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Former police officer and convicted rapist Brad Shipton dies

By Emily Brookes of Stuff

An earlier version of this story by the original editor Stuff wrongly claimed that Brad Shipton was convicted of the rape of Louise Nicholas. He was convicted of another rape, but never convicted of raping Nicholas.

Brad Shipton, disgraced ex-cop

Brad Shipton had been in a nursing home suffering from early-onset dementia.
Photo: Things / 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 convicted, told Stuff that she had been informed that Shipton had died in April.

“It’s been dead to me for a long time,” he said.

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

Nicholas first made his claims in 2004, in an explosive interview on The charge (later the Dominion Post).

This occurred after years of research by Pos.t reporter Philip Kitchin which would ultimately lead to revelations that a senior officer, John Dewar, had perverted the course of justice to secure the annulment or acquittal of other police officers, including Shipton, over the course of several trials.

This included failing to reveal to the jury that Shipton was already in prison at the time of the trial for a previous rape.

Dewar himself was eventually found guilty of four counts of attempting to obstruct or frustrate the course of justice.

The charge The story alleged that 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 his first alleged sexual assault.

The officers claimed that the sex had been consensual.

The charge’The story demanded an investigation into police culture, to which then-Prime Minister Helen Clark agreed.

The Commission of Inquiry into police culture found significant shortcomings in the way police handled sexual assault cases and made broad recommendations for change.

The police fully accepted the Commission’s findings, apologized unreservedly to the victims and embarked on a program of change.

In 2009, Shipton confessed to 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 and disgusting behavior” and he knew he had ruined his victim’s life. She said he was sorry for what she had gone through.

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

Nicholas has become a renowned activist for victims of rape and sexual violence.

This story was first published by Stuff.