Pauline Parker & Juliet Hulme – 1954

By | November 12, 2016

“Mummy has been hurt – covered with blood”

pauline-parker-juliet-hulme

Parker, left, and Hulme leave the court after a preliminary hearing

THE CRIME:

Pauline Yvonne Parker was born illegitimately on 26 May 1938 at Christchurch, New Zealand and was bored with her life at 31 Gloucester Street until she met Juliet Marion Hulme. Recently arrived from England, Hulme had been born in Blackheath, London on 28 October 1938. Her father was the physicist Dr Henry Hulme. The two girls became close friends but their friendship spilled over into physical passion and they consummated their affair and “enacted how the saints would make love”. They “scribbled in exercise books effusions which they called novels, spent a good deal of time in each other’s beds”. Both sets of parents tried to break up the relationship seeing it as unhealthy.

Eventually, Huline’s father made plans to move to South Africa, having discovered his wife was having an affair. Parker wanted to accompany her friend but her mother, Honora, forbade it. The girls decided to kill 45-year-old Honora Parker. On 22 June they put half a brick into a stocking and in Victoria Park in Christchurch, Hulme dropped an ornamental stone so that Mrs Parker would bend over to pick it up and then Parker and Hulme repeatedly smashed the woman about the head with the brick. They ran to a teashop at 3.30pm where they said, “Please help us. Mummy has been hurt —covered with blood” before adding that Mrs Parker had fallen and banged her head and “it kept bumping and banging”. When the police found the body it had 45 wounds on the head; they arrested the girls.

WHERE:

Victoria Park, Cashmere Hills, Christchurch, New Zealand

WHEN:

Tuesday 22 June 1954

THE AFTERMATH:

Pauline Parker had kept a diary of her affair and in it were references to “moidering” her mother. Parker and Hulme went on trial on 23 August 1954 for murder in Christchurch and were found guilty on 29 August. Both were sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. They were each released in 1958. A condition of their release was that they were never to meet or contact each other again. Both moved to Great Britain. Parker became a devout Catholic, changed her name to Hilary Nathan and lived in the small village of Hoo near Strood, Kent where she ran a children’s riding school. Hulme moved to the USA where she became a MormOn before settling in Portmahomack, Scotland, with her mother. She changed her name to Anne Perry and is a very successful crime novelist. Her first novel, The Cater Street Hangman, was published in 1979.

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

The story was made into the film Heavenly Creatures in 1994. Melanie Lynskey played Pauline and Kate Winslet Juliet.

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