Murdered British backpacker's body to be flown home

The body of a British backpacker murdered in New Zealand is expected to be flown back to the UK at the end of the week, her family said.

Karen Aim’s father said he believed his daughter’s body would be on an evening flight to London, leaving New Zealand around 10am Irish time on Friday.

This is sooner than Miss Aim’s family had thought, as they were originally told it could take a number of weeks before the 26-year-old was returned home.

A huge murder inquiry was launched into Miss Aim’s death after she was found fatally injured in the street in the North Island town of Taupo in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Speaking from his home in Orkney, Mr Aim, 51, said: “We have been told Karen will be leaving New Zealand on a flight on Friday night.

“From there, I believe she will go to London, then Scotland.

“Hopefully we will have her home by the middle of next week.

“The problem is that the planes to Orkney are too small for coffins. She may have to go by boat and they only run on certain days.”

Residents in Taupo have raised money to enable Miss Aim’s friend in New Zealand, Alan Robertson, to accompany her on the flight.

“We are absolutely lost for words at the kindness that the New Zealand people are showing. I have been very touched,” Mr Aim said.

Police have said they are making progress with the murder inquiry as they try to catch the killer.

The investigation, named Operation Waikato, is concentrating on speaking to everyone who was in the area overnight on January 16 and 17.

A team of 50 police officers are probing what they have termed a “ghastly” attack on Miss Aim, who had earlier been enjoying a night out with friends.

Joiner Mr Aim said getting a timescale for his daughter’s return was a comfort.

“It is a great relief, because we thought it might be weeks,” he said.

“We must count ourselves fortunate.”

Mr Aim said he felt the police were doing everything they could, but he had not been able focus properly on their investigation.

“All I want is Karen home,” he added. “That’s how I feel.”

Details of a memorial service to be held in Taupo for Miss Aim are expected to be released shortly.

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