Parker - Hulme Murder Case

Source: 'Hulme' describes teenage plot to kill friends mother. The Press, 20th September 1994, p.3

‘Hulme’ describes plot to kill friends mother

A woman jailed as a teenager 40 years ago for helping to murder her best friend’s mother in Christchurch spoke last night of the reasoning behind the pair’s actions.

Juliet Hulme helped Pauline Parker kill Pauline’s mother, Honora Parker, by hitting her over the head with a half-brick in a stocking in the early 1950’s. Last night it was revealed Juliet had changed her name to Anne Perry and was living and working as a murder mystery writer in Scotland. Parker, who has also changed her name, now reportedly works in an Auckland bookshop and has become a devoted Roman Catholic.

The 15-year-olds spent five years in prison before disappearing on their release after the Justice Department gave them new identities. Perry said on TV3 news last night that the murder was plotted to ensure the two friends could stay together when her parents decided to separate and emigrate to South Africa. Pauline was very distressed and she desperately wanted to come with us Perry said. I felt that I was running out on a person who stood by me when I was in trouble (with illness in hospital) and that I was betraying her by just leaving and doing nothing. I really believed that if I didn’t take her with us that she would take her own life and I made a very, very wrong decision.

That decision was to murder Parker’s mother. (Pauline) felt that her mother was the one thing standing between her coming with us which to her seemed to represent safety, warmth, happiness — a chance to be the kind of person she wanted to be. I didn’t have the strength to say no, this is wrong, no matter what, and to just walk away.

According to court reports, Hulme and Parker took turns at repeatedly clubbing Mrs Parker over the head in a remote area of a local park. Mrs Parker died in a matter of minutes from 45 blows to the head. During the case, the prosecution said the pair were lesbians and called them dirty-minded little girls.

The murder has been the subject of a book, a play, and most recently a movie, Heavenly Creatures. They all focus on the alleged teenage lesbian affair between the two girls. However, Perry said there was no sexual relationship between the pair. Pauline was a really good friend, Perry said. We had all sorts of romantic dreams. I like women very much as friends but for romance give me men.

Perry said the pair had not had contact since their prison sentences. She had been too busy trying to survive and rebuild my life. That life now revolves around her Mormon religion and writing murder mysteries. Perry has sold more than 3 million of her 20 titles, which include Sudden Fearful Death, Face of a Stranger, and Dangerous Mourning. She said she had not drawn on her own experience, much of which had been blocked out of her memory, in any of her stories. You’ll find that none of the crimes are described in any detail, none of them inflict more pain than is necessary, Perry said.