You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NSW murder suspect told cops 'I need help'

AAP logoAAP 27/09/2016 Miranda Forster

After murder accused Robert John Adams was charged with two brutal rapes in the 1970s he confessed to needing psychiatric help, telling police "I must be mad to do these things".

Adams, 64, pleaded not guilty to the 1983 murder of Sydney nurse Mary Wallace in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday.

In his opening statement, crown prosecutor Mark Hobart SC said Adams had raped three women in the 1970s, and each time had taken his victim in a choke-hold.

His trial for a 1975 rape was abandoned after the victim fled Sydney saying she was in fear of her life, Mr Hobart said.

"During the act, the accused placed his hands around (the victim's) throat and strangled her until she almost became unconscious," he told the court.

Adams was convicted of the May 1976 rape of a woman he met at a Mosman sailing club.

After she rejected his advances, Adams took her by the throat and threatened to choke her, to "finish her off" and "throw her into the water where she would tell no tales", the prosecutor said.

"I've done a terrible thing. Take me to the police station," Adams allegedly told his victim afterwards.

Mr Hobart said it was after the second rape charge that Adams told the investigating detective, "I need psychiatric help. I must be mad to do these things".

He was sentenced to six years' jail but only served two.

Adams met the third woman at a North Sydney bar in 1978 and raped her in his car while squeezing her throat, before taking her to a house and having sex with her twice more, a court heard.

Mr Hobart said Ms Wallace was last seen getting into Adams' car in the early hours of September 24, 1983, after a night out drinking.

Adams told police he'd tried to have consensual sex with her in his car before falling asleep and waking to find her gone.

He was charged with murder in 2013 after advances in technology allowed police to match two hairs found in his boot to Ms Wallace's hair and DNA profile.

"It is the crown case that the accused, in accordance (with) a tendency to strangle women for sexual gratification, attempted to strangle Mary Wallace with a view to (having) sexual intercourse without consent," Mr Hobart said.

Defence barrister Peter Lange said Adams denied trying to choke Ms Wallace, and some of the evidence, including the DNA evidence, would be disputed.

The judge-alone trial continues before Justice Richard Button.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon