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Youngest murderer jailed for 18 years

Thursday 20 Dec 2012 11:02 a.m.

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The teenager believed to be New Zealand's youngest murderer has been sentenced to 18 years prison at the New Plymouth District Court today.

Jordan Nelson was 13 years and 89 days old when he murdered his 50-year-old caregiver Rosemaree Kurth. He initially pleaded not guilty and was due to go on trial when he changed his plea.

Justice Paul Heath did not set a minimum term that Nelson must spend in jail, meaning he can seek parole after serving a third - or six years - of his sentence.

Nelson admitted shooting Ms Kurth in the back of the head as she worked on a jigsaw puzzle in her Okoki home.

He dragged Ms Kurth's body into a bedroom, stole money and a necklace, then fled the scene in her car.

Ms Kurth’s partner and Nelson’s grandad, Kerry Lock, saw the car leave when he was walking the dogs before discovering the body.

Nelson was found by police parked in the nearby town of Waitara where he claimed be couldn’t remember the incident.

Justice Heath says one of Nelson’s motives for killing Ms Kurth was that she had prevented him from visiting his mother.

Ms Kurth had done so under the direction of Child, Youth and Family.

The Crown had earlier alleged another motive was that Ms Kurth had taken away Nelson’s access to Freeview television.

In court, Mr Lock told reporters that he had lost two people in his life, his grandson and his partner.

“I miss her like crazy and all I can do kiss the photo beside the bed,” he says.

The court heard that Nelson had a reading age two years above his own and didn’t suffer from any serious psychological problems.

But the judge said he was too young to control himself and his decision making.

“Adolescents [are] more inclined to react with instinct and aggression,” he says.

“None of us will ever know exactly what was going through Jordan's mind when he shot Mrs Kurth.”

Ms Kurth’s daughter told the court she is overcome by loss, can’t work properly, wakes at night, and has a broken heart.

Police says Nelson's guilty plea before his trial began at least saved Ms Kurth's family further suffering.

Nelson showed little emotion during the hearing, or when he was led away to start his sentence.

He joins a chilling list of teenage convicted killers in New Zealand and although he’s not the youngest killer, he’s believed to be the youngest to murder someone.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson says Nelson is certainly the youngest person to murder someone in the last decade but couldn’t confirm if he was of all time.

In 1991, another 13-year-old - who has name permanent suppression - was convicted of murder after stabbing a nurse 16 times.

Not far from where Nelson committed his murder, a 14-year-old Renee O’Brien killed a truck driver in Waitara in 2003.

The country’s youngest killer is Bailey Junior Kurariki who took part in the fatal stabbing of 40-year-old pizza delivery man Michael Choy when he was just 12. He was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. 

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