The jury has retired to deliberate on Malcolm Rewa's murder charge.

All the evidence has been heard in the High Court at Auckland and now five women and seven men will decide if the serial rapist killed Susan Burdett in her Papatoetoe home in March 1992.

Rewa was convicted of the 39-year-old accounts clerk's rape in 1998 - but two juries that year were unable to decide whether he was also responsible for her death.

"The juries could not agree. You must not speculate why this was so," Justice Geoffrey Venning told today's jury during his summation.


During the past two weeks the jury has also heard how Teina Pora was twice wrongly convicted for murdering Burdett on the back of a false confession.

"Please don't be distracted by the media reporting of the case," Justice Venning said.

Pora spent 22 years in prison before the Privy Council quashed his conviction in 2015. He has since received an apology from the Government and $3.5 million in compensation.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes told the jury yesterday they could be sure Rewa was the culprit.

"You can be sure he's guilty of murder for two main reasons," Kayes said. "The first is that the attack on Susan Burdett had all the hallmarks of a typical Rewa sexual assault."

The 65-year-old serial rapist is serving a preventive detention sentence for raping several women in the 80s and 90s.

But Justice Venning said for the jury to find Rewa guilty of murder they must be sure of three elements, that he caused her death, that it was culpable, and that he had murderous intent.

"Just because Mr Rewa has been involved in sexual assaults and rapes in previous cases does not mean he has raped and killed Ms Burdett.


"You must not reason that just because he has been convicted of sexual assaults and rapes in the past then he must be guilty of murder. This case is not about what you might think of him as a person.

"You are the judges of fact," the Chief High Court Judge told the jury.

Susan Burdett was killed in her Auckland home in March 1992. Photo / Supplied
Susan Burdett was killed in her Auckland home in March 1992. Photo / Supplied

The second reason, Kayes explained, was Rewa's semen being found inside Burdett.

"The accused claims that he was in a secret sexual relationship with Susan Burdett," he said.

However, Kayes suggested the DNA evidence was not of a result consensual sex just hours before Burdett was killed, as Rewa has claimed.

"He has made up this whole story, he's trying to explain away a very difficult piece of evidence," Kayes said.

"The accused, Malcolm Rewa, entered Susan Burdett's home uninvited … he raped her, he murdered her," Kayes said to begin his address.

Defence lawyer Paul Chambers, however, has argued that Burdett knew her killer, who may have been let in through the front door or had a key.

The Crown's case alleges Rewa made his way in through a window, despite no physical signs of entry.

During the trial Chambers accused Burdett's son Dallas McKay of killing his mum for financial gain.

McKay, Chambers said, lied about knowledge of Burdett changing her will - leaving her son with a $250,000 inheritance.

He had "means, motive and opportunity" to kill his mother, Chambers said.

McKay has categorically denied murdering his birth mum after the pair reconnected when he was 20.

Malcolm Rewa being escorted to the Otahuhu police station by detectives in May 1996. Photo / NZ Herald
Malcolm Rewa being escorted to the Otahuhu police station by detectives in May 1996. Photo / NZ Herald

Chambers has also argued a witness' evidence corroborates Rewa's version of events.

Earlier in the week Rewa gave evidence in his own defence and outlined his claimed secret relationship with Burdett.

The pair, he told the court, would have sex at the summit of Māngere Mountain and watch the sunset. Rewa also claimed they would have sex in his big American truck.

When talking of the night Burdett was killed, Rewa said they had split an ecstasy pill together before having sex on his couch.

Winsome Ansty also told the court of a secret her best friend had asked her to keep.

She said Burdett had told her of a relationship with a Māori man with gang affiliations and from the wrong side of the track.

Kayes said while Ansty had good intentions when she told police of Burdett's secret she had in fact created a "false memory".

In his closing address, however, Chambers said Ansty's memories and evidence was "reliable and credible".

"The memories are not lost, they are suppressed," he said. "When they return they are clear and unequivocal."

Rewa's current trial was able to proceed after a 1998 stay of proceedings for a murder prosecution was reversed two years ago by the Deputy Solicitor-General.

A stay had never before been lifted in New Zealand's legal history.