The man who murdered Scottish backpacker Karen Aim may be granted parole next week - and a woman he attacked shortly before, bashing her around the head repeatedly with a rock, has spoken out about her hopes for the violent killer if he is freed.

In January 2008 Jahche Broughton - then just 14 - battered Karen Aim to death with a baseball bat as she visited Taupō on a trip around New Zealand.

Aim, 26, left a party in the early hours of the morning to walk to her accommodation.

Broughton was at a local school smashing windows with the bat when he saw the Scot.
He attacked her and as she lay badly injured on the street, he continued hitting her with the weapon.

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Jahche Broughton in the High Court at Rotorua for sentencing. Photo / Alan Gibson
Jahche Broughton in the High Court at Rotorua for sentencing. Photo / Alan Gibson

Aim's skull was fractured and she suffered extensive brain injuries.

A police officer who was responding to an alarm at the school, chanced upon Aim several minutes after the fatal attack.

She was lying in a pool of blood, her body exposed after Broughton hitched up her clothes and ripped her underwear.

Several days earlier Broughton had bashed Zara Schofield so badly with a rock that she needed 30 staples and extra stitches to her head.

In 2009 he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 12-and-a-half years.

Broughton, now about the age Aim was when he murdered her, will appear before the Parole Board for the first time next week.

At his sentencing - even though he confessed to murder - he was adamant that he did not kill Aim.

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He said he pleaded guilty to the charge because he was there but another person - a "gang prospect" named "Brian" - was "mainly responsible".

Schofield spoke to the Herald this week ahead of the killer's parole hearing.

While Aim's family have vowed to fight to keep him behind bars for his entire life, Schofield has accepted he may soon be released.

She said she had no strong urge to keep him locked up for life - but did want the public to be aware of his hearing and the fact he may be freed.

A floral tribute at the spot in Taupō where Scottish backpacker Karen Aim was killed. Photo / NZME
A floral tribute at the spot in Taupō where Scottish backpacker Karen Aim was killed. Photo / NZME

"I believe whatever happens will happen - but I just wanted people to be aware and updated that he could potentially be out soon," she told the Weekend Herald.

"I have no fears [about his release] as I feel like it has been such a long time that has passed.

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"I am hoping he has or is turning his life around and won't fall back into bad habits - that is my only worry."

While Schofield, who was 17 when she was attacked, wanted people to remember Broughton and what he did, she also wanted him to make something of the rest of his life.

"I'm just hoping that what he has learned in the time whilst being in prison has helped to change his mindset and hope he is taking it all on board to help change his life around for the better," she said.

"He will still be young when he is released so he will still have a lot of opportunities ahead of him which I hope he takes on board and doesn't go down the wrong path and hurt or ruin anyone else's life.

"That is my only worry - I don't want anyone else to get hurt.

"That's out of my control so, in the meantime I just hope he has changed for the good."

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Zara Schofield outside court in Rotorua in 2009. Photo / Andrew Warner
Zara Schofield outside court in Rotorua in 2009. Photo / Andrew Warner

Schofield has not submitted her views to the Parole Board, opting to let them make the final decision.

She said she still felt enormous sympathy and sadness for Aim's loved ones.

"My thoughts still sit deeply with Karen and her family and friends," she said.

"I have managed to move on and carry on with life as we do but unfortunately Karen didn't get that chance because of his actions - so I hope he takes responsibility now for this.

"I also hope when and if he is released into the 'real' life that he has good support and won't fall into bad habits or surround himself with the wrong crowd."

In early 2018 - around the 10th anniversary of the murder - Aim's father Brian told media he would campaign against any bid for freedom by Broughton.

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Tragically, he died suddenly in November that year.

But when spoken to ahead of the anniversary he said he would write to the Parole Board ahead of any hearing and said the offender should not be released "for the safety of the public in New Zealand".

Brian Aim speaks to media about his daughter after her murderer was sentenced. Photo / Alan Gibson
Brian Aim speaks to media about his daughter after her murderer was sentenced. Photo / Alan Gibson

At the time Aim said he still had no idea why his daughter was targeted and on that basis, believed that Broughton should be kept behind bars.

"I wonder if he is safe to put back into society again, as he committed these two violent acts," he told Scottish media.

"I feel it is my duty to write a letter to the parole board to try to keep him behind bars, for the safety of the public in New Zealand.

"If it had just been Karen you could say it was just a random act. But he had tried it 10 days before. I question whether he is safe to put out in society again."

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A floral tribute at the spot in Taupō where Scottish backpacker Karen Aim was killed. Photo / NZME
A floral tribute at the spot in Taupō where Scottish backpacker Karen Aim was killed. Photo / NZME

He also told the Herald that he wanted Broughton to take responsibility for his crime and tell them honestly how his daughter died.

"We wanted to find out from the one person who knew what happened that night as to whether Karen was chased and terrified before she was murdered or was she murdered from behind and never knew the incident ever happened?" he said.

Brian Aim was 61 when he died.