Donna Travers, the mother of a 16-year-old boy killed in a "rampage of violence" by man who appeared on The X Factor last night, has lashed out at the show's producers.

TV3 today defended putting convicted killer Shae Brider on the show, saying he had "paid his debt to society" and deserved a second chance.

However, Ms Travers, whose son, Jeremy Frew, was killed by Brider and four others in Wanganui in 2004, told the Herald that Brider's appearance had left her feeling "devastated".

In last night's episode, producers aired a special back story segment in which Brider recalled his troubled past.


"I met some dudes and we went to a bonfire," he said. "There was a commotion with two of them and one of them stabbed the other one and he ended up passing away."

Shae Brider (left) waits in line to audition for the X Factor.
Shae Brider (left) waits in line to audition for the X Factor.

Brider admitted he served time in prison but no further context was given to the story.

Ms Travers said: "What really got to us the most was that he said Jeremy was his friend, that was the worst thing that guy could have said. My son was scared of him and his mates and he said it on the day he was killed.

"Shae Brider lied. It's not the fact he's on X Factor, he can do whatever he likes, it's that they should have checked all the facts of what he said."

She called on TV3 chiefs to apologise on air for the distress they had caused her and her family.

"I want a national apology, not on Facebook or in the newspaper, but a national apology on the television saying they should have got their facts right.

"It's devastating for us, it revictimises us. My sister and my daughter were watching it and they had no idea it was going to be on."

Ms Travers also told Fairfax Media: "He has used my son's death to get sympathy votes, and he hasn't told the truth."


Brider, who was found guilty of manslaughter over Jeremy Frew's death and sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail, won a place in the second round of show after singing a reggae version of Eminem's The Real Slim Shady.

In a statement released on Facebook, TV3 said this afternoon that Brider disclosed his criminal record when he entered The X Factor and as a standard part of the process a police check was carried out.

"It was important to include this part of Shae's background in last night's episode, and as is the case with all contestants, this was done in his own words.

"The X Factor NZ acknowledges the impact Shae's past actions have had on his victims, and apologises for any distress that has been caused by last night's episode. That was not our intention.

"However, it is important to note the NZ Justice system judges Shae has paid his debt to society, and now has a second chance to make a positive contribution."

Shae Brider in the X Factor. Photo / still from video
Shae Brider in the X Factor. Photo / still from video

Duncan Greive, of The Spinoff, wrote: "Brider framed the incident as though it were a miscarriage of justice, that his mere proximity to those tragic events were enough to get him jailed for six years. That would be a cool X Factor story - a triumph of a man done wrong by life and by the justice system given another shot by the power of song."

But court documents reveal a different story.

"You were simply looking for people that you could assault," said Justice Miller at sentencing.

Brider successfully appealed his original conviction before a retrial found him guilty again, and saw him sentenced to a longer prison term.

At the time, Ms Travers spoke out saying she felt re-victimised by the second trial. She said her son's killers had never shown any remorse.

During last night's X Factor Brider won over the all four judges with his performance of The Real Slim Shady.

Brider's performance was well received, with Willy Moon saying he "found himself smiling".

Fellow judge Natalia Kills said she previously hated reggae music, but that Brider had changed her mind.

As he left the stage, the judges discussed how "likeable and natural" Brider was.

Brider said he was "rapt" with the outcome.