Warning: Graphic content and sexual violence themes.
Police have apologised to a victim of the Beast of Blenheim for investigation failures in the 1970s which included losing a file that has never been found and was likely destroyed.
Stewart Murray Wilson today had his appeal dismissed after being convicted of three more historical sexual offences in Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland.
Police reinvestigated the notorious 72-year-old sex offender and he went to trial last year in the High Court at Auckland.
A jury found him guilty of raping a woman, a then 9-year-old girl, and attempting to rape a third woman during the 1970s and early 1980s.
He was found not guilty of raping a fourth woman - the mother of the young girl.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard, of Auckland City Police, told the Herald that Wilson's convictions were a "long time coming for these victims".
But it was a woman who Wilson attacked in Auckland during December 1976 whom police failed.
Her night of horror began after she responded to a classified newspaper ad Wilson had placed.
The two decided to meet but Wilson then forced the woman back to his Mt Eden flat and attempted to rape her.
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The next day she went straight to the police.
Now police have acknowledged her initial complaint was not investigated properly.
"It is clear that police involved with the case in the 1970s did not handle the complaint properly at the time and we have apologised to the woman concerned," Beard said.
During last year's trial the woman said police "treated me like sh*t" in 1976.
"How was it? Did you enjoy it? What was it like? Was it great?" She said officers joked.
"They treated me like sh*t, treated me like [I was] dirty. No feeling, no nothing, just like I was a piece of scum."
Police told the Herald they were "unable to comment" about the woman's testimony .
She made another complaint to police in 1996, when Wilson infamously went to trial for drugging, assaulting and raping several women, as well as charges of stupefying and bestiality.
When police decided to reinvestigate Wilson in 2016, they again found a failure and were unable to find any paperwork of the woman's complaint from 1976.
"Exhaustive enquiries were made to trace the file with no success," police said when answering several of the Herald's questions about the case.
"What has to be taken into account is the fact that this was the year computers were introduced to policing. How we recorded, coded and archived information was going through a technologically revolutionary stage.
"The locations throughout the Auckland City District where hard copy files were once stored have since closed and records destroyed in line with police policy."
Another of Wilson's victims came forward in 1996 and was part of last year's trial.
She recalled a harrowing story of Wilson breaking into her Wellington home in the early 1970s.
The woman called police.
"They searched the grounds," she said. "But couldn't find anyone and said if there was any trouble to call them back."
Wilson, however, was hiding and still in the house - unseen in a kitchen cupboard.
"I was raped by Murray Wilson," the woman said.
"It was just a horrific night, it seemed the longest night of my life."
The woman spoke to detectives about what happened after she saw publicity surrounding the Beast's 1996 trial, which saw him jailed for 21 years.
"I knew it would help me to tell my story instead of keeping it all bottled up inside," she said.
"I was told [by police] Murray Wilson couldn't be charged at that time [for the crimes against me] because he was already on charges."
She finally received justice before succumbing to an illness and dying shortly after the completion of the 2018 trial.
At the time of Wilson's 1996 trial, he also faced a further 23 charges alleging sexual crimes against several other women.
But this second indictment was not used because the then law limited the number of charges which could be contained in a single indictment.
In 2000, the Attorney-General entered a stay of proceedings on the second indictment.
Wilson was released from prison in 2012 to a two-bedroom cottage on the Whanganui Prison grounds. He also had an extended supervision order and the most stringent conditions ever imposed on a New Zealander.
By then the indictment law had changed and police received several criminal complaints about Wilson due to the widespread media attention.
"This was particularly relevant in relation to one of the victims, who was aged 9 at the time of his offending against her and reported it to police in 2012," police said.
In 2014, police decided all outstanding complaints, which had been the subject of continual reviews, would be investigated by a single criminal investigation branch office.
"This would enable a focused and coordinated approach to what was a nationwide investigation going back nearly 50 years," police said.
"[Historical] investigations of this nature are complex, requiring protracted and exhaustive enquiries to find documentary evidence to prove the case."
Beard, meanwhile, said police have come a long way in their handling of sexual violence cases since the investigation failures of the 1970s.
"We want to assure the public that these matters are taken extremely seriously and investigated thoroughly.
"The culture of police and the way sexual assault allegations have been handled has shifted over the past few decades, which was underpinned by the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in 2007."
Police now have dedicated Adult Sexual Assault investigators who are specifically trained, Beard said.
"Our top priority is the welfare of victims and we are committed to holding offenders to account for their actions, regardless of when the offence was committed."
Last year the Commissioner of Police announced that 187 new investigators will be focused on current and historical complex cases including adult sexual assault and child protection matters.
After returning to prison for nearly a year after the 2018 trial, Wilson was allowed to return to his cottage in August by the Parole Board.