Malcolm Rewa found guilty of Burdett murder

Malcolm Rewa. Photo: RNZ
Malcolm Rewa. Photo: RNZ
Serial rapist Malcolm Rewa has been found guilty of murdering Susan Burdett in 1992.

Rewa (65) has been on trial in the High Court at Auckland since February 11.

This afternoon after three hours of deliberations the jury returned with a unanimous guilty verdict.

Rewa kept his head down, staring at the floor, as the verdict was read out. It took less than one minute before Rewa left the dock.

Those sitting in the public gallery were quiet.

Ms Burdett was found raped and bludgeoned to death in her Papatoetoe home on 23 March, 1992.

Susan Burdett. Photo: File
Susan Burdett. Photo: File
A year to the day Ms Burdett was killed, Teina Pora (17) was arrested and charged with her rape and murder after a false confession.

He was found guilty of both charges at his first High Court trial in 1994 and again at a re-trial in 2000.

Mr Pora spent more than two decades in prison before the Privy Council quashed his convictions in 2015. He later received more than $3.5 million in compensation.

Malcolm Rewa has already been convicted of raping Ms Burdett, but juries in two separate trials couldn't decide if he murdered her.

Once an integral part of the Crown's case against Rewa, Mr Pora only got a brief mention in his third murder trial.

The Crown's case was that Rewa, in the course of sexually assaulting Ms Burdett, murdered her with a baseball bat she kept for her own protection.

Ms Burdett's body was found, face up and wrapped in a duvet on her waterbed two days after she died.

Teina Pora.
Teina Pora.
She was naked from the waist down; her bare legs crossed and dangling over the side of the bed.

A blanket was placed over her chest and a bra over her eyes.

The way Ms Burdett was found was important to the Crown's case, as the prosecution argued features of her case bore "the hallmarks" of Rewa's previous crimes.

Twenty previous convictions for sex attacks Rewa carried out between 1987 and 1996 were introduced as propensity evidence in the case; intended to show Rewa followed a pattern of behaviour.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes said in many of these cases Rewa's victims were stripped naked from the waist down, had bedding covering their upper half and their legs were positioned off the side of the bed.

"They bear a number of significant similarities to the offences he committed between 1987 and 1996, and the reason why Ms Burdett's rape and murder bears those similarities is obvious," Mr Kayes said.

Rewa has denied and continues to deny raping Ms Burdett, in spite of his conviction for her rape and the fact his DNA was found inside her.

Rewa was called as the first witness in his defence case and told the court he met Ms Burdett at her workplace in 1990 and sold her ecstasy when she was having marital problems.

Rewa said they started having sex in late 1991 and slept together at his house, in his truck and underneath the trig station on Māngere Mountain.

He told the court they shared a pill of ecstasy, swallowing it with wine, before having consensual sex the night she died.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes accused him of lying, which he denied.

Winsome Ansty later told the court Susan Burdett, who she described as her best friend, had told her she was secretly seeing a man called Mike before she died.

She said Ms Burdett told her the man was Māori, had gang connections, and was married with kids.

Rewa, who was a member of the Highway 61 gang, also goes by the names Hammer and Michael Lewis.

Last week his lawyer Paul Chambers accused Ms Burdett's son, Dallas McKay, of killing his mother for his inheritance.

Mr McKay, of Whangārei, was raised by his paternal grandparents after Ms Burdett had him when she was 16 years old.

They met for the first time when he was 20 and discovered they shared a love for tenpin bowling.

He told the jury he was out playing darts in Whangārei the night his mother died, returning home around 11pm.

Mr Chambers told him he had "ample opportunity" to drive to Auckland, kill Ms Burdett, and drive home in time to go to work.

The lawyer said Ms Burdett had amended her will since meeting her son and he was in line to receive a $250,000 inheritance.

It was a claim strongly and repeatedly denied by Mr McKay, who told Mr Chambers he'd got it completely wrong.

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