Parker - Hulme Murder Case
Source: Gurr, Thomas and Cox, H.H. Famous Australasian Crimes. London: Muller, c1957. p148-167
Death in a Cathedral City
Christchurch is as English as a muffin.
English cars are parked neatly in the square, across which falls the pointed shadow of the soaring spire of the cathedral. From the cars step red-faced hearty men wearing tweed trout-fishermen's hats and expensive but sagging suits of hairy-looking tweed. They hand out their ladies, who wear cashmere jumpers and tweed skirts and sensible shoes, and they walk into the hotels, the United Services and Warners, talking together in accents so entirely English that no county in all England can rival them for English purity.
These are the landed proprietors of the Canterbury Plains and their ladies, all financially comfortable after years and years of raising fat lambs for export in the best possible climate and on the best possible pastures. Transport them to the England whence their great-grandfathers came a century ago and more, and set them down upon landed estates, and they would become squires in a minute, and as naturally as breathing. Today they come into New Zealand's third city from their rich farms and they are happy in the Englishness of the atmosphere of the cathedral city.
In the spring, crowds of daffodils dance on the green banks of a winding little river, called, inevitably, the Avon, a river so English that you suspect it of being an art director's creation. The water, running crystal clear, is so shallow that the ridiculously fat trout have a hard time dodging the wheels of the bicycles which university undergraduates, their black gowns flapping, have a habit of riding along the river bed. Under the oaks, the willows, the planes and the beeches the roses riot.
You will see houses and shops similar to those of New Zealand's Christchurch in many an English provincial city, and when you are walking along the flat, tree-lined streets in the twilight, with the starlings twittering sleepily in the branches you will experience the peace and the gentleness which you have felt in cities like Salisbury and Cambridge and Exeter.
The "Canterbury Pilgrims", the 791 settlers who arrived here in 1848, found that Christchurch had been laid out for them with mathematical care by the founder, an Anglo-Irish Protestant named John Robert Godley, who, having selected the incredibly flat plain on the western side of the Port Hills, tidily staked out the home sites. From that day, everything about Christchurch has been tidy, from the street gutters to the thinking of the citizens.
the crime of the Murdering Girls struck Christchurch with cataclysmic
One was sixteen years of age. The other was fifteen. They wore the white blouses and blue tunics that were uniform at Christchurch Girls' High School. Different as they were in family background, in appearance, and in manner, they were close friends, bound together, it seemed, in one of those intimacies which are so common among adolescents, which seem so tremendously important at the time, and which invariably end with schooldays. But this was no ordinary friendship. It was deep and dark, and it was to become terrible.
Pauline Yvonne Parker was the sixteen-year-old one, a dark and dumpy girl, five feet three inches tall, with cold brown eyes gleaming watchfully from her olive-skinned face. She walked with the suspicion of a limp. When she was five years old, she contracted osteomyelitis, as a result of which she spent several months in hospital, and for which, over a period of three years, she had a series of operations. While other little girls of her age were laughing and playing in the sunshine, little Pauline Parker had to lie in bed, weary month after weary month, and watch them through the window.
Because of her slight lameness, Pauline Parker at sixteen was unable to participate in the tennis and the running and the other sports at the girls' high school. Her friend and classmate, Juliet Hulme, owned a pony and often rode it when she came to visit her, and so Pauline had developed an interest in horses. Lameness did not matter, she said, when you were in the saddle. For some time she had been pestering her parents for permission to keep a pony, so that, like her friend Juliet, she could become a member of the Horse and Pony Club.
Pauline's father and mother said "No". Their daughter was becoming a constant worry to them. In the house she often pointedly ignored them. ("Pauline kept me out of her life," the father said sadly.) She was constantly writing novels. One night, sitting before the fire, she volunteered that she was writing an opera. This was a rare kind of admission for her to make, but on this occasion, burning with the creative urge, she could not repress the information.
Then there was Pauline's friendship with Juliet Hulme. Pauline was crazy about Juliet, could not stop talking about her, seemed perpetually to be in her company. Pauline's mother and father could see all the factors which were responsible for their daughter's lack of progress at school. Possession of a pony, concentration on yet another craze, would result in marks even lower.
But Pauline had a pony. She kept it secretly in a paddock, had been keeping it there for weeks, ever since, with the advice of her good friend Juliet, she had bought it with money she obtained nobody knew where. That was typical of the slyness of the lame Pauline, who among other forbidden things had for a time been sneaking into a boy's bedroom at night.
When the news about the pony was broken to them by the dark and determined Pauline, her parents shrugged their shoulders in a resigned manner and agreed to let her keep it, seeing she had had it so long and seeing, of course, that if they did not agree Pauline would metaphorically tear the house down.
And all Pauline's parents wanted was a happy home. They had been through so much trouble together during their twenty-three years as man and wife, had had so many difficulties to overcome.
In the first place, they were not married. The obstacle to the performance of a formal ceremony of marriage was not stated during the progress of the Christchurch case. Whatever the reason, the parents of Pauline Parker, in an extraordinary gesture of honesty, proclaimed the irregularity of their union for all the world to see. On the front door of the near-white painted house in a Christchurch suburb, the ground floor of which was their home, there was a carefully lettered notice: "Mr. Rieper… Mrs. Parker."
Herbert Rieper, a gentle, pipe-smoking, carpet-slippered little man, owned a reasonably successful wholesale fish business in Christchurch city. Honora Mary Parker had been a good and loving wife to him. They had had four children. The eldest was eighteen-year-old Wendy, who had been no trouble at all to them, and who was an affectionate daughter. Then there was Pauline, over whom they had had all the worry and expense when she had the bad time with osteomyelitis as a little girl, and who, now that she was sixteen and had her head full of strange ideas, was still a worry.
There had been two others, and they didn't like to think about them. One had been a mongoloid, a flat-faced, drooling imbecile, who had been placed in an institution. And the fourth child had been born a "blue baby", with a congenital heart defect. Mercifully it had died.
Pauline's schoolmate, Juliet Hulme, was the biggest worry of all for Herbert Rieper and Honora Mary Parker. The two girls were crazy about each other. They used to sprawl on the lawn of the Hulme home and write "books" together. They had all kinds of secrets. It deemed they could not bear to be away from each other. Their mutual affection was so intense that it seemed to be abnormal. Mrs. Parker had taken Pauline to Dr. Bennett, and while their daughter waited in the consulting room had told him all about the friendship. The doctor had had Pauline into the surgery, and had examined her and talked to her.
When the mother suggested that Pauline should leave the high school, and go to another school where her progress might be better, Pauline surprisingly agreed. And then, one day, Juliet's father called at the house, and said he was leaving New Zealand and was taking Juliet with him. This was the happiest news that Herbert and Honora Mary had heard for many a day. To Pauline, it meant disaster.
Juliet Hulme. Fifteen years of age. Tall for her age, five feet seven inches, and slim. Shoulder-length light brown hair. The clear pink-and-white complexion of an English hedge rose - Juliet was an English girl, bomb-shocked in the blitz at the age of two. Slanting grey eyes, the clear eyes of youth; high forehead; a slim and graceful body, and a confident air. Now she was intelligent and attractive. Soon she would be intelligent and beautiful.
Juliet Hulme (pronounced, in the English manner, Hume) was an intellectual, born and bred. The tall and stooping figure of her father, bespectacled, forty-six-year-old Dr. Henry Rainsford Hulme, had been a familiar one during World War II in the corridors of the War Office. One of England's leading mathematical scientists, he was one of two "boffins" who worked out the degaussing method which countered the German magnetic mine.
After the war, young Dr. Hulme was being regarded as one of England's bright minds in the atomic era when he dismayed his colleagues by announcing that he was going to New Zealand to the 2,200 pounds a year post of Rector of Canterbury University College at Christchurch, and to membership of the Senate of New Zealand University. Hulme was not running away from his work in atomic research because of ideological or any other reservations. He was leaving for the single and simple reason that his elder child, Juliet (there was a son, Jonathan, five years younger), was threatened with active tuberculosis. Doctors felt that the clear air of "the colonies", away from industrial smog, would benefit the girl tremendously. With his coolly aristocratic wife, Hilda Marion, and the children, Hulme arrived in New Zealand in 1948. Early in 1953 they put Juliet in hospital. After four months' treatment she was discharged, but not as cured.
If there is any overseas city in which an expatriate Englishman can feel at home, it is surely the cathedral city of Christchurch. Dr. Hulme lived in a sixteen-roomed stone mansion with extensive grounds, called "Ilam". His salary, by New Zealand standards, was a good one. His wife, Hilda, was prominent in welfare work and in cultural movements And his position as Rector of the university college established him in the front rank of the honoured citizens of Christchurch. The Anglican Bishop was one of his best friends.
Walter Andrew Bowman Perry, another Englishman, arrived in Christchurch,
and the relationship between Henry and Hilda Hulme was never the
Big, moustached Perry was an engineer, and a man of considerable charm. He was in Christchurch on a prolonged business visit, and, like the Hulmes, was interested in sociology. He promised to assist them in the conduct of a marriage guidance bureau. When the Hulmes suggested he might be more comfortable in a self-contained flat which was part of "Ilam", he was glad to move in. At the beginning, they were all friends together, the donnish Rector, the calm and queenly Mrs. Hulme, the lively young Jonathan, and Juliet. The latter could quote pages of the classical poets, knew something about good music, could model in clay like a born artist, could embroider like a maiden aunt or a ship's captain, and also wrote. A brilliant girl, Juliet. All of a sudden, like other brilliant people, this fifteen-year-old girl lost one of her enthusiasms: she had decided that riding no longer interested her, and wanted to sell her horse. The obliging Perry was glad to buy it for 50 from his little friend, who now had a secret reason for getting all the money she could.
Then one afternoon, Juliet found her mother and Walter Andrew Bowman Perry in bed together. And, shortly afterwards, Dr. Hulme resigned the rectorship of the university college to return to England, where his outstanding scientific talent was required in the British atomic research team led by Sir William Penned. He would, he told friends, take Jonathan with him. Mrs. Hulme, however, would remain with Juliet: "The girl's lungs aren't too strong, you know, and the English winter.. ."
Then the Hulmes, who had been aware of, and disturbed by, their daughter's obsession with her friend, the daughter of the fish-shop proprietor, made an alarming discovery. Juliet and the dumpy Parker girl, who often came to stay With Juliet at weekends, had written what they called: "novels". Well adolescents did things like that. But the alarming fact was, the girls had decided to go to America and sell their novels there. And, as everybody knew, they were two very determined young ladies. Their friendship could be quite unhealthy. Twice, Dr. Hulme had called on that quiet fishman, Rieper, and talked to him about it. In the circumstances, it would be an excellent plan to separate the girls before something embarrassing, happened.
And so, Dr. Hulme told Juliet he intended to take her with him and Jonathan as far as South Africa. She could return alone to her mother in Christchurch. (Looming over this father-daughter discussion was the affair between Perry and Mrs. Hulme, which the father guessed at, and the daughter on the evidence of her own eyes, knew about. But neither admitted it to the other. The relationship between a fortysix-year-old father and a bright fifteen-year-old daughter is not always an easy one.)
Juliet's reaction was a flat demand. Her friend Pauline must go to South Africa with her. Impossible, replied Dr. Hulme tetchily. Impossible, said Honora Mary Parker, firmly, when the two girls put it to her.
For Honora Mary Parker, impossible was a fatal word. Her daughter and her daughter's intimate friend were already planning her murder, with all the enthusiasm and excitement which two high-school girls might display in arranging the details of a school dance.
3 p.m. on June 22nd 1954, a grey winter's day, Honora Diary Parker,
Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme left a refreshment kiosk in Victoria
Park, on the Cashmere Hills on the outskirts of Christchurch. Topcoated
against the cold, they walked down the track.
Juliet Hulme hurried along in front. Her hand in her pocket clutched part of the plot a collection of brightly coloured pebbles, picked up by the roadside during the preceding few days. When she had rounded a bend in the track and was out of sight of the Parkers, she scattered the pebbles.
Pauline Parker, walking by her mother's side with that suggestion of a limp, also had her hand in her coat pocket, and also clutched part of the plot half a brick, which Juliet had brought from her home to the Parkers' at noon that day. Pauline had slipped the piece of brick into the foot of an old stocking, thus making an effective sling-shot.
was sixty yards in front, and still out of sight down the track,
when Honora Parker caught sight of a pink pebble, and Pauline remarked
how pretty it was. Honora bent down to pick it up. Behind her, Pauline
pulled the sling-shot from her pocket, braced her legs, and swung.
The brick crashed on her mother's head, and she collapsed.
And that was the moment when Pauline wished it hadn't happened. But some force possessed her, drove her on, some inner voice which commanded: It is too late to stop! She struck again, and again, and now Juliet, panting from a sprint along the track, was kneeling beside her, and swinging the sling-shot. Blood was spurting from twenty-four wounds in Honora Parker's face and head. Sobbing hysterically, the girls looked at each other and at their victim. The blood was only trickling now. They had beaten Honora Mary Parker to death.
The plan had to be completed.
Blood was dripping from their hands when they ran the four hundred yards back to the kiosk. "It's Mummy!" gasped Pauline to the proprietress, Mrs. Agnes Ritchie. "She's terrible! I think she's dead. We tried to carry her. She was too heavy."
"Yes, it's her mother!" Juliet burst out Her voice was breaking with hysteria. "She's covered with blood!"
Pauline pointed down the path, in the direction in which the body lay, and as she made the gesture Mrs. Ritchie saw that blood was spattered upon her face. "Don't make us go down there again!" Pauline breathed.
And then: "We were coming back along the track. Mummy tripped on a plank and hit her head when she landed. She kept falling, and her head kept banging and bumping as she fell."
"I'll always remember her head banging," cried Juliet dramatically.
Mrs Ritchie called her husband, the girls went to a sink to wash
the blood off themselves, and lairs. Ritchie heard them laughing
hysterically as they did so.
Kenneth Nelson Ritchie ran down the track. Under a tall pine tree by the track, and lying on a bed of pine needles, was the battered body of Honora Mary Parker. Ritchie hurried back to the kiosk and telephoned the police and the ambulance. The police took the girls away, and the ambulance took the body away. Doctors counted forty-five separate wounds upon it.
Three weeks later, a magistrate committed Pauline Yvonne Parker and Juliet Marion Hulme for trial on a charge of having murdered Honora Mary Parker.
The trial was the most tremendous event in the history of Christchurch. In a city where Rugby Union Football seems to challenge Anglicanism as the popular religion, it drew to the court-room, on one day of the hearing, a crowd of beribboned supporters of the opposing teams in an interprovincial match, Canterbury v. Waikato, who remained in court until within a few minutes of game time.
To the reporters who had flown in from Australia, to the Crown Prosecutor and the defence, to the jury, and to the people of New Zealand, stirred as they never had been before by human tragedy, one single exhibit was the core of the case. It was Pauline Parker's diary, and its contents, together with medical evidence and legal argument, were to decide the vital question: Were Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme sane?
Most decidedly they were, Crown Prosecutor Alan W. Brown told the jury. Furthermore, they were dirty-minded little girls. The motive for the murder, the Crown Prosecutor said in measured tones, arose from the opposition of Mrs. Parker to the girls' plans to go overseas together. Their friendship was one of intense devotion. They spent a good deal of time in each other's beds (but the Crown Prosecutor did not add there was no real evidence of any immoral physical relationship between them). They scribbled, said Mr. Brown scornfully, what they called novels (so, the Crown Prosecutor did not see fit to remark, have thousands of adolescents, some of whom eventually have become novelists, some of whom have become lawyers).
"You may feel pity for these girls, but pity and sentiment have no part in British justice," declaimed the Crown Prosecutor to the twelve in the jury box.
And so, clearly and dispassionately, Crown Prosecutor Brown described the crime, and the confessions of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, made shortly after its commission, to Senior Detective MacDonald Brown. Revealing passages of these statements to the police were:
Juliet Hulme's: "I gave the brick to Pauline…. I know it
was put in the stocking…. I wasn't quite sure what was going to
happen when we went to Victoria Park. I thought we might have been
able to frighten Mrs Rieper [Parker] with the brick, and she would
have given her consent for me and Pauline to stay together. I saw
Pauline hit her mother with the brick in the stocking. I took it
and hit her, too. After the first blow was struck, I knew it would
be necessary for us to kill her. I was terrified, hysterical."
From Pauline Parker's: "I killed my mother. Had made up my mind to do it some days before. I don't know how many times I hit her; a great many, I imagine."
Crown Prosecutor produced the diary which had been found in Pauline's
bedroom. It was a bound book, with a space for every day in the
year, of the kind so many business men use to jot down in outline
the record of their activities. The entries were written in ink,
in clear, adult calligraphy. The story they told was one of the
strangest ever read in a court of law; it became a phantasmagoria;
the twisted shapes of a disordered imagination seemed to swirl visibly
in the heavy air of the court-room. And the two adolescents sat
in the dock and listened to its recital with calm detachment, Pauline
with a brown felt hat shielding her cunning brown eyes, Juliet,
a pale green Paisley scarf tied round her fair hair, staring coolly
from her slanted eyes at one person in court after another. From
time to time, Juliet leaned across the wardress who sat between
them, and spoke to dumpy Pauline, who did little more than nod in
The diary was not put in as evidence in its entirety. But, as the prosecution and the defence introduced passages from it, the diary was revealed as one of the strangest and most terrible exhibits in criminal history.
The diary referred to Juliet by the pet name of Deborah, and revealed that Pauline was affectionately known to her friend as Gina. Mr. Brown read these extracts:
"February 23th, 1954: Why could not Mother die? Dozens, thousands of people are dying. Why not Mother, and Father too? Life is very hard."
"April 28th: Anger against Mother boiling inside me as she is the main obstacle in my path. Suddenly, means of ridding myself of the obstacle occur to me. If she were to die…"
"June 20th: Deborah and I talked for some time. Afterwards, we discussed our plans for moidering Mother and made them clear. But peculiarly enough, I have no qualms of conscience. Or is it peculiar? We are so made."
(The term "moider" had apparently been acquired by the pair in reading crime fiction. It is the Brooklyn pronunciation of the word "murder".)
"June 21st: Deborah rang and we decided to use a brick in a stocking rather than a sandbag. Mother has fallen in with plans beautifully. Feel quite keyed up."
"June 22nd: I felt very excited last night and sort of nightbefore-Chrisnnas, but I did 'not have pleasant dreams. I am about to rise."
And the top of the page for June 22nd was headed in printed letters: "The Day of the Happy Event."
While his daughter was in custody awaiting trial, Dr. Hulme left for England and his new career, taking the boy, Jonathan, with him. Mrs. Parker lay in her grave in a Christchurch cemetery. And so the parents who were left to stand the ordeal of the gaping crowds in court, and the verbal probing of the barristers, were self-effacing Herbert Rieper and cool, composed Hilda Marion Hulme. She, however, had a bulwark to lean upon: the sturdy Walter Andrew Bowman Perry.
Rieper had two significant pieces of evidence to give: at lunch on the day of the murder, Pauline and Juliet were in high good humour, laughing and joking and in 1953 Pauline had been interested in a boy (later identified by the name Nicholas) who had been staying with them. Rieper had had to send the boy away.
At this time, the mention of Nicholas did not appear to have any particular impact upon Juliet Hulme, who was engaged in a habit she developed through the police court hearing and the trial, of trying to outstare the occupants of the Press box, one after the other… But soon there was to be a violent reaction.
A sensitive and demanding girl was her Juliet, Mrs. Hulme told the court in her serene English accents. Because of the active threat of tuberculosis, she explained, Juliet had had to spend quite a lot of time resting in bed. Her friend Pauline would keep her company, sitting at the bedside. Oh yes, she had read one of the books Juliet had written, and considered it quite ordinary, certainly not over-exciting.
When Dr. Reginald Warren Medlicott, of the southern and Scottish city of Dunedin, was called to give evidence of his psychiatric examination of the accused, there began the real battle to decide the fate of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme. He had talked to the girls, but the diary was the basis on which the prim and precise doctor had formed his views.
Juliet, he said, had told him that Pan was the favourite god of Pauline and herself. The girls believed they lived in "a fourth world", and their god was a more powerful version of the humans' God, having greatly magnified powers.
The girls, said Dr. Medlicott, had extraordinary conceit. A poem written by Pauline Parker was an example. It was called "The Ones I Worship". The second verse:
"I worship the power of these lovely two,
With that adoring love known to so few,
'Tans indeed a miracle, one must feel,
That two such heavenly creatures are real,
Both sets of eyes though different far,
Hold many mysteries strange,
Impassively, they watch the race of man decay and change,
Hatred burning bright in the brown eyes for fuel,
Ivy scorn glitters in the grey eyes, contemptuous and cruel
Why are men such fools they will not realise,
The wisdom that is hidden behind those strange eyes,
And these wonderful people are you and I."
How did the girls feel after the murder? Pauline, said the doctor, showed signs of remorse only when she told him that she now tried always to sleep on her left side. When she slept on the right, her mother "seemed to came back". However, the girls believed that by their own standards what they had done was morally right. Pauline had told him that she and Juliet were sane. Everybody else was off the mark. The views of Juliet and herself were much more logical and sensible.
Early in January, said Dr. Medlicott, Pauline wrote in the diary about Juliet having tuberculosis of one lung, and added: "I spent a wretched night. We agreed it would be wonderful if I could get TB, too."
On January With, Pauline wrote excitedly about the latest scheme. "We have worked out how much prostitutes should earn, 'and how much we should make in this profession," wrote the enthusiastic Miss Parker. "We have spent a really wonderful day, messing around and talking about how much fun we will have in our profession."
An illuminating episode occurred at this stage of Dr. Medlicott's evidence. The doctor was being questioned by the Crown Prosecutor about the diary's revelations of Pauline making repeated nocturnal visits to the bed of the boy Nicholas. According to Pauline, said the doctor, the boy had had sexual relations with the girl only once.
Sexual relations … Juliet Hulme, sitting calmly in the dock, her grey eyes gazing calmly at the official court reporter, suddenly became aware of what Dr. Medlicott was saying. She looked as if she had been struck across the face! Hands clenched, eyes flashing, face suffused, teeth bared, she leaned across the wardress and hissed, rather than whispered, to the dark and impassive Pauline. It was the reaction of a mother who has found her young daughter in bed with the butcher boy.
The motivation of the murder, as the psychiatrist in the witness-box saw it, was the girls' decision to go to America together to have their novels published. The first reference to the planned death of Honora Parlicr appeared in the diary on February lath. In March Pauline was visiting shipping companies. On April 30th (and this was one of the most important entries, in retrospect, in the entire case) she told Juliet that she intended to kill her mother. Early in May, the girls began a campaign of shoplifting to get money towards their projected American trip. On May 27th, Pauline set out alone, in the early hours of the morning, to rob the till in her father's fish shop, but the sight of a policeman on the beat caused her to go home to bed.
The diary rose to a febrile crescendo. On June 19th Pauline wrote: "Our main idea for the day is moider." (Always the Brooklyn rendition of the terrible word which Pauline could never bring herself to write.) "We have worked it out quite clearly."
Now the Crown Prosecutor, who was most ably following his brief, which was to prove that the girls were sane murderers, referred Dr. Medlicott to an entry in the diary of April 17th. Mrs. Hulme had been "perfectly beastly to Deborah". It seemed that Juliet had gone to Perry's rooms and taken a gramophone record. Juliet had had to apologise, and this made the friends feel very cross, so they went to a field, sat on a log, and watched members of a riding club. "We shouted nasty jeering remarks to every rider that passed. About fifty did. This cheered us up greatly, and we came back and wrote out all the Commandments so that we can break them."
Now back to the deadly month of June. Passages from the diary: "We are both stark, staring mad." And "Dr. Hulme is mad-mad as a March hare."
Then there were the Saints, to which the diary referred several times. They were creatures of the imagination, based on film stars, of whom Mario Lanza was one, and the girls had spent a delirious night in bed, imagining encounters with seven of them.
Did the girls know the legal penalty or the killing of Honora Parker, Dr. Medlicott was asked?
the dock, Juliet Hulme answered for him. She drew her finger across
her slim throat, and Pauline Parker looked at her from under the
brim of her brown felt hat and smiled.
The girls, said Dr. Medlicott, were mad. They suffered from a form of insanity in which two persons were joined in their instability - folie a deux. They were a couple of paranoiacs, as all the evidence had gone to show.
And in support of Medlicott, the calm and cogent Dr. Francis O. Bennett went into the witness-box. Of all the expert witnesses, he knew best the characters concerned. He was the Rieper-Parker family doctor, and he agreed that Pauline and Juliet were paranoiacs who were cases of folie d deux. Seven months before the murder, both Dr. Hulme and lairs. Parlcer had consulted him about the close attachment of the two girls. He had thought there was a homosexual relationship between them, and naturally had suggested that they be separated. The next time he saw them was in prison.
"They suffer from paranoia," said Dr. Bennett, "and follow delusion wherever it is. They become antisocial and dangerous. They think they are superior to the general race of man. Intellectually they are a little higher than girls of their own age, but they are not intellectual giants. They had delusions of grandeur, formed a society of their own, and lived in it. In this society they were no longer under the censure and nagging of mothers."
Again the diary; for April 3rd, 1953 Dr. Bennett quoted Pauline: "Today Juliet and I found the key to the fourth world. We saw a gateway through the clouds. We sat on the edge of a path and looked down a hill out over a bay. The island looked beautiful, the sea was blue, and everything was full of peace and bliss. We then realised we had the key. We know now that we are not genii, as we thought. We have an extra part of the brain, which can appreciate the fourth world."
girls, Dr. Bennett related in his steady professional voice, had
bathed together, gone to bed together, had dressed up and acted
together on the lawn in the moonlight. They had made a little cemetery,
and in it they had buried a dead mouse under a cross. When the Queen
visited Christchurch, they made no attempt to see Her Majesty.
The Crown Prosecutor: "Is their relationship homosexual physically?" … "I don't know. I'm inclined to think not."
The girls believed in survival after death. Heaven was for happiness, paradise was for bliss. There was no hell, Juliet had told him in the remand prison. The idea was "so primitive". "The day we killed Mrs Parker," Juliet had added, "I think she knew beforehand what was going to happen. And she did not bear any grudge."
The Crown now called its own medical witnesses, first the senior medical adviser of Avondale Mental Hospital, Auckland, Dr. K. R. Stallworthy, who had examined each girl four times in remand prison, who had read the diary, and who was quite sure that neither girl had a disease of the mind, and that each had known the nature and quality of her act. They had written down what was going to happen. They had given clear accounts of what they had done. They knew it was wrong to murder, they knew they were murdering somebody, they knew it was against the law. A primary requisite for paranoia was the presence of delusions, which he did not admit with these girls. Juliet's mental calibre was that of a highly intelligent person of much greater age. Pauline's intelligence was considerably above average.
Dr. Stallworthy had no doubt there had been a physical homosexual relationship.
Dr. James Edwin Saville, medical officer at Sunnyside Mental Hospital, had interviewed each girl five times. They were sane now, and they were sane when they killed Mrs. Parlcer, he said.
Dr. James Dewar Hunter, superintendent of Sunnyside, echoed Saville: Five interviews, same conclusion. Both sane then, and now.
In his final address, Crown Prosecutor Brown pithily summed up his submission: "These girls are not incurably insane. They are incurably bad."
Pauline Parker, Dr. A. L. Haslam, a brilliant pleader, traversed
the evidence of "this rottenness, this disease" which
had made killers of two paranoiac girls. And for Juliet Hulme, bin
T. A. Gresson followed the same line. He told the jury that in "this
appalling case" the girls were incapable of forming a moral
judgment of what they had done.
The jury was out for two hours and thirteen minutes. The girls returned to the court-room simultaneously with the jurymen, and they smiled and laughed with the gallant disdain of the daughters of French aristocrats arraigned before Fouquier-Tinville.
They took the verdict of "Guilty calmly. With an air of indifference, they heard themselves sentenced to imprisonment during Her Majesty's pleasure.
The crowd streamed out of the grey stone court-house.
At his home, Herbert Rieper sat by the fire and srnoked-his pipe and sighed. Dr. Hulme, having taken his son Jonathan off the liner Himalaya at Marseilles, had reached England by a circuitous route. And in Christchurch, Mrs. Hulme was changing her name by deed poll to Mrs. Perry.
They sent Pauline Parker to Arohata Borstal, near Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, and Juliet Hulme to Mount Eden, the grim prison at Auckland where all New Zealand's hanging is done, and where, in her first year of sewing uniforms there were four evening executions on New Zealand's portable steel scaffold.
At Arohata, Pauline Parker studied for a year under the Government's correspondence school scheme. In her cell, she sat for the school certificate, marking graduation from high school, and passed.
her first day in Mount Eden in her prison dress of blue denim, Juliet
Hulme was introduced to the sewing machine, and to enable her to
operate it more efficiently a prostitute prisoner was kind enough
to clip her long, well-cared-for finger-nails. Alone in her cell,
Juliet knits, writes, according to competent judges, brilliantly,
and studies languages. When she refers to the murder, which seems
to be fading from her mind, she explains that she participated in
it out of loyalty to "Gina"her dark friend, Pauline.
And, though "Her Majesty's pleasure" is generally accepted as a sentence of twenty-five years, it would not be surprising if that of the two Christchurch girls, Juliet Hulme will be the one who will serve a short sentence; and it is possible that, under another name, the world in time will recognise a writer of talent.
This assumes that Juliet Hulme's tuberculosis (a disease found often in cases of sexual divergence) has been subdued, if not conquered; that the New Zealand prison system provides psychiatric treatment of a kind which, extended in 1953 to both Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, could have taken them out of the nightmare world they were making for themselves.
When Mr Justice Adams passed sentence, a man in the public gallery called "I protest!" An Australian editorial writer heard in the minds of thousands of others an echo of this cry against the sentence, but for a different reason: "It is that two young human beings should ever be in such a way the victims of a dark conspiracy of circumstance so evil in its purpose and so appalling in its outcome."
The psychiatrists will explain it all, however, and contradict each other in the explanation. Less knowing people will ponder upon the fact that it was the same world of the normal child's imagination which Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme extended into a universe of sinister fantasy and gross design. They had vicious and depraved tendencies, and without each other they might have remained problem children; but their coming together, as if by the magnetism of some strange force in the hinterland of their minds, was a fatal conjunction of abnormality.
"Sane, legally, the girls may have been when, threatened vith separation, they committed the murder, but it was surely the kind of sanity that mocks at all reality. The normal mind shrinks from the implications of this tragic story. In many other crimes, lessons of some sort or other are to be found. Here there is little but horror, sadness, and bafflement."