Parker - Hulme Murder Case

Source: The Press. Monday August 30 1954, p.12

Girls guilty of murder

Jury rejects plea of insanity - Indefinite term of imprisonment.

Click here to view pdf of news articlePauline Yvonne Parker, aged 16, and Juliet Marion Hulme, aged 15 years and 10 months, were found guilty by a jury in the Supreme Court on Saturday on a charge of murdering Honora Mary Parker, mother of the accused Parker, at Christchurch on June 22.

Mr Justice Adams sentenced both accused to detention during Her Majesty's pleasure; both accused being under the age of 18.

The jury reached their decision after a retirement of two hours and a quarter. His Honour's summing up took an hour and 20 minutes. When the foreman gave the unanimous verdict of the jury, a man in the public gallery upstairs stood up and called out: "Your Honour, I object." The Court crier called: "Silence," and the man was quickly hustled out of the gallery by the police.

The two accused stood impassively in the dock from the time the jury returned with their verdict until after sentence was passed. At one stage Parker looked across at Hulme, whispered something and they both smiled.

There were about 125 persons present on Saturday, the sixth day of the trial. Some waited a considerable time outside the Court to see the girls leave the building but were disappointed. After the verdict had been announced his Honour said counsel would recall that he had drawn their attention to the fact that the question of the accuseds age might arise.

Counsel submitted that there was evidence of the age of each accused. His Honour then put it to the jury to rule on as a question of fact, and the foreman said they were all satisfied that each accused was under the age of 18. His Honour added to the record his own decision that they were both under 18.

His Honour conveyed to the jury the thanks of their country for their long and careful attention to the troublesome case with which they had had to deal for six days and which had meant enforced absence from their homes. It was usual to grant exemption from jury service for a period after such a case he said, but, as he knew many citizens were glad to serve their country such a way, he would not give a direction that all be exempted. Each member of the jury who desired exemption should inform the Registrar and a direction would be given that each such juror be exempt from jury service for three years.

The Crown Prosecutor (Mr L W. Brown) and with him Mr P. T. Mahon, appeared for the Crown. Parker was represented by Dr. A. L. Haslam and Mr J. A. Wicks, and Hulme by Mr T. A. Gresson and Mr B. McClelland.

Both accused pleaded not guilty and the defence was a plea of insanity. All the evidence was completed on Friday. On Saturday counsel for the defence and the Crown addressed the jury and his Honour summed up.