Murder accused Jule Patrick Burns admitted to a High Court jury today that he had sex with slain Christchurch prostitute Suzie Sutherland last April.

Burns, 31, has begun giving evidence in his defence before Justice John Hansen and a jury on the eighth day of his retrial for the murder of 36-year-old street prostitute Susan Gayle Sutherland, known as Suzie.

Burns, slightly built with closely cropped dark hair, thin moustache and goatee beard, denies strangling Ms Sutherland to death last April 16 and leaving her naked body in a vacant inner-city section.

His first trial was abandoned in December when Justice Lester Chisholm declared a mistrial, but gave no reasons in open court.

Today Burns told the jury of seven men and five women that he picked up Ms Sutherland in Christchurch's Manchester St red light district on April 15, negotiated a price for sex and then drove at her direction to the vacant section where her body was found dumped among mud and leaves the following morning.

Burns told the court Ms Sutherland caught his eye while he was driving along Manchester St and he remembered her wearing a short skirt. He stopped his car and Ms Sutherland told him she knew why he'd stopped.

"We agreed on a price. I paid the money up front."

Ms Sutherland spoke to a man nearby then got into his car and gave directions to the vacant section in Peterborough St near Hagley Park.

Both got undressed and the "business began" in his car, Burns said. He was in the driver's seat and Ms Sutherland was beside him in the passenger's seat.

He told the jury she seemed very professional.

When they first met she had outlined a range of prices that ranged from $60 for oral sex, $80 for full sex and $100 for "everything". Burns said he opted to pay Ms Sutherland $80 and she had provided a condom.

At the start, he said, she was enthusiastic and talkative, but her attitude changed when he was "taking too long" and she became irritable.

When Ms Sutherland asked him to pass her bag, he noticed some needles and asked her what was going on, Burns said. She grabbed at her bag and pulled it away from him, giving him a "minor injury" on his arm "like a sting".

"She seemed like she wanted to do drugs and I told her 'no'," he said. "She seemed upset and wanted to go back."

In earlier evidence, the jury was told Ms Sutherland was addicted to drugs, mainly morphine and ritalin.

To defence counsel Margaret Sewell, Burns agreed the sex had been a "satisfactory experience". He said Ms Sutherland and he changed back into their clothes and he drove her back to near the corner of Peterborough St and Manchester St where he had picked her up.

He then headed into the city to a nighclub and karaoke bar.

The case continues.

- NZPA