Jahche Broughton. File photo / NZPA
A coroner has questioned how the 14-year-old killer of a
Scottish tourist was allowed to roam the streets of Taupo after
midnight with a baseball bat before the murder.
Jahche Broughton used the bat to fracture Karen Aim's skull
in the early hours of January 17, 2008.
The 27-year-old Orkney woman, who had fallen in love with New
Zealand and worked in a local glass shop, was walking home
after a night out in town when she was killed.
In March 2009, Broughton became the youngest person in New
Zealand to be sentenced to life imprisonment.
He will not be eligible for parole until 2021.
Yesterday, Taupo coroner Wallace Bain said the case raised
the issue of "what a 14-year-old boy is doing out on the
streets of Taupo in the small hours of the morning with
alcohol and predisposed, it seems, to such violent
He questioned how this could happen and whether there were
any previous signs in Broughton's behaviour.
"It raises the standard question of supervision and whether
there should be any criminal or other responsibility for
those who were supposed to be supervising him."
Broughton was living at his maternal grandparents' home, with
his mother, aunt and uncle, at the time of the murder. He had
previously been placed with a foster family, but returned
after a few months.
Broughton had viciously attacked another woman in similar
circumstances less than two weeks before he killed Ms Aim.
Just after 2.30am on January 5, he struck 17-year-old trainee
chef Zara Schofield on the head with a rock and continued to
bash her repeatedly as she lay helpless on the ground.
On January 17, he was smashing windows at Taupo Nui-a-Tia
College with the baseball bat when Ms Aim walked past.
In sentencing Broughton, Justice Graham Lang said he must
have seen her, followed her on his bike and killed her on the
street corner 50m from her home where her body was found.
Broughton's mother, Eugenie, could not be contacted yesterday
but earlier she told the Herald there had been signs.
"I don't want to blame it solely on alcohol or drugs because
there's also a behaviour that leads to those sorts of
actions. I could say that it's hormone-related. It's a whole
lot of things, really.
"It's society, it's our lifestyle. I don't know, I think
maybe I spoilt him too much ... Because all he ever got was
love and support - still does."
Detective Sergeant Anthony Manunui, who was second in charge
of the murder inquiry, said Broughton had been in trouble for
minor offences, but there was nothing to suggest he would
commit such serious crimes.
Karen Aim's father, Brian, earlier told the Herald he had
read the report, which Dr Bain sent him.
"I just agree with the report fully."
Parents cannot be held legally responsible for their
children's crimes but some police officers and school leaders
have suggested the law should be changed.
In February, Whangarei police commander Paul Dimery called
for the parents of a youth gang to be held legally
In March, Secondary Schools Association president Patrick
Walsh said parents should be held responsible for their