Father's grief after boy admits New Zealand murder

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The Independent Online

The father of a British backpacker who was brutally murdered in New Zealand spoke of his relief today after a teenager admitted her killing.

Jahche Te Manawa Kaha Broughton, 15, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Auckland yesterday to killing Karen Aim, from Orkney.

Her parents Brian and Peggy travelled to New Zealand for the court proceedings.

After the hearing, Mr Aim said: "He will never know what he has taken away from us, but we are pleased the boy decided to plead guilty.

"When on the 17th of January last year two policeman came to our door at 4.30 in the morning to tell me Karen had been killed, I just felt a section of my life drain out of me.

"We were prepared to hear anything in court because there is nothing that can have a bigger effect on you than being told your daughter has been murdered."

Ms Aim, 26, died from head injuries after being attacked with a baseball bat in the resort of Taupo, following a night out, on 17 January last year.

With no eye witnesses to Ms Aim's murder, her father also praised the role of the police in bringing him to justice and insisted he had not been put off the country.

"We are in New Zealand to find out as much as we can about what happened to Karen, especially in the half hour when she came out of the filling station to the point she was found on the street," said Mr Aim.

"The big question for me is had she been chased for a number of minutes and been terrified, or had she never known the incident had happened?

"The police don't know for certain, but they think she may only have known what was going on for five seconds, which is a short time.

"They also walked me through the streets they think she took that night, and that has helped me get a clearer picture."

Mr Aim, who first visited Taupo 40 years ago, said he had met a number of his daughter's friends and now had more of an insight into the life she was leading.

"She was having the time of her life, she was absolutely in her glory, enjoying her job, her friends and doing a lot of sports.

"Taupo is a wonderful place, very friendly, a great place for young people, and we certainly plan to return."

He added that he would be attending a ceilidh organised by Ms Aim's friends later this month, as well as meeting various other people who knew her.

Ms Aim was found lying semi-conscious in the street with serious head injuries in the early hours and died soon afterwards in hospital.

Court officials in Auckland confirmed Broughton pleaded guilty to the murder charge.

He will be sentenced on 6 March at the High Court in Rotorua.

Broughton, who was 14 at the time, also pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to a separate attack on a 17-year-old girl in Taupo 12 days earlier.

He was remanded in custody for sentencing.

Mr Aim said the family intended to stay on for the sentencing.

Broughton was initially arrested in connection with a different attack but it was only two months later police got the breakthrough they needed to charge him with Miss Aim's murder.

Broughton had been committed for trial following a hearing at Taupo Youth Court in September.

The court heard a police search of his home uncovered a camera similar to Miss Aim's, along with a black handbag in an incinerator and a baseball bat with blood and glass embedded in it under the house.

Broughton told police he spent the night of 16 January last year at home with his grandparents.

The young woman's death rocked her home community of Orkney and hundreds gathered for her funeral on the island.

She had been on her second visit to New Zealand after a three-month stay in 2006 and was working at a glass-blowing gallery in the resort town.