Malcolm Rewa rape victim: Susan Burdett's family 'have never seen justice'

One of the victims of serial rapist Malcolm Rewa says the family of Susan Burdett will have been left in "agony" waiting for closure after she was murdered in 1992.

Rewa has never been convicted of her murder, but he was convicted of her rape. Just two weeks before he raped Ms Burdett, Rewa attacked Rhonda McHardy, and hers was one of the 27 rapes of which he was eventually convicted.

Then-teenager Teina Pora was convicted of Ms Burdett's murder, but his conviction was quashed in 2015, and the focus turned back on Rewa.

Ms McHardy told Newshub it could have very easily been her who was killed, and her parents were devastated by what happened.

She's hopeful if Rewa goes back to court, it will mean Ms Burdett's family can finally get some closure as well as justice.

"From the family's perspective, it's hard to imagine if you've never gone through something like that, what it's like for the families, but their daughter was murdered," she said.

"I was lucky, I was still alive. But you can just imagine how painful it is for a family to have to deal with their daughter being raped and murdered, and then never see justice. It would be agony."

Ms McHardy said as recently as last year, police indicated Rewa wouldn't face a third retrial for Ms Burdett's murder.

"I did not expect this turn of events. But I was very pleasantly surprised of course and really happy for Susan Burdett's family," she said.

"To me, it would be a complete miscarriage of justice if he didn't get retried."

Rewa has been to trial twice already over Ms Burdett's murder, but both resulted in a hung jury. The second trial, in 1998, was followed by a stay of proceedings, preventing a third.

On Tuesday, more than 25 years after Ms Burdett was murdered, police confirmed the Solicitor-General has now agreed to make an application to the High Court for a retrial.

Ms McHardy said the fact police are willing to try and take him back to court is an important step.

"The point of our justice system is that if someone is guilty, if the police have reason to believe and enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, then they should be taken to court and tried. That's the way our justice system works," she said.

"Really it comes down to what's right and what's wrong... I'm really happy that the police are taking this step, it's given me a little bit more faith in our justice system."

On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said both Ms Burdett's family and Rewa have been told about the developments in the case.

A report last year by retired High Court judge Rodney Hansen QC found Mr Pora was innocent of the murder and deserved compensation, pointing the finger at Rewa.

The report said: "Undisputed evidence leads to the irresistible inference Malcolm Rewa acted alone and was solely responsible for the rape and murder of Ms Burdett."

At the time police accepted Hansen's report in full, but said the case wouldn't be reopened because an internal review showed "no new evidence".

Rewa is up for parole in 2018.