Phil Taylor

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

Convicted killer who says he's innocent faces Parole Board

Teina Pora. Photo / Supplied
Teina Pora. Photo / Supplied

A man serving a life sentence or rape and murder, who has maintained his innocence, today faces the Parole Board for the 11th time.

Teina Pora is serving a life sentence for the 1992 crimes.

His lawyer Jonathan Krebs said it was the right time for Pora to be granted parole and be allowed to serve the rest of his sentence in the community.

"Teina's been in custody now for all of that time. He's completed every single course and done every single thing that the Corrections Department has asked him to do," he told Radio New Zealand.

Pora has also been permitted to have visits with his family outside of prison - "those are the sorts of things that precede the grant of parole".

"He's served 20 years for a murder that he says he didn't commit."

Several police who worked on the case believe the crime was committed solely by serial stalker rapist Malcolm Rewa.

Since he was charged in March 1993, Pora has maintained he had nothing to do with it and is seeking a royal prerogative of mercy from the Governor-General.

His parole prospects have been hampered by his insistence he is innocent. An offender usually has to undergo rehabilitation courses appropriate to the crime before being paroled.

Pora, who has no other convictions for sex offending, has refused to do violence and sex offender programmes, but he has undergone counselling and has been on day release to work as a painter since he appeared before the board a year ago.

Pora has instructed his lawyer Jonathan Krebs to seek parole. Investigator Tim McKinnel said Pora was heartened by public interest in the case and keen to be released to spend time with his daughter and grandson.

He was 16 when Susan Burdett was attacked in her Papatoetoe home in 1992 and has been in jail for 20 years.

Rewa has been convicted of sex attacks on 25 other women, acting alone in all. Rewa's DNA was matched in 1996 to semen found in Ms Burdett's body, two years after Pora was convicted. Rewa was convicted of rape but no verdict was reached regarding murder.

Pora was convicted at a retrial of rape and murder, despite no physical evidence he was there.

Despite the official police position that at least three men were involved in the crimes, the Herald understands no inquiries were made to find other offenders for 10 years after Pora's retrial in 2000.

Police began to retest scene samples only after Pora's supporters began investigating.

- With APNZ

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