14 Feb 2019

Witness connects Rewa to Susan Burdett in murder trial

7:00 pm on 14 February 2019

Susan Burdett "no doubt" met the man alleged to have murdered her, a court has been told.

Malcolm Rewa, High Court in Auckland, 11 February 2019

Malcolm Rewa is on trial in the High Court at Auckland this month. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Ms Burdett, 39, was found raped and bludgeoned to death in her Papatoetoe home in 1992.

Malcolm Rewa is on trial in the High Court in Auckland for a third time, accused of murdering her.

Today, a number of police witness statements from people connected to Ms Burdett were read aloud to the court.

Phillip Rowe, who worked as the accounts clerk at Nuplex, said she treated the office and warehouse as "her turf" and described her as a nosy person.

"She always liked to know what was going on and who was visiting the warehouse.

"For example, if myself or somebody else in the warehouse had a visitor arrive she would make it her business to find out who the person was and what they wanted.

"Nobody would have got into the warehouse or office area without Susan knowing."

Malcolm Rewa on trial again for Susan Burdett's murder

Susan Burdett, 39, was found raped and bludgeoned to death in her Papatoetoe home in 1992. Photo: RNZ / YouTube

Mr Rowe told police his sister was dating Nick Flavell, a friend of Rewa's, when he worked at Nuplex.

He said Mr Flavell stopped by his work with Rewa, who he knew as 'Hammer', and he was sure Ms Burdett would have met him this way.

"I personally cannot recall introducing the accused to Susan Burdett but I have no doubt that he would have met her.

"On at least two or three occasions the accused called into Nuplex on his own to see [my brother] and I.

"This was usually when he was passing. We would usually a chat or we would have a coffee together."

Mr Rowe's brother Greg Rowe told police Ms Burdett was "not a wimpish lady".

"She was the type of person who would stand up for herself when required. She was friendly and liked to hold conversations."

Rewa has already been convicted of raping Ms Burdett.

His DNA was found inside her body when she died but it wasn't until four years later that it was identified as his.

A jury in his second 1998 trial found him guilty of raping her but, as in the first trial, they could not decided if he murdered her.

The Crown's case is that Rewa murdered Ms Burdett in the course of sexually assaulting her.

Today Justice Venning reminded the jury they are to consider the murder charge without reference too or reliance on the rape conviction.

The trial was set down for four weeks but will likely conclude in two.