Case 1: Parker-Hulme Murder (Part 2)

CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY.

June 22, 1954
“The Day of The Happy Event. I am writing a little of this up in the morning before the death. I felt very excited and ‘The night before Christmas-ish’ last night. I did not have pleasant dreams though. I am about to rise”

Visit www.truecrimenz.com for additional information on this case. Including a transcript of this episode, with supporting pictures, sources, and credits.

Written, edited and hosted by Sirius Rust
Script editing and audio direction by Jessica Rust

“Cryptic Sorrow”, “Day of Chaos”, “Leaving Home”, “Long note One”, “Redletter”, “Sincerely”, “The Pyre”, “Trio for Piano, Cello, and Clarinet”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

The podcast version is the intended way to consume this article but I make a transcript available for those that would rather read instead. This can be found below.

June 22, 1954
“The Day of The Happy Event. I am writing a little of this up in the morning before the death. I felt very excited and ‘The night before Christmas-ish’ last night. I did not have pleasant dreams though. I am about to rise”

EVENTS OF JUNE 22, 1954

The morning of June 22, 1954. 10.30am. Juliet Hulme collected half a brick from a pile next to the garage at her Ilam home. She was then driven into Christchurch city to do some “personal shopping” by her mother. Hilda Hulme described Juliet as happy, calm and affectionate that morning.

At 11am, Juliet arrived at Pauline Parker’s house. Both girls made small talk with Honorah Parker, before making their way up to Pauline’s room. There they placed the half-brick into a stocking and knotted it. Pauline placed this into her school shoulder bag. Juliet had brought the small pink stone that she had removed from a brooch.

At 12pm, Pauline’s father Herbert Reiper and her sister Wendy Parker arrived home from work, for lunch. Juliet and Pauline joined them. This was reportedly a happy affair, with laughing, jokes and warmth between the family.

At 1.30pm, Honorah Parker left with Pauline and Juliet on a bus to Victoria Park in the Cashmere Hills.

Fig 1. The Tea Kiosk were Honora ate her last meal

At 2.35pm, the trio arrived in Victoria Park terminus and exited the bus. Honorah was feeling a little parched. She decided to go to the nearby ‘Tea Kiosk’. Inside Honorah ordered a pot of tea and the girls ordered soft drinks. They were served by Agnes Ritchie; the manager of the kiosk. Anges stated later that she chatted with Honorah for a bit and that the girls behaved cordially when she addressed them. She concluded that she had thought they were a quiet group.

3.05pm. Honorah, Pauline and Juliet all left the tea kiosk. They entered Victoria Park through a gap in the stone wall and set off along the steep path. The east side bush track, as it was known.

Fig 2. The murder scene

At 3.20pm. 130m down the path they came to a small wooden bridge. Juliet took the lead. Honorah followed with Pauline at the rear. Juliet got far enough ahead to initiate the ‘plan’. She dropped the pink stone on the ground. Then she called for Honorah and Pauline to come see what she found. Honorah lent down to look at the stone. Pauline removed the brick in the stocking from her shoulder bag.

Peter Graham is a true crime writer from Canterbury and author ofSo Brilliantly Clever; a detailed investigation into the Parker-Hulme murders in which he spent three years travelling the world researching the case. Graham in his book ‘So Brilliantly Clever’ describes in detail what happened next: “Pauline, coming from behind swung the brick as hard as she could at her mother’s skull. Nora yelled and instinctively covered her head with her hands. She was now fighting for her life. Pauline bashed away mercilessly but her mother was slow to go down. She and Juliet forced her to the ground. Juliet grabbed the loaded stocking from Pauline and landed further furious blows on Nora’s head. Blood was spraying everywhere. Her resistance was weakening. The stocking broke. Nora was now lying face upwards making a terrible noise. Juliet kneeled, gripped her around the throat and held her head against the ground with Pauline, grasping the half-brick in her hand, hammered her again and again and again – on the forehead, the temples, wherever she could land a blow. Nora writhed and twisted, then twitched convulsively. They tried to drag her to a place where they could roll her down a bank but she was already a dead weight. It was all they could do to shift her a few feet. She was gurgling blood as they left.”

Fig 3. ‘A small wooden bridge’

3:30pm. Pauline and Juliet arrived back at the tea kiosk with bloodsoaked clothing, white-faced and hysterical. Juliet had a lot of blood on her hands with a fine mist of blood on her face. Pauline had an abundance of blood on her face and hands; her left hand was covered in gore.  Pauline, panicked managing to blurt out “Please, could somebody help us? Mummy has been hurt! It’s Mummy, she’s terribly hurt! She’s dead!” Juliet added “It’s her mother, she’s hurt! She’s covered with blood. Please, somebody help!” Kenneth Ritchie, Agnes’ husband then searched and found the body. Agnes then phoned for a doctor and an ambulance. Pauline and Juliet then washed off the blood and both asked for their fathers. Agnes then phoned Herbert Rieper at Dennis Brothers’ Fish Supply, his work, but he was not in the shop and she left a message. Then Agnes phoned Henry Hulme and he said he would come immediately. Anges then brought Pauline and Juliet hot tea with much sugar. She noted that Pauline gulped down the hot tea with no milk, oblivious to the temperature and apparently in shock. Juliet was noted to be talking rapidly and hysterically. Anges asked how the accident occured. Pauline answered in a slow voice “She slipped on a plank and hit her head on a brick. Her head kept bumping and banging as it fell”. Juliet intervened “Don’t think about it. It’s only a dream. We’ll wake up soon. Let’s talk about something else.” After a long lull, Pauline groaned loudly “Mummy, she’s dead.”

At 4pm, Dr. Hulme arrived at the kiosk. He told Agnes Ritchie to tell the police he was taking Pauline and Juliet to his home in Ilam.

4.30pm. Dr. Hulme arrived home with the two girls. Hilda Hulme then bathed Pauline and Juliet and treated them for shock, fed them and then sent them to bed.

At 8pm, two Detectives; Senior Detective Brown and Detective Sergeant Tate arrived at the Hulmes Ilam home. The two detectives interviewed Pauline and Juliet. Pauline gave this account of what had happened “We were walking up the track having been to the bottom. I was leading and mother and Deborah were behind me. Mother suddenly slipped and fell. She twisted sideways and hit her head on a rock or something. She seemed to keep tossing up and down and hitting her head.” Juliet backed up this story in her interview. Then when Pauline was asked about a bloody stocking found at the crime scene she appeared taken aback “We didn’t take mother’s stockings off, I was wearing sockettes. I had an old stocking in my bag. I used it to wipe up the blood.” Then Detective Tate was informed that Juliet would like to make a second statement. He left to go take her statement as Detective Brown stayed with Pauline.

Juliet’s second statement claimed she didn’t witness the accident but had turned back after hearing voices to find Honorah Parker lying bloody on ground and she did not notice a brick or stocking. During this time Detective Brown was questioning Pauline. He stated to Pauline he thought Juliet was not involved in the incident, but she was. Pauline then started answering questions:

DETECTIVE BROWN: Who assaulted your mother?
PAULINE PARKER: I did.
DB: Why?
PP: If you don’t mind I won’t answer that question.
DB: When did you make up your mind to kill your mother?
PP: A few days ago.
DB: Did you tell anyone you were going to do it?
PP: No. My friend does not know anything about it. She was out of sight at the time. She had gone on ahead.
DB: What did your mother say?
PP: I would rather not answer that.
DB: How many times did you hit your mother?
PP: A good many times, I imagine.
DB: What did you use?
PP: A half-brick in a stocking. I took them with me for the purpose. I had the brick in my shoulder-bag. I wish to state that Juliet did not know of my intentions and she did not see me strike my mother. I took the chance to strike my mother while Juliet was away; I still do not wish to say why I killed my mother.
DB: Did you tell Juliet that you killed your mother?
PP: She knew nothing about it. As far as I know she believed what I told her, although she may have guessed what had happened, but I doubt it as we were both so shaken that it probably did not occur to her.

The confession concluded with:
PP: As soon as I started to strike my mother I regretted it but could not stop then.

Pauline Parker was charged with murder and taken to the Christchurch Police Station. Later that night Brown and Tate searched Pauline’s room with her father’s permission. There they found fourteen exercise books, a scrap book and two diaries. While Pauline was in Tate’s office she was seen writing on a piece of paper. When she finished, Tate confiscated the paper. It seemed to read as a diary entry.

June 22, 1954
“I have successfully committed moider. Found myself in an unexpected place. All the Hulmes have been wonderfully kind and sympathetic. Anyone would think I’d been good. I’ve had a pleasant time with the police talking nineteen to the dozen and behaving as though I hadn’t a care in the world. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Deborah properly but I am taking the blame for everything”.

THE AFTERMATH

Fig 4. Pauline and Juliet’s Mug Shots

23 June, 1954. “I am taking the blame for everything”. This sentence suddenly put attention back on Juliet. Along with this, Brown and Tate found enough evidence in the diaries to justify interrogating Juliet once more. They returned to Ilam to interview Juliet. Her statement changed once more “We went to a spot well down one of the paths and Mrs Parker decided to come back. On the way back I was walking in front. I was expecting Mrs Parker to be attacked. I heard noises behind me. It was loud conversation in anger. I saw Mrs Parker in a sort of squatting position. They were quarreling. I went back. I saw Pauline hit Mrs Parker with the brick in the stocking. I took the stocking and hit her too. I was terrified. I thought that one of them had to die. I wanted to help Pauline. It was terrible. Mrs Parker moved convulsively. We both held her. She was still when we left her. The brick had come out of the stocking with the force of the blows. I cannot remember Mrs Parker saying anything distinctly. I was too frightened to listen. After the first blow was struck I knew it would be necessary to kill her. I was terrified and hysterical.” Juliet was arrested and charged with murder.

One day later, Honorah’s body was cremated while Juliet and Pauline were reunited in Paparua Prison. There, they listened to classical music, took long walks together and wrote voluminously. The trial was set for August 23rd, 1954.

Dr Reginald Medlicott was one of the psychiatrists who interviewed the two girls on June 27 and June 28. After these interviews Dr Medlicott told a friend he had never encountered such pure evil as he had in those two girls.

1 July 1954. Juliet was visited by her father Henry Hulme in Paparua prison. He tells her he is leaving New Zealand for England. Henry stated later that the meeting was only a few minutes long and that when he kissed Juliet goodbye, she told him, “I want you to go”. The next day Dr. Hulme executed his plan of leaving his wife and her lover and taking their son back home to England. On the voyage home he wrote “The world will just have to think of me as an unnatural father. I cannot say why I decided to leave New Zealand at this time. It would involve too many people. But there is nothing I can do there just now. My only concern now is for my son. I want to spare him all I can. I’ve told him his sister is mentally ill–as indeed she is.”

From the 6th to the 14th of August, the girls were visited by Dr Francis Bennet, another psychiatrist. Peter Graham writes about this visit in his book ‘So Brilliantly Clever’. “Dr Francis Bennett, was shocked that neither girl showed any contrition for Nora Rieper’s death. “There’s nothing in death” Juliet said loftily. “After all, she wasn’t a very happy woman. The day we killed her I think she knew beforehand what was going to happen and didn’t seem to bear any grudge.” Asked if she had any regrets she replied, “None whatever. … Of course we did not want my family to get involved in this but have both been terribly happy since it happened, so it has all been a blessing in disguise.” Pauline, likewise, was sorry for the trouble she had brought to the Hulme household but had no regrets about her mother. She would willingly kill her again if she were a threat to her relationship with Juliet.”

TRIAL

Fig 5. The audience outside the trial

23 August 1954. The first day of the trial commenced. The defence did not dispute that Parker and Hulme carried out the killing. Claiming the girls were insane at the time of Mrs Parker’s death “The Crown has seen fit to refer to the accused as ordinary dirty-minded little girls. Our evidence will show that they are nothing of the kind. The Crown’s description is unfortunate and medically incorrect. They are mentally sick girls more to be pitied than to be blamed.”

This is when Dr Reginald Medlicott; the psychiatrist who interviewed them in prison took the stand. “I consider they have paranoia of an exalted type and it is in the setting of a folie a deux, It is a form of systemised delusional insanity. It can be of various types, the usual being the prosecutorial type but the girls suffer from the exalted type. The French phrase folie a deux is used to describe a communicative insanity. Both are sensitive, self-contained, imaginative, selfish, – and showed inability to accept criticism. Their association, I consider, proved tragic for them. There is evidence that their friendship became a homosexual one. There is no proof there was a physical relationship, although there is a lot of suggestive evidence from the diary that this occurred. There is evidence that they had baths together and had frequent talks on sexual matters. That is not a healthy relationship in itself, but more important, it prevents the development of adult sexual relationships. I don’t mean by that physical relationships, but attachment to people of the opposite sex. Homosexuality is frequently related to paranoia. When I first saw the two girls I knew that they were trying to prove themselves insane. In a very short time they had given me what they thought was proof of their insanity. This so-called proof consisted of compulsions, such as to thrust a hand into a fire but they never acted on them. They both said they were telepathic and got unusual communications – one to the other. They also said they had mood swings from exaltation to thoughts of suicide. I did not accept that and do not think they were convinced themselves. After a very short time with them I was definitely convinced they were insane. Their arrogance, like their conceit, was out of normal proportions. It was so severe I had to restrain myself. They consistently abused me. Parker told me I was an irritating fool and unpleasant to look at. Hulme pulled me over the coals for not talking sufficiently clearly. After I had physically examined Parker she shouted out, “I hope you break your flaming neck.” In the diaries you can cover Parker’s condition over the last 18 months. The whole thing rises to a fantastic crescendo. It would be difficult for anyone to read the 1954 diary and not feel that rising tension and exaltation. As the diary goes on evil becomes more and more important and one gets the feeling that they ultimately become helplessly under its sway. By June, 1954, both accused were grossly insane, I would say.”

The crown argued vehemently against this. Bringing in their own experts who had interviewed the girls who argued they were in sound mind. The girls were reportedly unremorseful during the entire trial and were reported by newspapers at the time to be smiling and giggling at times. The trial lasted six days. An all male jury retired to consider their verdict. They reappeared after two hours and fourteen minutes. They found that Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme were sane and found them guilty of murder. As they were too young for the death penalty, they were sentenced to imprisonment, to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure in separate institutions. Herbert Rieper stated from his home “I have nothing to say about it”.

TIME IN PRISON

Pauline Parker was moved from Paparua Prison in Christchurch to a Borstal north of Wellington; Arohata Women’s Reformatory. She was visited by her father once in her sentence here. He apparently did so reluctantly and summed up the experience later as “depressing”. During her time in prison she became devoutly Catholic. Juliet was flown to Auckland and taken to maximum security Mt Eden prison. She spent the first three months in solitary confinement. While she was at Mt Eden prison there were five hangings. Juliet was given harsher treatment by the Judge because she was considered the “more dominant personality and the leader of the two.” Prison was raw and brutal for Juliet.  Juliet explains some of her experiences “During the day we did hard labour but I collapsed after two weeks and then I started sewing uniforms. I memorised the few books I had; screeds of the stuff. In prison we got little time alone except the nights — nights were a great blessing, not having to share a room. And when the light goes out and there’s nothing, then the light goes on inside your head.” The whole time she was incarcerated, Juilet received no visits from any member of her family, and their correspondence with her was infrequent. On September 12th, 1954, Walter Perry and Hilda Hulme left New Zealand. Perry said, speaking to press “We firmly believe Juliet is mad. Mrs Perry is sorry to leave Juliet, but she believes that Jonathon now has the greater need of her.”

Five and a half years passed. On December 4th, 1959, the NZ Secretary of State for Justice, announces that now twenty one year old Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme were released in an order some weeks earlier from prison and given new identities. “Neither girl knows where the other is living.”

PRESENT LIFE – PAULINE PARKER

Fig 6. Hilary Nathan

Pauline Parker became Hilary Nathan. After she was released from prison, Hilary studied towards a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Auckland, graduating in 1964.  She then spent a year in Wellington at the New Zealand Library School. Colleagues at library school described her as mysterious and secretive. A close friend, who had no idea who she was, said there was something from her past she kept well-hidden. In 1996, Woman’s Day reporter Chris Cooke found and tracked down now, aged 58, Hilary Nathan. Living in the village of Hoo, just out of the historic city of Rochester in Kent. There she ran a horse riding school for children. As Hilary didn’t want to be interviewed for the Woman’s Day article, her sister Wendy expanded on some of details about her life subsequent to the murder. Wendy said Hilary failed in a bid to become a nun but, now, “she is a nun in her way. She’s living in solitude. She’s deeply religious. She leads a very unusual existence. She hasn’t got a TV or a radio, so would never have heard what Anne Perry had to say and she wouldn’t care. She doesn’t have any contact with the outside world – she’s a reclusive, really. She’s a devout Roman Catholic and spends much of her time in prayer. She committed the most terrible crime and has spent 40 years repaying it by keeping away from people and doing her own little thing. I loved her and she still loves me. I accept what happened in our lives was an absolute mistake. But, looking back, she said it was something that grew and grew out of all proportion. After it happened, she was very sorry about it. It took her about five years to realise what she had done.” As of 2011, Hilary Nathan lives in Scotland in the remote Orkney islands. Where she continued to run a horse riding school.

PRESENT LIFE – JULIET HULME

Fig 7. Anne Perry

Juliet Hulme became Anne Perry. After being released from prison, Anne Perry returned to England and became a flight attendant. For a period she lived in the United States, where she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1968. She was discovered and outed as the alias of Juliet Hulme in 1994 during all the hype around ‘Heavenly Creatures’. Upon being discovered Anne clarified some things about her relationship with Pauline. Anne claimed to be on mood altering drugs for her tuberculosis which altered her judgement. Anne also asserted that even though the friendship was obsessive, it was never sexual. “It was no teenage passion, I had never even been kissed. There was nothing sexy about it at all. We were two teenage girls and going to an all girls school. Who would your friend be but another girl”. Anne Perry later settled in the Scottish village of where she lived with her mother.

In 2009 a documentary called Anne Perry: Interiors was released. This film gives an intimate insight into Perry’s life. The documentary suggests that Anne Perry lives a very isolated life. Anne Perry in the film seems reluctant to talk about the murder. Even with close friends and family. Having only a few close friends, her brother Johnathon among them and a close friend that lives across the street from her, Meg Macdonald. The neighbor explains how she met Anne.

She goes on to explain that Anne had a secret relationship with her father before his death and it was only in recent years that Anne had became closer to her brother. Concluding that she believes Anne was hurt further by her family’s shame of her. Continuing a lifetime of seemingly being shunned in one way or another by her family.

Anne touches upon in the documentary the experience of going to Mt Eden prison.

Anne Perry published her first crime novel in 1979; The Carter Street Hangman’. Since then, Anne Perry has become one of the United Kingdom’s most successful crime novelists, writing over sixty novels. The documentary paints a picture of Anne being obsessive when it comes to her writing. At one point Anne claims that without writing she would have nothing to live for.

Reaching the apex of the film. Anne is confronted by her friend Meg Macdonald about her evasiveness. Meg is frustrated by Anne isolating herself from the world. She believes that opening up about the events of the 22nd of June 1954 may be cathartic for Anne.

CONCLUSION

22 June 2019. Today’s date as I record this. Today is the 65th anniversary of the death of Honorah Parker. The matricide in Victoria Park all those years ago still manages to shock and captivate inquisitive minds worldwide. With both Hilary and Anne living in Scotland and living only approximately 160km apart. One can only wonder, on this date, the shortest day of the year. Do the once inseparable pair ever reminisce on those times in Borovnia over 65 years ago, as the two most glorious beings in creation; Gina and Deborah.

SOURCES

Articles
Heavenly Creatures (Primary Resource) – http://members.tripod.com/hc_faq/contents.htm
Christchurch City Libraries – http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/Digitised/ParkerHulme/Page25.asp
NZ Herald – https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10371147

Videos
Anne Perry: Interiors – https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/anne-perry-interiors/episodes/s1-e1

Audio
Radio New Zealand – https://www.rnz.co.nz/radionz/programmes/featured-audio/audio/2543917/mrs-parker

Books
Peter Graham, So Brilliantly Clever, 2011

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