15 Jun 2021

Court hears from woman who says Arthur Allan Thomas raped her

8:37 pm on 15 June 2021

A woman who says Arthur Allan Thomas raped her many years ago said she eventually complained to police after thinking he might be formally apologised to over the Crewe murders - despite her never receving an apology from him.

Arthur Allan Thomas in court

Arthur Allan Thomas in court. Photo: RNZ/ Jordan Bond

Thomas, now 83, is on trial in Manukau District Court facing one charge of rape and four of indecent assault. He denies all of the charges. "Fabricated," his lawyer, Marie Dyhrberg QC, called them.

Thomas was infamously framed by police for the murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe in 1970, for which he was jailed for nine years before being found innocent. He received $950,000 in compensation, but police have not formally apologised for falsely implicating him in the crime.

Today in court, the complainant, who could not be named due to suppression orders, cried as she and the jury watched her recorded police interview in which she described the alleged offending.

The woman did not report it to police at the time. She considered doing so later when an associate was assaulted and planned to take the perpetrator to court, but again did not.

She was convinced only after a petition was set up in recent years encouraging the Police Commissioner to formally apologise to Thomas over the Crewe murders - while she had never received one from Thomas.

" didn't know how far [the petition] was going to go but it just got me thinking again: Arthur got compensation... and now if he gets an apology on top his pardon, [I'm] still left with nothing."

The woman also said she was separately indecently assaulted by Thomas.

"I thought, 'why should he get away with it?'"

She was upset she had never received an apology, and sought a meeting with Thomas' lawyers in an effort to get one.

Thomas' lawyer suggested there were other motives behind the meeting - including money.

"At that meeting, your group had actually extorted - tried to extort money by saying we will not go to the police," Dyhrberg said.

The complainant strongly denied she ever wanted money. She wanted him to say sorry.

"I never got an apology. Arthur didn't even acknowledge that he shouldn't have done what he did. That's the purpose of that meeting."

The other complainant alleged three counts of indecent assault.

Crown Prosecutor Aaron Perkins said one witness who would be called to give evidence said he had personally seen at least one of the incidents. The complainant said there was another person present during one of the incidents.

Thomas vehemently denies any assaults ever happened. Dyhrberg said the incidents the complainant spoke of plainly never happened.

"The defence is: they did not happen. These allegations are not true."

Judge Bergseng has imposed strict suppression orders which limit what the media can report.

The jury trial is set down for two weeks.