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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 10:35 GMT
CCTV of murdered woman released
Karen Aim on CCTV
Karen Aim was caught on CCTV before the attack

Images of the last known moments of a Scottish woman who was murdered in New Zealand have been released.

The CCTV footage shows Karen Aim, from Orkney, in a garage after a night out.

The 26-year-old was found in the street in the North Island town of Taupo in the early hours of Thursday morning with serious head injuries.

Relatives in Scotland and New Zealand were said to be "devastated" after being informed of her murder, which police described as a "ghastly" attack.

The CCTV pictures were taken about half an hour before she was found fatally injured in the street.

It would be fair to say that they [the family] were devastated by the news
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner

Police revealed that when officers discovered her lying in the road near a college, she was still conscious and managed to give her name.

However, she died later in hospital.

There was no indication of any sexual motive, detectives said, but her denim skirt had been disturbed.

Mystery also surrounds the murder weapon, which the post-mortem examination failed to identify.

Residents living near the scene of the attack are being asked to search their houses and gardens in case a weapon or clothes have been dumped.

Karen Aim
Victim Karen Aim had been in New Zealand before

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said police who attended the scene had described the attack as "ghastly".

He confirmed he had spoken to Ms Aim's family in Orkney and to relatives in the Manawatu.

Mr Turner said: "It would be fair to say that they were devastated by the news."

One focus of the major investigation is on a group who vandalised a nearby college.

Six windows were smashed at the Taupo Nui-A-Tia College at about the time Ms Aim was assaulted, and police are urging them to come forward.

"The longer those people are at large, the more suspicious it looks for those involved," the officer said.

'Successful resolution'

"We would ask again for those people to make contact with us."

He added that he was "confident of a successful resolution".

Police will visit bars in the area and question taxi companies, as they believe Ms Aim took one after leaving a bar.

Flowers at scene
Flowers were left at the scene of the "ghastly" murder

Dozens of tributes have been posted on the internet on social networking site Bebo and flowers have been left at the scene of the murder.

A blessing ceremony was due to be held at the crime scene, and a memorial service is planned for next week.

The Foreign Office said: "We can confirm that a British national died in New Zealand on 17 January. Local police are treating the death as suspicious."

New Zealand police said Ms Aim had been working at Wairakei, a nearby geothermal village.

It was her second visit to the country, which she had travelled to in 2006 on a three-month visitor's permit.

In a message posted before Christmas, Ms Aim described how she had been travelling around the north and south islands and had done her first bungee jump.

She wrote: "Working in a glass blowing gallery in Taupo, just right up me street.. meeting lots o cool as folk over here too, living wi a kiwi and an Irish lass, right good laughs...."

Taupo, in the centre of the North Island and on the shores of the country's largest lake, is a popular tourist destination for backpackers.

Island community's shock at death
18 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles
UK woman murdered in New Zealand
18 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles


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