A woman has described a top detective who is now accused of sexually assaulting her as once being her "hero".

The woman, whose name is suppressed by law, is one of two women accusing Detective Inspector Kevin Stephen Burke of sexual assault.

Burke denies all four charges he faces and is on trial before a jury in the High Court at Auckland this week.

The court heard that more than a decade ago, the woman was in an abusive relationship.


She came into contact with Burke after a brutal beating, during which she was also stabbed.

"I thought he was awesome. He was my hero," she said today.

"I felt like if they hadn't come to the house that day I probably would have died."

When Burke saw her next the bruising had subsided and he called her beautiful, she said.

"He couldn't believe I was the same person," she said.

She told the court Burke started popping around to visit her somewhat informally, as if on a lunch break, and brought wine.

The woman said she found Burke's behaviour "kind of strange" but she believed he was a compassionate person.

The Crown alleges Burke came into her room, undressed, and rubbed himself against her in bed.


On another occasion Burke is accused of returning and pinning the woman against a wall to grope her and press himself against her.

On a third occasion, the Crown alleges he exposed himself to the woman, then forcibly performed oral sex on her.

She later moved overseas and in 2017 made a formal complaint about Burke's alleged crimes.

When interviewed by police about each complainant twice, Burke categorically denied any sexual impropriety with the woman who was beaten and stabbed.

He said the sexual contact with the other complainant was consensual.

Burke was suspended from police work in April 2017 when a criminal investigation, led by detectives based in Christchurch, began.

The trial continues tomorrow.