7.5.4 Hulme, Hilda Marion

Hilda Marion Hulme, a married woman (according to her description in The Press) gave the following testimony under subpoena at the July 16 Hearing:

[note: I have not edited, condensed or re-organized this testimony very much. As it comes, it gives some insight into Hilda Hulme's mental and emotional state in this period. Remember, she was a very accomplished and polished public speaker, accustomed to performing smoothly in formal situations, including live radio broadcasts and debates. jp]

Juliet Hulme was her daughter and was born in England on October 28, 1938. When she was 2 years old she suffered bomb shock and had nightmares. Mrs Hulme said she had periods of illness after her second child was born, and as a result of that and War conditions she was separated from Juliet for a time. When Juliet was 5 her father, Dr Hulme had to go to America. Juliet became seriously ill and was away from school for 2 years. Mrs Hulme said she and her husband came to New Zealand in 1948 and were joined by Juliet, who had previously come to New Zealand after staying in the Bahamas. Juliet went to the Christchurch Girls' High School when she was 13 and remained until May 1953, when she had to go to Cashmere Sanatorium. Juliet had undergone an intelligence test and had been rated very high. She had previously attended a private school in the North Island, but was brought home because she was unhappy. She was not robust physically and didn't make many friends, being shy and reserved. At home, she was a demanding child.

"I and my husband were very fond of her, and gave her every care."

Juliet became friendly with Pauline Parker in the second term at High School. The friendship was welcomed and Mrs Hulme was glad to have Pauline visit their home. It seemed a perfectly normal friendship at first. Juliet was in the sanatorium for about 3 1/2 months and was then allowed to go home, but was not discharged cured.

Dr Hulme decided in April this year to leave his position at Canterbury College and return to England. The first arrangement was for Mrs Hulme to stay in New Zealand because of Juliet's health and Dr Hulme was to go on alone. That was changed and Juliet was to go with her father because it had been discovered that Juliet and Pauline Parker planned to go to America.

Mrs Rieper had asked that Juliet stay at her home but this was prevented by Juliet having to go into the sanatorium. Juliet was a patient in the Cashmere Sanatorium while Mrs Hulme was in England but was allowed to go home upon her mother's return to Christchurch. The friendship between the two girls had developed in the meantime and Mrs Rieper was concerned about it. Mrs (stet) Hulme advised her to seek medical advice about Pauline.

The girls under persuasion said they had planned to go to America to have their books published and put into films but she and Dr Hulme thought they had got the girls to put that idea out of their heads. When it was decided that Dr Hulme was to return to England he was to take Juliet as far as South Africa with him. Juliet pressed her parents to allow Pauline Parker to accompany her but they explained that it was quite out of the question.

On the afternoon of Monday June 21, Juliet received a telephone call from Pauline Parker inviting her to lunch on the Tuesday and Mrs Hulme understood Mrs Rieper was taking them to Victoria Park.

"I agreed that she should go. Juliet left home about 11 a.m. on June 22 with her father. She seemed very happy and very calm. If anything, she was more affectionate than before."

"On Tuesday afternoon my husband brought the two girls home. They were both white and trembling. I prepared a hot bath for them. Mr Perry, who has a flat at our home, came in. He took their clothing to the cleaner. The girls were put to bed, treated for shock and given a meal."

Senior-Detective Brown and Detective-Sergeant Tate came to the house that night. Pauline Parker told them that her mother had slipped and hit her head on a stone again and again. Mrs Hulme was present the following day when a statement made by Juliet was read to Juliet and signed as being true. Just after Christmas the girls stopped calling each other by their own names. Juliet became Deborah and Pauline Parker became Gina.

"Juliet has written 2 novels as far as I know and they are among the other books produced [as evidence in Court]."

To Mr Gresson, Mrs Hulme said:

"I am giving evidence on subpoena. Juliet's early life was spent in London and the North of England under bombing and War- time conditions. When she was five she developed serious chest trouble and I was advised that her life was in danger and she should be taken to a warmer climate. That is why she was sent to the Bahamas and a reason for us coming to New Zealand. She has always been an exacting and difficult child and long before the tragedy we were anxious about defects in her personality and temperament. When we returned to New Zealand after an absence of 3 months I noticed a marked change in her disposition. She seemed more withdrawn and her friendship with Pauline seemed to be the only thing that mattered. This friendship seemed to dominate my daughter.

"In September she began to write a great deal. Portions have been read to me and it is grandiose and unreal. In the second book, parts are unpleasant and unbalanced. On the night of Tuesday, June 22, I slept with Juliet in my arms. Her one repeated sentence was she didn't want to talk about it. She wanted to go to sleep and forget about it. She wanted noise on the radio. She seemed elated and removed from the tragedy. That night before she went to sleep she was reciting poetry, also the following morning. I have seen her in recent weeks and she seems quite removed from the reality of the situation."

Back Forward