Malcolm Rewa trial: disturbing evidence presented

By Te Ao Māori News

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes has presented his opening address to the jury at the trial of convicted serial rapist Malcolm Rewa, who is accused of murdering Susan Burdett.

Kayes stated that on the night of March 23, 1992 Burdett left her home to play ten-pin bowling in Manukau. 

She then left the bowling ally to go home at around 11pm.  She was alone. 

A neighbour in the unit right next door to Burdett heard her garage door opening and closing.  Twenty minutes later her neighbour heard a thudding sound coming from her house.

There were no lights on at her house, which led the neighbour to believe that the noise had come from elsewhere and they proceeded to go to sleep. 

Burdett did not attend work the next day and again on Wednesday March 25.

Concerned for her well-being, a close friend of Burdett went over to her house to check up on her.  Upon his arrival he noticed the door was unlocked. He entered the house and while down the hallway could see Burdett lying dead on her bed.

Lying in front of her was a baseball bat- the very bat she kept next to her bed for protection. 

Burdett was found lying with half her body hanging from the bed. Her lower half was naked and her upper half was covered in a duvet.

Results of the post-mortem found Burdett sustained extensive injuries, including a fractured skull. 

A pathologist report later showed that Burdett was struck in the head five times, her injuries consistent with a blunt instrument.  She was hit with such significant force that she would have died within minutes. 

In 1996, forensic samples confirmed that Rewa's semen was found inside Burdett. 

Kayes added that the way in which Burdett was found was consistent with how Rewa raped women between 1987-1996. 

Rewa's lawyer, Paul Chambers provided a short opening to the jury. 

Rewa was tried twice for the murder.  However, in both trials the jury was unable to reach a verdict.  

Evidence from two of Burdett's friends have been presented in court this morning.  This afternoon, a further two witnesses will stand to present their evidence. 

The trial is expected to last four weeks.