22 Feb 2019

Rewa murder trial: 'Only the accused is alive to tell us'

8:24 am on 22 February 2019

The prosecutor leading the Crown's third case against Malcolm Rewa has told the jury it can be "sure" he is guilty of murder.

Malcom Rewa in the Auckland High Court, 19 February 2019.

The prosecutor told the jury Rewa had made a story about having a relationship with Susan Burdett up to explain away scientific evidence. Photo: POOL

Rewa is on trial in the High Court in Auckland accused of murdering Susan Burdett, who was found raped and bludgeoned to death in her Papatoetoe home in 1992.

The Crown's case is that the 65-year-old murdered her in the course of sexually assaulting her. He has already been convicted of raping her.

This morning Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes said there was no doubt Rewa's signature style, seen in a number of sex attacks he carried out on other women, was seen in Ms Burdett's case.

"The attack on Susan Burdett had all the hallmarks of a typical Rewa sexual assault. The Crown says that when you look at those 20 other victims you can see that the accused has a very distinctive way of sexually assaulting women.

"Susan Burdett was attacked in that very same distinctive way and the reason for that I suggest is obvious; because it was the accused who attacked her, who raped her and who murdered her."

Rewa has always maintained he and Ms Burdett were having a secret affair and had consensual sex at his home before she left for tenpin bowling the night she died.

But Mr Kayes said the scientific evidence contradicted this.

He told the jury Rewa's semen had been found inside Ms Burdett's body but not on any of her clothes; something an expert earlier said they would expect if Ms Burdett had dressed herself after sex.

"The scientific evidence demonstrates that the sexual encounter did not happen before bowling as part of consensual sex in the accused's living room.

"It happened after bowling; after Susan Burdett had removed her bowling clothes. It happened when the accused came into her house that evening and raped her," Mr Kayes said.

The prosecutor told the jury Rewa had made his story up to explain away the scientific evidence.

"I suggest to you there was no secret relationship between the accused and Susan Burdett. It's a fiction created to try and explain away the semen found in her body. I suggest the accused's version just doesn't have a ring of truth about it."

He told the jury Rewa's past sex attacks showed he had used violence to control other women and threatened to kill them in a number of cases.

"The accused is prepared to use significance violence to compel submission. We won't know what happened that night. Only the accused is alive to tell us."

Last week Rewa's lawyer Paul Chambers accused Ms Burdett's son, Dallas McKay of murdering his mother to gain a $250,000 inheritance.

He said Mr McKay had "ample opportunity" to drive to her Pah Rd home, murder her and return to Whangarei in time to go to work.

"Motive, opportunity and the means to commit the crime have not disappeared over time. Yet he has simply been ignored in favour of the convicted rapist, Mr Rewa."

He contested Mr Kayes' submission that the evidence of Winsome Ansty was unreliable.

Mrs Ansty earlier told the court Ms Burdett was her best friend and confided in her about an affair she was having with a man called "Mike". Malcolm Rewa also goes by Michael Lewis.

She gave details that weren't consistent with even the defendant's evidence, but insisted she remembered the story correctly.

Mr Chambers said her evidence was credible, despite her suffering burnout at work and possible PTSD.

He told the jury he had been diagnosed with PTSD five years ago and experienced suppressed memories, which were crystal clear when they did resurface.

"I cannot say with any certainty that Mrs Ansty has PTSD but her evidence indicates to me symptoms associated with that condition ... what is clear, she says, are the core elements of the conversation in which Ms Burdett said she was seeing a married gentleman named Mike, who had children, was a gang member and dealt in drugs and that she has asked Mrs Ansty to keep that secret."

Justice Venning will sum up the case tomorrow morning before the jury retires to deliberate its verdict.

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