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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 10:29 GMT
Family hopes for return of body
Karen Aim
Ms Aim died after being attacked on her way home from a night out
The body of murdered Orkney backpacker Karen Aim is expected to be flown back to the UK at the end of the week, her family have said.

The 26-year-old was fatally injured in the New Zealand town of Taupo early on Thursday morning.

Her father Brian said he believed his daughter's body would be on an evening flight to London, leaving New Zealand at about 1000 GMT on Friday.

The family had been told Karen's return could take a number of weeks.

Mr Aim said he understood that after reaching London, her body would be flown to mainland Scotland before being taken by boat to Orkney.

It is a great relief, because we thought it might be weeks
Brian Aim
Karen's father

He 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 Ms Aim's friend Alan Robertson to accompany her coffin on the flight from New Zealand.

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

Inquiry 'progress'

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

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

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

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.

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

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

SEE ALSO
Plans to return backpacker's body
22 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles
Unit joins backpacker murder hunt
21 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles
Murdered Karen 'ray of sunshine'
20 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles
CCTV of murdered woman released
18 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles
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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