27 Mar 2009

Teen jailed for life for killing Scottish tourist

5:34 am on 27 March 2009

The teenager who murdered Scottish tourist Karen Aim in Taupo last year is facing at least 12 and a half years in jail.

Jahche Broughton, 15, was sentenced to life with a non-parole period of 12 and a half years when he appeared in the Rotorua High Court on Thursday.

He was also jailed for six years for an attack on another woman in Taupo, 12 days before he killed Ms Aim. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Ms Aim, 27, who was in Taupo on a working holiday, was walking home after a night out with friends in January last year when she was attacked by Broughton. She was hit three times in the head with a baseball bat, suffering severe injuries. She died a short time later in hospital.

Broughton, who was 14 at the time of the attack, initially tried to blame the killing on a friend who was a Mongrel Mob gang prospect. In February, he pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Aim.

However, the court heard on Thursday that, although Broughton accepted he would be jailed for life, he maintained that someone else killed Ms Aim and he was only an accessory.

Justice Lang dismissed this, saying Broughton was the person responsible for her death and the evidence against him was overwhelming.

He told Broughton it was clear that Karen Aim was a vibrant young woman who enriched and enlivened the lives of those around her. "She had a future, she was writing a book and planned to go into business with her brother Alan. You took all of those things away, Mr Broughton, when you stopped her life."

Justice Lang told Broughton he had done great damage - not just to the victims, but also to their families and the wider community. He said the attack on a guest in this country had implications on New Zealand's reputation overseas.

Father tells of emotional strain

Ms Aim's father, Brian, told the court he was looking forward to one day walking his daughter down the aisle in her wedding dress. But instead, he walked down the aisle with her coffin.

He told the judge of the emotional strain his family has been under and how, in a moment of madness, his daughter was wiped off the face of the earth.

Outside court, Mr Aim said he would have liked to have asked Broughton why he did it and said he thought the non-parole period would be longer.

"Murder is a thing that I can't understand. Why? If it was for money for drugs, I can't see that he would think that Karen would have a vast amount of money on her. That is is difficult to believe, but then what other reason could there be?"

Justice Lang told Broughton not to take the sentence lightly, as it would be with him for the rest of his life. "You will only be released when the Parole Board believes that it is safe to release you. If and when you are released, you will be on life parole."

The judge took off three and a half years from the non-parole period to take into account Broughton's age and guilty plea.

Broughton's lawyer, Chris Wilkinson-Smith, says if his client had shown more remorse, he probably would have been given a more lenient sentence.