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Arthur Allan Thomas - pardoned for the 1970 Crewe murders - charged with rape, sex offences

Arthur Allan Thomas, the man pardoned for the 1970 Crewe murders, is back in the dock.

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Thomas was twice convicted of the 1970 murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe but was later pardoned. Source: 1 NEWS

Police have now charged Thomas, 81, with sex offences including rape and indecent assault.

He has entered pleas of not guilty to the charges, which are historical, and has elected for trial by jury.

Thomas previously served nine years in prison for the murder of Harvey and Jeannette Crewe. He was granted a Royal Pardon and awarded $950,000 compensation in 1980.

Almost 40 years later, the Crewe murders remain the most infamous cold case in New Zealand history. 

The latest charges against Thomas have been laid after two alleged victims spoke to police - one alleging rape and indecent assault, the other alleging three counts of indecent assault. 

Their identities are protected by law.

But the identity of Thomas can now be revealed.

He was granted interim name suppression in the Manukau District Court last month. But that interim order has been lifted today.

The maximum penalty for rape is 14 years in prison.  

For Thomas, it’s the latest twist in a life dogged by criminal allegations.

Harvey and Jeanette Crewe were shot dead on or around June 17, 1970, at their Pukekawa farmhouse - about 65km south of central Auckland.

The killer spared the life of the couple’s only child, Rochelle, who was 18 months old. She was found crying in her cot on June 22, 1970.

Police charged Thomas with the murders and he was found guilty in two trials - a verdict which was upheld through two appeals and the Privy Council.

But a Royal Commission of Inquiry later found Thomas had been wrongfully convicted based on evidence planted by police, who placed a rifle cartridge case in the garden of the Crewe’s property.

The Crewes’ killer has never been brought to justice.

Thomas' next appearance in court will be on March 13.