Unsolved murder of Katrina Jefferies led to three women accusing Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia of serious violence and sex crimes.

A cold case murder investigation into the death of Katrina Jefferies led to a man called "Magic Mike" being jailed for a string of sex and violence charges spanning 30 years.

Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia was sentenced to 19 years in prison after being found guilty of 21 sex and violence charges against three victims.

Now, a suppression order which linked Te Huia's crimes to the unsolved murder of Katrina Ann Jefferies has lapsed.

And Auckland police have confirmed one of New Zealand's most senior detectives will lead a review of the cold case to take a fresh look at the evidence.

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The 22-year-old Ms Jefferies was found dead in Waikowhai Reserve, in the Auckland suburb of Hillsborough, in July 2005.

A Coroner ruled the young mother "suffered death at the hands of another" at an inquest in 2011, but suppressed the cause of death in order to not jeopardise the Operation Waikowhai police investigation.

No one was charged with her death despite a $50,000 reward and immunity from prosecution for witnesses.

Katrina Ann Jefferies
Katrina Ann Jefferies

But Te Huia was charged with the sex and violence offences on the basis evidence of interviews with three women when police re-investigated the Katrina Jefferies cold case in a second inquiry called Operation Lyra.

"The operation has been running since July and in that time we've spoken to several people, some of whom made disclosures and complaints to us that required further follow-up and which resulted in these charges being laid," police said in a press statement in November 2014.

"We have put a great deal of effort into reviewing the earlier Operation Waikowhai file and have been able to build on the good work our colleagues did in those years. Operation Lyra will continue to follow up on any information that needs further exploration and we welcome the opportunity to progress this homicide investigation as far as we can take it."

The link to Katrina Jefferies was suppressed during Te Huia's trial in March in case it prejudiced the jury against him, but the court order has since been lifted.

Evidence given at the trial said Te Huia, known as "Magic Mike", was the neighbourhood tinnie dealer who would invite teenagers in for a drink, or a joint, in the bar in the backyard of his Mt Roskill home.

"Magic used to get with a lot of young girls in the neighbourhood. I think a lot of the young girls were using him to score weed from him. Why else would a pretty young girl hang out with a scary old man that looks like him," one neighbour told police.

"He was using them and they were using him."

Once the girls were tangled up in his world, they would suffer cruelly at his hands with near-daily beatings and rape.

"I thought Magic was cool as when I first met him but later when I got to know him ... I was lured in and then he changed and turned into a monster," one of his victims told police.

Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia sits in the High Court at Auckland. He was convicted of 21 sex and violence charges against three women over 30 years. Photo / Greg Bowker
Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia sits in the High Court at Auckland. He was convicted of 21 sex and violence charges against three women over 30 years. Photo / Greg Bowker

Ms Jefferies lived in the same neighbourhood as Te Huia, but police would not comment on whether the 56-year-old was a suspect in her death.

Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper, head of the Auckland City CIB, confirmed an internal peer review of the "vast amount" of evidence gathered from both Operation Lyra and the original inquiry would start shortly.

"A significant number of people have been spoken to over the course of the enquiry, some of whom made disclosures and complaints that were not related to Katrina, but required further follow-up.

"The arrest and charging of the man sentenced was as a result of information disclosed to Police through the course of the homicide investigation."

Mr Hooper emphasized the charges upon which Te Huia was sentenced were not related to Ms Jefferies.

The internal review will be supervised by Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock, who recently led the $5 million investigation into the 1080 blackmail case.

The cause of Katrina Jefferies' death was described as "highly unusual" by police at the time and several people have made false confessions to the murder.

Her semi-naked body was found down a bushy slope off a road that winds to the Manukau Harbour through the Waikowhai Reserve, in the suburb of Hillsborough.

She was wrapped in a red tarpaulin and a black rubbish bag. A yellow PVC raincoat, a piece of plywood board and a framed wooden picture were also found at the scene but examination of these items has been fruitless.

A red tarpaulin and a yellow raincoat were found beside the body of Katrina Jefferies in Waikowhai Reserve
A red tarpaulin and a yellow raincoat were found beside the body of Katrina Jefferies in Waikowhai Reserve

A post-mortem established Ms Jefferies was dumped in the Waikowhai Reserve after being killed somewhere else.

A coronial inquest was told more than 750 people had been interviewed by police - many had been spoken to more than once - and around 60 were still considered persons of interest.

Police even offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, but this was withdrawn in 2007.

Police offered a $50,000 reward for information in the investigation of the murder of Katrina Jefferies.
Police offered a $50,000 reward for information in the investigation of the murder of Katrina Jefferies.

The inquest was told that Ms Jefferies led a dysfunctional lifestyle and regularly drank and used illicit drugs.

She often met friends and drank at the reserve, which was near her mother's house, where she lived with her 20-month-old son.

She was last seen on the evening of July 10, 2005 by her mother Nicola Jefferies, who did not find it unusual when she did not come home that night.

Nicola Jefferies, mother of Katrina Jefferies, at a 2007 press conference where police offered a $50,000 reward. Photo / Dean Purcell
Nicola Jefferies, mother of Katrina Jefferies, at a 2007 press conference where police offered a $50,000 reward. Photo / Dean Purcell

Police were unable to establish her exact movements between then and the time her body was found by a man walking his dog about 36 hours later.

"The circumstances, in my view, are conclusive that her death was not accidental, in the sense that she did not accidentally cause her own death," said Coroner Gordon Matenga said in ruling the death to be homicide, "but she has suffered death at the hands of another".

Murder Mystery

10 July 2005:

Katrina Ann Jefferies last seen alive by her mother.

12 July 2005: Body found by man walking his dog in Waikowhai Reserve in the Auckland suburb of Hillsborough.

June 2007: Police in Operation Waikowhai offer $50,000 reward for information to solve the case.

November 2011: Coroner Gordon Matenga rules her death to be homicide but suppressed how she died.

July 2014: Police launch Operation Lyra to reinvestigate the murder.

October 2014: Unrelated criminal charges laid against 54-year-old man after complaints from three women interviewed during Operation Lyra.

May 2016: Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia sentenced to 19 years in prison on 21 sex and violence charges.

Police announce a review of the evidence in the Katrina Jefferies' investigation.