New Zealand teen sentenced for murder of Scottish tourist

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A New Zealand teenager will spend at least 12-and-a-half years in prison for murdering a Scottish woman with a baseball bat last year.

Karen Aim, 26, from the Orkney Islands, was vacationing in the North Island lakeside town of Taupo in January 2008 when she was attacked. Police found her lying in a pool of blood on a street corner close to her apartment.

Jahche Broughton, who was 14 at the time of the crime and is now 15, pleaded guilty last month to killing Aim, whose apartment was near his home. Local media reports said he was attempting to obtain money to buy drugs.

He was sentenced to life in prison, which in New Zealand typically means serving at least 10 years in jail. Justice Graham Lang said the crime was serious, but that he took into account Broughton's age and guilty plea in sentencing him to a minimum of 12-and-a-half years in prison and then release on lifetime parole, which can be revoked should Broughton re-offend. When he is finished serving the minimum sentence, Broughton will have to appear before a parole board, which could decide not to release him.

The sentence will be served concurrently with a six-year term for a separate attack on another young woman who suffered serious head and brain injuries.

Broughton sat expressionless during sentencing at Rotorua High Court.

Broughton contends that he was present during the attack but that someone else was "mainly responsible" for the killing, according to Broughton's lawyer, Chris Wilkinson-Smith. But the judge said there was "never a shred of evidence" to indicate that anyone else was involved.

Lang told Broughton his crime impacted not only the victims' families and friends but also badly affected Taupo and New Zealand's reputation as a safe tourist destination.

Brian Aim, the victim's father, said following the sentencing that justice had been done and he held no grudges.

"He has taken away Karen's life, but he has also destroyed his own," Aim said. "If I go down the road of anger and revenge that would only destroy my life."

In New Zealand, youths age 14 or over can be held responsible on criminal charges.