Susan Burdett's family 'deserves justice' - Ardern

  • 24/08/2015
Malcolm Rewa (file)
Malcolm Rewa (file)

By 3 News online staff

It's not known if police will reinvestigate the murder of Aucklander Susan Burdett, despite new evidence placing the prime suspect at her house in Papatoetoe on the night she died in 1992.

Malcolm Rewa was convicted of her rape, but in 1994 Teina Pora was jailed for her murder.

TV3's 3D Investigates has spoken to a former neighbour of Ms Burdett who claims to have seen Rewa alone at the property that night.

Labour's Jacinda Ardern wants answers – specifically why the neighbour's evidence wasn't taken into account at the original trial.

"No one has served any time specifically now for the murder of Susan Burdett. Her family deserves that closure and deserves that justice… If it was your family member, would you feel satisfied that no one specifically is now carrying that penalty of murder of your loved one?"

Mr Pora served more than 20 years in jail before the Privy Council quashed his conviction earlier this year.

"When the Privy Council issued that decision, they made a very clear statement: that Malcolm Rewa was the rapist, and Susan Burdett was killed at the time she was raped," says Ms Ardern.

Tim McKinnel, a private investigator who worked on the case, says it's time for police to act.

"What other evidence exists that might come to the fore? We repeatedly hear the police in cold cases talk about loyalties and friendships changing over time – well, that's exactly the case in this."

Ms Ardern says Rewa was never acquitted of Ms Burdett's murder.

"We had two hung juries. That's really important to remember because this idea that's been put out there that we need to have exceptional circumstances to reopen this case, this case could be reopened at any time."

Prime Minister John Key says because a stay of proceedings was put on the case in 1998, it wouldn't be "impossible in theory" to reopen the case, but still "very unusual".

Rewa is currently serving a sentence of preventive detention.

He says it's up to the police to decide whether to try and pin the murder on Rewa a third time.

"It's a matter for them – if they genuinely think they've got information, yes they should."

Both police and the Minister of Police Michael Woodhouse declined to appear on the Paul Henry programme this morning to discuss the case.

3 News