Parker - Hulme Murder Case

Source: Star-Sun, 30 August 1954, p.4.

Teenagers sentenced to detention for murder.

Click here to view pdf of news articlePauline Yvonne Parker, aged 16, and Juliet Marion Hulme, aged 15 years 10 months, were sentenced in the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon to be detained during her Majesty’s pleasure.

They had just been found guilty by a jury on a charge of murdering Parker’s mother, Honora Mary Parker (also known as Rieper), at Victoria Park on Tuesday, June 22. In returning their finding that the girls were guilty, the jury rejected a plea by the defense that the girls were not guilty on the grounds of insanity.

The jury’s verdict was the climax of a trial lasting six days. Many features of the case made it one that will go down in history as one of the most famous trials in the annals of British justice. The evidence caused sensation after sensation, and excerpts from Parker’s 1953 and 1954 diaries, read by both sides, contained some remarkable material. That the two girls killed Mrs Parker was not disputed, and the jury was left mainly to decide between the Crown’s submission that the girls were sane and the defense that the girls were grossly insane, and were suffering from paranoia of the exalted type in a setting of folie a deux.

The Crown case was presented by Mr A.W.Brown and Mr P.T. Mahon. That for the defence was presented by Mr T.A. Gresson and Mr B McClelland, who appeared for Hulme, and Dr A. L. Haslam and Mr J.A. Wicks, who appeared for Parker. Mr Justice Adams, who presided over the trial, summed up after the final addresses by counsel on Saturday, and the jury retired at 12.41 p.m. The keen public interest taken in the trial throughout the week was intensified on Saturday, and the Court was again full when the jury returned at 2.53 p.m. Parker, standing on the far side of the dock from the jury box, looked impassively ahead. Hulme, however, scanned the faces of the jury, and for a moment perhaps, there was a touch of anxiety in her expression. A smile playing around her lips disappeared. She turned to the front, and looked straight ahead.


The Registrar (Mr G.E. Pollock) asked the Foreman for the jury’s verdict. Without hesitation he replied: "Guilty," in each case. The other members of the jury indicated that they agreed with the Foreman’s announcement.

Suddenly the dead silence of the Court was shattered by a young man who leaped forward at the back of the upstairs gallery, out of the sight of the two prisoners. "I protest. I object," he cried. "Silence, " called the Court crier. There was no need for his Honor to intervene. The interjector turned toward the exit, and he was hustled from the Court by two policemen.

His Honor then said that the counsel might recall that early in the trial he has mentioned that a question of age might arise. Section 5 of the Capital Punishment Act, 1950, provided that where a person convicted of an offense punishable with death was under 18 the sentence to be passed should be a sentence to detention during her Majesty’s pleasure instead of a sentence of death.

The point now arose, said his Honor, and he would like to hear counsel on the matter. Mr Gresson said it was submitted that there was clear evidence from Mrs Hulme as her daughter’s age. Dr Haslam said that Mr Rieper had given similar evidence in respect of his daughter, Parker.

His Honor said he was thinking of a matter of procedure. It was a question of fact that required some determination. Mr Brown, who, like the others, had found the trial a great ordeal, broke down as he was suggesting to his Honor that the pertinent evidence be read to the jury. He recovered quickly.


His Honor said that he would submit the matter to the jury. "Mr Foreman," he said, "in view of the verdict you have returned, it now requires to be ascertained whether each of the prisoners is under the age of 18.

I now ask you to answer that question with regard to each of the prisoners, doing so upon the evidence already before you in this case. The only evidence is that to which the Crown Prosecutor has referred. In the case of Parker, her father has sworn to her age, and she is well under the age of 18. In the case of Hulme, her mother has sworn to her age and she is well under the age of 18. I suggest to you that you may be able to answer the question after a short consultation in the box.

The jury conferred, and the Foreman announced that they has found both the prisoners to be under the age of 18.


Each prisoner was asked if she had anything to say, but neither responded. Instead, their counsel said there was nothing they could add to the evidence before the Court. The prisoners, who were showing no signs of emotion, were then sentenced. "You both being under the age of 18, the sentence of the Court is detention during her Majesty’s pleasure. That sentence is passed upon both of you," said his Honor. After a short pause, he added: "The prisoners may now be removed."

As the girls left the Court, Parker stared straight ahead. Hulme looked to the side, but her mother, Mrs. Hulme, apparently did not see her. Mrs. Hulme’s eyes were closed.

His Honor thanked the jury for their long and careful attention to a troublesome case, and said that any juror who so desired would be exempt from further service on juries for three years. The girls were held in the cells upstairs until most of the crowd had gone. About twenty women and men stayed on, however, until the girls were driven away at 3.40 p.m. to start their sentence.