Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor is a Weekend Herald and New Zealand Herald senior staff writer.

Burdett's brother says Pora innocent

Susan Burdett. Photo / Supplied
Susan Burdett. Photo / Supplied

The brother of the victim of one of New Zealand's most notorious rapes and murders believes his sister was killed in a fight with serial rapist Malcolm Rewa - not the man convicted of her murder.

Jim Burdett, whose sister Susan Burdett was attacked in her Papatoetoe home in 1992, believes that she was raped and killed by Rewa, not Teina Pora, who has served 19 years in jail for the crime.

Mr Burdett told the Weekend Herald he suspects his sister confronted Rewa in her house with a softball bat she kept for protection and which was found on the bed beside her body.

"Sue was a strong and stroppy individual," Mr Burdett said.

He believed she challenged Rewa and that he took the bat off her and struck the blows that killed her.

"It is a hypothesis but it could explain why Rewa killed her when he didn't kill his other victims," Mr Burdett said.

Rewa was convicted of solo sex attacks on 24 other women.

The semen in Ms Burdett's body was identified as Rewa's in 1996, but by then 17-year-old Pora had been convicted of her rape and murder. Those convictions were quashed but Pora was convicted again in 2000.

Rewa was eventually convicted of raping Ms Burdett but two juries could not reach a decision on the murder charge.

Meanwhile, the police have refused an Official Information Act request by the Herald to provide details about payments made to witnesses against Pora.

Police said they would not divulge the information because it might affect a future court case.

In his first trial, Pora was convicted on his own confessions, in the second trial on the confessions plus witnesses which Pora's team believe were paid by the police.

One of those believed to have been paid for testimony a jailhouse witness who claimed Pora had confessed died 10 years ago.

Pora's lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, is about to file evidence in support of an application for the royal prerogative of mercy, under which the Governor-General can refer the case back to court.

In recent months the Herald has revealed that:

•The world expert in false confessions believes Pora's confession is untrue.

•The police criminal profiler whose evidence resulted in Rewa's conviction for 24 sex attacks is convinced Pora was not involved.

The case features on TV3's 60 Minutes tomorrow at 7.30pm.

- NZ Herald

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