7.2 Basic facts of the "Parker Hulme" murder


Parker, Honora Mary (Mrs) (aged 45)

Tuesday, June 22, 1954. (mid-winter)

Between 3:05 and 3:30 p.m. (est. 3:20 p.m.)

Victoria Park, Cashmere Hills (part of Port Hills range), Christchurch, NZ. Near a small 'rustic' wooden bridge on sloping grade that was part of a steep slope, approximately 420 yards along a path from the Tea Kiosk at Victoria Park.


Post Mortem:
Performed by Dr Colin Thomas Bushby Pearson on June 23, 1954. The cause of death was shock associated with multiple wounds of the head and fractures of the skull.

Dr Pearson testified he examined the body of Honora Parker when the body was lying in the plantation at Victoria Park, around 7:30 pm, June 22, 1954. Rigidity had not set in. There were multiple lacerated wounds on the head and face and minor injuries on the fingers.

Dr Pearson stated there were 45 discernable injuries on the body, (head, neck, face and hands), 24 of them being lacerated wounds on the face and head [note: Some popular accounts mistakenly state 69 total injuries. jp] Some wounds were minor but many were serious. The head wounds varied in size and shape and some had ragged edges and showed crushing and bruising at the edges. They had been inflicted by a blunt instrument applied with considerable force. In the front of the skull the fractures were were extensive. There were haemorrhages on the brain. The fractures of the skull indicated that the victim's head was most probably immobilized on the ground when the force was applied. It would have taken only a few of these major head wounds to produce unconsciousness. He could not say in what order the wounds were received. In cross-examination he testified it was possible that a single blow could produce a number of lacerated wounds.

Bruises on the neck suggested that the victim was held forcibly by the throat, but there was no suggestion of throttling. The lacerations on the fingers could have been caused when the victim put up her hand to defend herself.

The injuries could have been produced by the half-brick produced in Court. The half-brick, the stocking foot and the stocking leg minus the foot all had human bloodstains. Human hairs similar in texture to those from the head of the dead woman were adhering to the stocking foot.

Constable William McDonald Ramage, police photographer went to Victoria Park about 7 pm and took photos there. On June 23 he was present during the post mortem examination of the body and took photos then of Honora Parker's body. These and other photos were entered into evidence, under objection of defense counsel.

Mr Kenneth Ritchie testified that he found the victim's body, lying on her back with the feet pointing uphill. Her head was badly battered. There was blood on her head and face and on the path. Her skirt was up a little at the knees and he pulled it back down. [note: Possibly because of flailing legs. One shoe lay some distance from body. Other articles strewn nearby. jp]

Dr Donald Walker was the first physician called to the scene, arriving shortly before 4 pm. He observed that the victim's head was thrown back and was lying downhill. There was no doubt about her being dead. There was a lower denture lying on the ground to the victim's left alongside the jaw. The stockings were muddy and smeared with blood. Her arms were mud- and blood-stained. The eyes were closed but gave the impression they had been blackened. There were severe gashes on the victim's head and a great deal of blood had streamed from her head, had flowed down the path and had congealed. (Victim was almost completely ex-sanguinated so bleeding from head was massive and rapid [note: Possibly indicating severed carotid artery, which might also explain the massive amount of spattered blood on PYP and JMH. jp].) From the appearance of the body Dr Walker could not reconcile it with an accident. One shoe was off and personal articles were strewn nearby.

Sgt Robert Hope testified there was a stream of blood 10 or 12 ft downhill from the head. Various objects were strewn about near the body. There was a half-brick lying about 15 inches from the body. Sgt Hope also found a woman's lisle stocking on a bank. In a shallow drain beside the bank there was a large pool of blood.

Most major wounds were on the right side and front of the head. Victim's right ear was badly split. Some reports indicate severe cosmetic damage to face, others that wounds on left side of head and face were less severe. Mouth was blocked with vomit, possibly indicating convulsions.

Half-brick in knotted woman's lisle stocking, the brick was ejected by the force of the blows. Victim's hair found on stocking. Brick probably used as weapon after ejection from stocking. Bloody stocking and brick recovered separately at scene, near the body.

Parker, Pauline Yvonne (aged 16 years, 1 month), daughter of the victim. Hulme, Juliet Marion (aged 15 years, 8 months).
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