A new witness account puts serial rapist Malcolm Rewa at the scene of one of the country's most notorious unsolved murder cases.

A former neighbour of Susan Burdett, raped and murdered in her Papatoetoe home in 1992, told TV3's 3D Investigates tonight that she saw Rewa sitting alone in his truck, which was parked in Burdett's driveway.

The programme also spoke to the stepfather of Rewa's wife, Herb Manapiri, who backed up the story, saying that the witness had told his family and the police that she'd seen Rewa.

He also said a bat on Ms Burdett's bed belonged to Rewa.


He was shown footage of the bat from the crime scene.

The two new witnesses said they told police what they saw, but were not called to give evidence at his murder trials.

Teina Pora, who was 16 at the time of the attack, was in 1993 charged with the rape and murder of Ms Burdett and found guilty in 1994.

Evidence at his trial said the bat was owned by Burdett to use as protection.

Mr Pora's convictions were quashed in March when the Privy Council ruled he had suffered a miscarriage of justice.

DNA had been found at Burdett's home and linked to Rewa in 1996. He was found guilty of raping her but there were two hung juries at two trials in 1998 on the murder charge.

Rewa is currently serving a sentence of preventive detention with a 22-year minimum non-parole period for 24 rapes committed between 1987 and 1996, including 14 years to be served concurrently for Ms Burdett's rape.

He is eligible for parole in 2018.


Prime Minister John Key said it would be very unusual for Rewa to be tried a third time for the murder, after the Solicitor-General stayed proceedings in 1998.

"It's not impossible in theory that another case could be taken, but it's very unusual," he told TV3's Paul Henry this morning.

But if somebody took information to the police, they would follow a process of looking into it, Mr Key said.

Asked if he would encourage people to do so, he said: "It's a matter for them. If they genuinely think they've got information, yes they should go and do it."

Labour's Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern tonight called for the case to be reopened.

In his ruling, the Privy Council's Lord Brian Kerr said that "the man who raped Burdett was undoubtedly Malcolm Rewa" and, that she was killed at the time she was raped, was not open to doubt.


"The revelation tonight that an eyewitness saw Rewa parked on the street where Susan Burdett lived, by himself, adds more evidence to the case," Ms Ardern said.

"As does the testimony of a member of Rewa's family.

Victim Susan Burdett.
Victim Susan Burdett.

"It's simply not good enough for the Crown to assume that because Rewa is serving a sentence of preventive detention, a trial isn't warranted. Where is the justice for the family of Susan Burdett?

"No one can turn a blind eye to what has been added to this case tonight - it's time for action to be taken."

Police said they were not provided with the contents of the programme prior to broadcast, and so therefore were unable to comment tonight on any specific matters aired in the programme.

"We invite the programme makers to submit any relevant information to Police for assessment.


"As we have previously stated Police has twice charged Malcolm Rewa with the murder of Susan Burdett.

"The Solicitor-General stayed further prosecution of Mr Rewa at the conclusion of his second trial in 1998, and it would require exceptional circumstances for the Solicitor-General to consider lifting that stay."

Private investigator Tim McKinnel, a former detective who looked into the Pora case, told the Herald that the new information was "potentially really important" and clearly new.

"It's not something we've seen before and I've been through all of the files in some detail.

"One of the frustrations for us over the last five or six years is that the police have invested a great deal of time and money into trying to gather new evidence around whether or not Teina Pora was involved in the murder.

"They've stopped at nothing to gather that evidence and got nowhere for obvious reasons. But when it comes to whether there's a case against any other person, they seem reluctant to even look at it at all..."


Mr McKinnel said it would be difficult to discredit some parts of the information released tonight.

"Time and again we hear the police come out in these cold cases and say that peoples' loyalties and relationships change over time - and that's absolutely true - and so they make appeals to people for evidence in these cold cases.

"Well it's no different in this case, so why don't they have any interest in trying to develop new evidence or at least make inquiries into the case to see whether there is new evidence that wasn't covered the first time round?"

He said he had spoken to Teina Pora and his lawyer Jonathan Krebs earlier today about the revelations.

"Our collective view is that this is yet more justification for the police to reopen the case, and not just reopen it but appoint some fresh eyes to it."

Mr McKinnel said this had been their position for some time now.


"We've been of the view since Teina's convictions were quashed that that much would warrant the reopening of the investigation.

"Police have taken a different view and said they need new evidence, well here it is delivered to them on a platter. It's a shame that they couldn't do it themselves."