Boy, 14, accused of murdering British tourist 'showed off bloodstained baseball bat to friends'

A security guard told how a 14-year-old accused of murdering Scottish backpacker Karen Aim brandished the bloodstained murder weapon in front of him.

Leigh Herewini, a friend of the suspect, told a court in New Zealand the schoolboy had fetched the wooden baseball bat from behind a trapdoor at the back of his grandparents’ house.

'It had a lot of dents and bits missing off it,' he said. 'It looked like it had blood on it.

karen aim
Karen Aim

Accused: The defendant, now 15, (left) is charged with murdering British tourist Karen Aim (right). He cannot be identified for legal reasons

'I felt uncomfortable. It could have been the bat that hurt that girl.

'He said he had washed it, tried to wash the blood off it.'

But, said Mr Herewini, the accused, now aged 15, identified another man as the killer.

Calling him Brian, the suspect said the man had been trying to prove himself to one of New Zealand’s most notorious criminal gangs, the Mongrel Mob.

The accusation had first come in a phone call from the youngster hours after 27-year-old Karen, from Holm in Orkney, had been found dying in the street in Taupo, a lakeside tourist resort where she was on a working holiday.

Mr Herewini, 34, a security guard at a local school, had been called to the scene in the early hours of January 17 when an alarm was triggered by someone smashing windows.

He had seen a policeman kneeling beside Karen, who suffered horrific head injuries, in a pool of blood and was sent by officers to fetch tape to fence off the crime zone.

Later that day came the call from his young friend, he told a committal hearing at Taupo Youth Court.

Karen Aim

Murder weapon: The defendant allegedly brandished the blood-stained baseball bat in front of friends

'He said he knew the person that supposedly done it. He said it was a guy, Brian, a Mongrel Mob prospect from Rotorua.

'He said he was prospecting for his father, who was in the Mongrel Mob.

'He hit her over the head with a baseball bat and he was planning on throwing her into the Waikato River but there was too much traffic around so he left.

'He told me that Brian had been at his place (his grandparents’ house). He had borrowed a bike, his bike, and a bat.'

The following day, Mr Herewini was himself interviewed under caution by the murder squad investigating Karen’s death.

Under cross-examination, he told the court his house had been searched and both cannabis and methamphetamine paraphernalia had been found.

During interviews, he was told by police that a person had been seen riding a distinctive bicycle on security footage at the school minutes before Karen’s death.

It was at that point that he gave the accused’s name and address to the police.

The court has earlier heard that between January 19 and 23, police put the youth’s home under surveillance.

Days later, Mr Herewini told the court, he had visited the house himself.

And there, after showing him the bat, the accused told him he had found it in the garden.

'He said he had found it on the back lawn. This guy Brian apparently just threw it on the back yard in the grass.

'I asked him if he thought Brian would turn himself in if he had done this to the girl. He said no.'

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