times to photograph the defendant because she had three young children.

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