Ex-cop and convicted rapist Brad Shipton has died

7:58 pm on 3 May 2024

By Emily Brookes of Stuff

An earlier version of this story from the original publisher Stuff wrongly stated that Brad Shipton was convicted of Louise Nicholas' rape. He was convicted of a different rape but never found guilty of raping Nicholas.

Disgraced former cop Brad Shipton

Brad Shipton had been in a rest home suffering from early-onset dementia. Photo: Stuff / Phil Reid

Brad Shipton, the former police detective convicted of rape in a case that had far-reaching consequences for New Zealand law and policing, has died aged 65.

Louise Nicholas, of whose rape he was accused but never found guilty, told Stuff she had been informed that Shipton had died in April.

"He's been dead to me for a long time," she said.

Shipton had been in a rest home suffering from early-onset dementia.

Nicholas first made her claims in 2004, in an explosive interview in The Post (then the Dominion Post).

That came after years of investigation by Post reporter Philip Kitchin that would ultimately lead to revelations that a senior officer, John Dewar, had perverted the course of justice in order to secure mistrials or acquittals for other policemen, including Shipton, over the course of several trials.

This included not disclosing to a jury that Shipton was already in jail at the time of the trial for an earlier rape.

Dewar himself was eventually convicted on four charges of attempting to obstruct or defeat the course of justice.

The Post story alleged Shipton and a group of other officers, notably Clint Rickards and Bob Schollum, had a list of young women they could use for sex, sometimes acting as a pack.

Nicholas was 13 years old at the time of her first alleged sexual assault.

The officers claimed the sex had been consensual.

The Post's story called for an inquiry into police culture, which then-Prime Minister Helen Clark agreed to.

The Commission of Inquiry into police culture, found major shortcomings in the way police handled sexual assault cases and made wide-ranging recommendations for change.

Police accepted the Commission's findings in full, apologised unreservedly to victims and embarked on a programme of change.

In 2009, Shipton confessed before a parole board to the rape for which he had been imprisoned, of a woman in Mt Maunganui in 1989.

At the time, Shipton said his whole life had been "full of disgraceful, disgusting behaviour" and he knew he had ruined his victim's life. He said he was sorry for what she had been through.

He was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years for that crime in 2005, and Schollum to eight years.

Nicholas has gone on to become a renowned campaigner for victims of rape and sexual violence.

This story was first published by Stuff.

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