Contemporary Press Articles:
Part III: The Verdict and Beyond
The Times (London), Monday August 30, 1954. p. 5.
NEW ZEALAND GIRLS FOUND GUILTY
Wellington (N.Z.), Aug. 29.--After two hours' (stet) retirement
the jury at Christchurch found Pauline Yvonne Parker and Juliet
Marion Hulme Guilty of the murder of Pauline's mother, Mrs.
Honora Mary Parker. Mr. Justice Adams sentenced the girls to be
detained during her(sic) Majesty's pleasure. Under New Zealand
law this is the sentence passed on persons under 18 years of age
who are convicted of an offence punishable with death.
"KNEW MURDER WAS WRONG"
In summing up the Judge said that two doctors expressed the
opinion that the accused were insane and three doctors had sworn
that they were sane. To some extent, in some way their minds were
abnormal. Did it amount to disease of the mind? "All the doctors
have sworn the accused did know the nature and quality of their
act. As I have understood the case, that has not been disputed."
Both knew the act was wrong and contrary to the moral code of the
The accused showed no emotion when sentence was passed.--
from our own correspondent.
San Francisco Chronicle, Saturday August 28, 1954, p. 1.
2 Girls Convicted For Killing MotherAukland (sic), New Zealand (Saturday), Aug. 28. (AP)--Two teen-
age girls, Pauline Yvonne Parker and Juliet Yvonne (stet) Hulme
were found guilty today of murdering Pauline's mother by
battering her with a brick.
During the closing speech by Prosecutor Alan Brown, who
described the defendants as "two dirty-minded little girls,"
Juliet sat with her fingers in her ears.
As both girls are under 18, their crime is not punishable by
death but by imprisonment.
Neither Pauline, 16, nor Juliet, 15, showed any emotion when
the verdict was returned after the 12-man jury had deliberated
for 90 (stet) minutes.
The Oakland Tribune, Saturday August 28, 1954, p. 2.
THRILL KILLERS Christchurch, N.Z., Aug. 28.--(UP)--An all-male jury found two
sullen teen-age girls guilty of a "thrill" killing today, but
their age saved them from the hangman's noose.
2 Teen-Age Girls Guilty Of Murder
Pauline Parker, 16, and Juliet Hulme, 15, sat staring
woodenly at the floor as the jury brought in its verdict after
only two hours and 14 minutes (stet) deliberation.
They showed no emotion as they heard their sentence to an
indefinite period of imprisonment for clubbing Pauline's mother,
Mrs. Honora Mary Parker, with a brick wrapped in a stocking.
"This was a coldly, callously planned and carefully
committed murder by two precocious and dirty-minded girls," Crown
Prosecutor A.W. Brown said in his final statement to the jury.
"They are not incurably insane but incurably bad."
Juliet held her fingers in her ears as Brown lashed out at
the girls for killing Mrs. Parker because she wanted to separate
Both girls admitted killing Mrs. Parker in a plot to make
her death look like an accident. Pauline noted in her diary that
she was "very excited" on the eve of the killing.
Defense Atty. Terence Gresson pleaded that the girls were
latently homosexual and irresponsible.
"These are two mentally sick girls who should not be treated
like ordinary people," Gresson said. "Their true crime was
appalling but at the time they committed it they didn't
appreciate what they were doing."
Los Angeles Times, Saturday August 28, 1954. p. 6.
Jury Convicts Girl Slayers, 16 (stet)
Auckland, New Zealand (Saturday) Aug. 29 (stet). (U.P.)--Two
teen-aged girls were convicted today of murdering the mother of
one of them because she sought to part them.
Pauline Yvonne Parker and Juliet Marion Hulme, both 16
(stet), showed no emotion when the jury's verdict was announced.
Sentence will be pronounced later.
The girls were tried on charges of fatally beating Mrs. Mary
(stet) Parker, 45, while on an outing in the nearby Cashmere
Hills. Mrs. Parker was bludgeoned with half a brick in a
The prosecuting attorney said the girls planned to kill Mrs.
Parker after they decided she was going to separate them by
refusing to allow Pauline to accompany Juliet and her parents to
The New York Times, Sunday August 29, 1954. p. 30.
Girl Guilty of Slaying MotherAuckland, New Zealand. Aug. 28. (AP)--Pauline Parker, 16 years
old, was convicted today of killing her mother last June. Juliet
Marion Hulme, 15, was also convicted. They were sentenced to
indefinite prison terms. Since they are under 18, the girls
cannot be punished by death.
San Francisco Examiner, Sunday August 29, 1954. p. 44.
Girl, 16, Convicted of Thrill Murder of Mother; Sent to Prison
Auckland (New Zealand), Aug. 28.--(AP)--A stocky 16-year-old girl
who wrote in her diary she felt "very night-before-Christmas" on
the eve of the thrill killing of her mother was convicted of the
murder today. A teen-age accomplice also was convicted.
An all-male jury found Pauline Parker and 15-year-old Juliet
Marion Hulme guilty in the brick beating of Mrs. Honora Mary
Parker last June.
They were sentenced to indefinite prison terms.
Prosecutor Alan Brown told the jury that the slaying was
"coldly premeditated murder, committed by two dirty-minded little
girls." The defense did not deny the crime, but contended the
pair were insane.
Since they are under 18, the girls cannot be punished by
death. Instead, they were ordered "detained at Her Majesty's
pleasure"--a British legal device often used in cases involving
adolescents, where there is a chance conditions may change later
and a review would be warranted.
It took the twelve-man jury only ninety (stet) minutes to
reach a verdict.
The girls left the dock for their prison cells solemn and
dejected. Juliet, tall and blue-eyed, had sat with her fingers in
her ears as the prosecutor made his closing statement at the end
of a six-day trial.
The body of Mrs. Parker was found in a Christchurch public
park last June 22 with forty-five (stet) head, face and hand
injuries. The girls claimed at first she had slipped and hit her
The Sun-Herald (Sydney), Sunday August 29, 1954. p. 1. [sb]
JURY FINDS TWO N.Z. GIRLS SANE"Tense Murder Verdict ScenesChristchurch, Saturday [Aug. 28]-- In a dramatic, tense
atmosphere, a jury to-day found that Pauline Yvonne Parker, 16,
and Juliet Marion Hulme, 15, were sane when they murdered Pauline
Mr. Justice Adams sentenced the girls to be detained during
her Majesty's pleasure.
Minimum of Five Years' Gaol
Law authorities said to-night that this could mean a minimum of
five years' gaol, or a maximum of at least 25 years.
As sentence was passed a middle-aged man in the public gallery
jumped to his feet and shouted, "I protest! I object!"
The Court crier called "silence," and police rushed into the
gallery and hustled the man out of the court.
Honora Mary Parker (known as Mrs. Rieper), 45, was found
battered to death on June 22 in a picnic reserve outside
The girls' trial lasted six days.
Neither showed any emotion as sentence was passed.
Air Of Calm
Throughout the trial they had maintained an air of calm,
The two girls are likely to be placed in separate prisons.
One of them will probably go to Paparua prison near Christchurch
and the other to Mt. Eden prison, Auckland.
"During her Majesty's pleasure" means that the two girls
will be kept in prison for an indefinite period and only released
at the discretion of the Prisons Department and by order of the
New Zealand law provides that where a convicted murderer is
under 18 years the sentence shall be detention at her Majesty's
pleasure instead of the death sentence.
Juliet Hulme's mother sat with her eyes closed and hands
tightly clenched as sentence was passed.
Earlier, while the jury was out, she had walked about near
the courthouse smoking cigarettes and looking nervous and tense.
The jury was out for two hours 13 minutes.
Immediately it returned the two girls were led into the
courtroom by a police matron.
They smiled and laughed at each other as the jurymen took
The girls were standing when Mr. Justice Adams asked the
jury foreman what verdict they had reached.
They showed no emotion whatever when he replied, "Guilty,"
thus rejecting the insanity plea.
Parker, however, glanced quickly up in surprise as the man
in the public gallery jumped to his feet and cried out.
The man was a stranger who had no connection with anyone
concerned in the trial.
During discussion on the girls' ages, the Crown Prosecutor,
Mr. A.W. Brown, appeared upset and several times had to stop as
though he was finding it difficult to speak.
The girls were the only ones in the court who did not seem
to be affected.
They looked straight ahead at the Judge as he asked each of
them in turn whether there was anything they wished to say before
sentence was passed.
Neither replied, but their counsel told the Court they had
nothing to add to the evidence already given.
Mrs. Hulme sat only a few feet away from the girls, but
neither looked at her.
After Mr. Justice Adams had passed sentence, he said: The
prisoners may now be removed."
The two girls walked out looking straight ahead and were
taken through a side door to a prison van.
Immediately after the trial, Mrs. Hulme left the court
accompanied by Mr. Walter Perry, an engineer, who lived in a flat
at the Hulme home.
During the trial Perry told the Court he had fallen in love
with Mrs. Hulme.
Mrs. Hulme is believed to be staying at a seaside resort
about 35 miles from Christchurch.
Pauline Parker's father, Mr. Herbert Rieper, was not in
"I have nothing to say about it," he said later at his home.
Juliet Hulme's father, Dr. Henry Hulme, left New Zealand with his
10-year-old son, Jonathan (sic), soon after her arrest. He left
the liner Himalaya at Marseilles and London newspapers since have
been unable to trace him.
When the trial resumed this morning, Hulme and Parker looked
a little tired and pale as they were led into court by a police
They stared intently at the jury before sitting down to hear
their defence counsel attempt to prove them insane.
At the outset to-day Dr. A. Haslam (for Parker) said there
was no disputing the fact that Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker
had killed Mrs. Parker but they were insane to a degree that
The atmosphere was tense as Mr. Brown rose to address the
Even the two girls, who had been whispering and smiling to
each other, were silent as he began to speak.
The accused were depraved, but not insane, Mr. Brown said.
"They were not incurably insane, but incurably bad."
At this stage Juliet Hulme bowed her head and blocked her
ears with her fingers.
The girls sat pale-faced in silence as the Judge told the
jury that if they accepted the evidence that the girls had known
the murder was against the law and moral code of the community
they were bound to find them guilty.
In the morning, football fans wearing striped caps and team
ribbons had queued with housewives and teenagers for admission to
the grey stone court building.--A.A.P. and Special
The Sun-Herald (Sydney), Sunday August 29, 1954. p. 2. [sb]
GIRLS 'INCURABLY BAD'--CASE PUT BY CROWN
Christchurch, Saturday [Aug. 28]--The two girls charged with the
Christchurch murder were "not incurably insane, but incurably
bad," the Crown Prosecutor said to-day.
The prosecutor, Mr. Alan W. Brown, was addressing the
Supreme Court jury which later found the girls guilty.
The girls are Pauline Yvonne Parker, 16--she will be 17 on May 26
next--and Juliet Marion Hulme, 15--she will be 16 on October 28.
They were tried on a charge of murdering Pauline's mother,
Honora Mary Parker, 45, on June 22.
Mrs. Parker was found dead with her head battered in
Cashmere Hills, a suburb of Christchurch, after going for a walk
in the park with the two girls.
Defence counsel asked for a verdict of not guilty on the
grounds of insanity.
Mr. Brown said the Crown had called three doctors with far
greater medico-legal experience than those called by the defence.
The Crown doctors had said the girls were sane by all
Even the doctors called for the defence had admitted the
girls knew that what they were doing was wrong in the eyes of the
law and the community.
Dr. F.O. Bennett, one of the doctors called by the defence, had
added that the girls' action was not against their own moral
"The accused are depraved but not insane," Mr. Brown said.
"Without fear of contradiction, I submit they have unhealthy
"But it is badness. It is not a question of insanity at all.
"As I said in my opening address, this was a cold, callously
planned and premeditated murder, committed by two highly
intelligent but precocious and dirty-minded little girls.
"They were, and have been proved, sane at the time they
killed Mrs. Parker.
"They were not incurably insane, but they were incurably
Dr. A.L. Haslam, for Pauline Parker, said: "There is no dispute
about the facts of the crime.
"But we have tried to give evidence to you that the girls
were insane to a degree that would excuse them."
The particular form of insanity (paranoia) from which the
girls suffered was something very different from idiocy and
imbecility, which lay on the surface, he said.
Pauline Parker's diary showed that the girls' friendship
very early assumed an intensity which was alarming.
It also showed the deterioration of the girls' mental
About April, 1953, there had happened what Dr. R.W. Medlicott,
one of the doctors called by the defence, had described as the
"Port Levy incident."
The girls had then been about 14 and experienced a vision of
what they called "the fourth world."
Dr. Haslam said that in January this "disastrous
association" was a source of anxiety to both sets of parents.
Both doctors called by the defence had said both the girls
were mad when they murdered Mrs. Parker.
Dr. Haslam said that although the girls appeared normal
outwardly, underneath was "this rottenness, this disease."
"They saw their dream world threatened so they struck," he
"In their imagination they had toyed with violence for so
"Now they broke out and committed it."
Mr. T.A. Gresson, for Juliet Hulme, said he accepted all Dr.
The three doctors called by the Crown were "from the same
stable," he said.
There was a tendency for Crown doctors to approach the
subject not quite neutral.
The girls had a temple and had crosses over the ideas they
They planned a masked ball for plasticine characters. They
had their absurd saints and a group of gods.
By killing Mrs. Parker they had hoped to achieve two things-
-to send an unhappy woman to heaven and to protect their
paranoiac delusions of grandeur.
The girls were incapable of forming a moral judgement of
what they had done, although their crime was appalling.
Mr. Gresson told the jury: "I suppose some of you have
"If any of them showed half the symptoms which these two
showed, do you mean to say you wouldn't send for a doctor?"
--Special Correspondent and A.A.P.-Reuter.
The Sun-Herald (Sydney), Sunday August 29, 1954. p. 2. [sb]
Pity Must Not Sway The Jury
Christchurch, Saturday [Aug. 28]--In his summing up Mr. Justice
Adams said that the crime which the two schoolgirls had committed
was dreadful, but the jury must not be swayed by any feelings of
JUDGE SUMS UP
He said he agreed with doctors called by both Crown and
defence, who had said the girls knew their act was contrary to
law and to the moral standards of the community, but not contrary
to their own moral standards.
"If you accept that view you have no option but to find the
accused guilty of murder, holding that the defence of insanity of
the required nature has not been proved,' he added.
The jury's choice lay between a verdict of guilty or not
guilty on the grounds of insanity.
Under section 43 of the N.Z. Crimes Act, everyone must be
presumed sane at the time of committing an offense until the
contrary was proved.
The jury must decide what was meant by insanity and be
guided by the views of competent medical men.
In this case two doctors had said the girls were insane and
three called for the Crown in rebuttal had said they were sane.
Although it might well be that the girls suffered from some
degree of mental disorder to make them unusual and abnormal, the
question then arose whether this amounted to a mental disease.
But the law also required a person must be proved incapable
of understanding the quality of his action and of knowing it was
It would be sufficient if the defence could satisfy the jury
that the accused would not know the quality of their action and
understand it was wrong.
But all the medical men said that, in their opinion, the girls
knew and nothing had been put forward by the defence in cross-
examination to dispute this.
Four of the doctors had said both girls knew what they did
was wrong in the eyes of the law and the generally accepted
standards of the community.
If no other evidence on this score was available the duty of
the jury was plainly to bring in a simple verdict of guilty.
It was not sufficient to suggest that an accused person had
erected some peculiar moral standards of his own so that he knew
he was breaking the law or moral code but believed himself to be
above this code.
In his review of the evidence his Honor said that Parker's father
had told the jury about Parker becoming friendly with Hulme at
He said she suffered from osteomyelitis from the age of five
to seven and had several operations, and later was unable to
participate in sports.
Dr. Pearson had spoken of 45 injuries to the victim and the
crushing nature of her injuries.
Mrs. Hulme had told of her daughter's childhood bomb shock
and breakdown and the visit to the Bahamas.
Mr. Justice Adams addressed the all-male jury for an hour
and 20 minutes.--Special Correspondent and A.A.P.-Reuter.
The Sun-Herald (Sydney), Sunday August 29, 1954. p. 2. [sb]
Teenage Murderers Showed No RegretChristchurch, Saturday [Aug. 28]--Not once in the six days of
their trial did Pauline Yvonne Parker or Juliet Marion Hulme show
any signs of remorse.
On the contrary, their attitude at the time suggested that
they were enjoying the opportunity to hold the centre of the
stage--even in so sordid a drama as this.
To baffle sightseers and newspaper cameramen the van which
taken to and from the court each day was backed right up against
the wall through which a door leads to the cells.
However, on the first two days they appeared at the barred
windows of the cells on the first floor, put on an air of disdain
for the people outside, and were clearly pleased and flattered to
see newspaper photographers aiming their cameras at them.
Later the authorities stopped this by pasting brown paper over
the lower halves of the windows.
Pauline Parker, dark and sullen-looking, wore throughout the
trial a brown dress and a small brown hat.
Juliet Hulme, taller and fair, with high cheekbones and a
slant to her eyes, wore a green coat and a pale green paisley
scarf instead of a hat.
When the pathologist, Dr. C.T.B. Pearson, described in
ghastly detail the fatal injuries inflicted on Pauline's mother,
the whole scene on the track down the valley of Victoria Park in
which they had been the principal actors must have been vividly
before their eyes.
There were few people in Court whose horror and pity did not
show plainly on their faces.
The accused, however, maintained an air of calm and
contemptuous detachment, occasionally leaning towards each other
to exchange a smiling remark across the police matron who sat
Nor did they blanch when the Court was shown the
bloodstained half-brick that had been their weapon, or the
bloodsoaked stocking in which they had wielded it until it tore
under force of the blows that rained on Mrs. Parker's head.
The only time either showed any emotion other than contemptuous
amusement was when counsel read long extracts from Pauline's
diary of 1953 recording how she slipped out of her parents' house
night after night to meet her boyfriend, Nicholas, in his
boardinghouse bedroom, and recounting in frank detail their
Then Juliet Hulme's expression was savage.
She leaned forward grinding her teeth and spitting silent
words through her rage-distorted lips--possibly in jealousy.
Meanwhile, Pauline bowed her head down to her knees.
It seemed that the only passages in the whole sordid story
capable of touching any emotional chord in the couple in the dock
were the diary passages that seemed to arouse Juliet's bitter
jealousy by disclosure that there had been a time when she and
Pauline Parker had not been all-in-all to one another.--A.A.P.-
The Sun-Herald (Sydney), Sunday August 29, 1954. p. 29. [sb]
SMILING, THEY FACED THE MURDER CHARGE--NEW ZEALAND'S TWO
Girls From The "FOURTH WORLD"
Two schoolgirls in bobbysocks sat in a high-walled dock of the
Supreme Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, last week and
listened as charges of murder were read out to them.
They smiled and whispered to each other as witnesses
described how the mother of one had been battered to death with a
brick, and they smothered giggles with their hands as evidence
piled on evidence to point the finger at them as the world's most
For the two girls, Pauline Parker, 16, and Juliet Hulme, 15,
were on trial for the murder of Pauline's mother, Honora Mary
Parker (known as Mrs. Rieper), wife of a Christchurch fish-shop
On one side of them sat the mother who had lived--Mrs. Hilda
Marion Hulme, a neatly pretty Englishwoman in a fawn suit and
felt hat, listening in deepening horror to the story of the two
And behind, at the back of the courtroom, with bowed head,
sat the man whom all Christchurch now pities--Herbert Rieper,
thin, spectacled, balding, the father of Pauline Parker and
husband, in everything but law, for 23 years to the dead woman.
Twelve thousand miles away, in Europe, was the father of
Juliet Hulme, a distinguished scientist and educationalist.
In the court a "not guilty" plea was entered for the two
girls, but there was no pretence that Honora Parker was killed by
anyone else. Their own counsel admitted that it was clear beyond
dispute that they killed her. The vital issue was the question of
their sanity or otherwise.
And it all happened in Christchurch, New Zealand's quietest,
staidest, most Victorian-English city-a city founded by colonists
selected by the Anglican Church, a cathedral city of bicycles,
lace and old ivy.
To many people, both in New Zealand and the world, the
murder of Honora Parker was the crime of the century.
There had been teenage murders before, but never one planned
so carefully, so precisely--and against such a fantastic
There was no riddle in the fact that a woman had been bashed
brutally to death. The riddle lay in the two girls sitting so
calmly in the box.
Were they two characters who might have stepped out of a
page of St. Trinian's--two bland and angelic-looking schoolgirls
in tunics who had suddenly decided, "Let's murder mother"? Or did
it go further than that?
The answer was in two books that lay on a table in front of the
They were the 1953 and 1954 diaries of Pauline Parker,
written in a large, schoolgirlish scrawl.
And like an evil mirror they reflected the hopes, the plans,
the anxieties and the strange world of fantasy in which the two
girls had lived so disastrously.
Day by day as the diaries were read out in court the two
girls took on shade, shape and colour.
Like sleepwalkers, they seemed to move through a society
peopled by fictional characters, in which time meant nothing.
Their minds conjured up character after character, some
good, some of them horrifyingly evil.
They lived in a world of their own, in which they had their
own laws, their own commandments, and their own god.
They did not merely see life through rose-coloured glasses,
they had stepped right inside the glasses themselves.
The two girls were born a few months and half a world apart--
Juliet Hulme in England and Pauline Parker in New Zealand.
They met for the first time two years ago when, in navy-blue
tunics, red and blue ties, and white blouses, they sat in the
same classroom of Christchurch Girls' High School.
They were startlingly different in looks, background and
Juliet, the younger of the two, was the taller by nearly six
inches. Slim, with a pale, clear complexion and grey eyes, she
wore her long, fair, brown hair hanging loosely around her
She was a sensitive, lonely child, brought up in wartime
England (where she suffered bomb shock) and later sent to the
She liked to talk to people but was difficult to pin down
and hard to discipline. Some people considered her hopelessly
Pauline Parker, on the other hand, had a closed-up, almost
secretive, look about her round, plumpish face.
The Hulmes were among the upper crust of Christchurch
Dr. Henry Reinsford (sic) Hulme, M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc., had
arrived in 1948, at 40, to take up a post as Rector at Canterbury
University College. Behind him was a brilliant reputation as one
of Britain's top wartime scientists, both with the Admiralty and
the Air Ministry.
He was a member of the Senate of the University of New
Zealand and a close acquaintance of the Bishop of Christchurch.
Leading scientists and educationalists visited the Hulme
home, a huge, old-fashioned, two-storeyed stone mansion set in
Mrs. Hulme was prominent in Christchurch activities,
including the Marriage Guidance Council.
They had a country cottage at Port Levy, 35 miles from the
town. There was a son, Jonathan, aged 10.
The home life of Pauline Parker, in contrast, was quiet and
Her father, Herbert Rieper, was a director of a fish
retailing firm. Her sister, Wendy, was two years older (stet).
There was a third (stet) child, born late in Mrs. Rieper's
life, who was a mongoloid at an institution. A fourth had died as
a "blue baby."
Pauline formed no early attachments until she met Juliet
Hulme. A leg infirmity which developed when she was five
prevented her from taking part in active sports.
The friendship between the two girls began as any normal
They walked home from school together, shared their homework
and visited each other on weekends. Each still had a small circle
Their notes and diaries were at first the usual schoolgirl
scribbles about movies, books, food, outings and occasionally--
though very occasionally--boys.
Then something seemed to click suddenly into gear as the
Slowly the two girls seemed to move away from normal family
relationships and grew closer together.
Other friends dropped out of the picture one after the
other. Soon the two became almost as one--living, thinking, even
bathing and sleeping together.
They spent hour after hour walking arm in arm through the
rambling gardens of the Hulme home, endlessly discussing "saints" (their name for the fictional characters they wrote about) and
the plots of books, operas, and film scenarios they were writing
or hoped to write.
Sometimes, in the dead of night, they would slip noiselessly
out of the house and in the moonlight on the lawns reenact their
The grounds, planted with trees, shrubs, and flowers, became
a place of hidden mysteries for them to explore.
They made a temple where they buried a dead mouse, with a
little white cross over it. They put up other crosses in what
they now called their "cemetery," to represent the burial (they
said) of dead ideas.
At first their writings were extravagant, grandiose, full of
courts and royalty. Later the mood of passion, violence,
bloodshed and sex began to emerge.
They worked out elaborate plans for the elimination of everyone
in the world except themselves and a chosen few.
They went to no dances or parties. Sports were of no
interest to them, mainly because of Pauline's leg infirmity and
Juliet's weak chest, which for a time had put her into a
sanatorium in Christchurch with an attack of tuberculosis.
They had begun to change their own names, Pauline calling
Juliet "Deborah" and Juliet calling Pauline "Gina." Another name
for Pauline by Juliet was also "Jezebel."
By the beginning of this year  the two girls had
retreated almost entirely to a tight little society peopled by
themselves and their fictional families.
They ignored all outside concepts of morality. They wrote
down the Ten Commandments and then tried to see how many of them
they could break. They shoplifted, and planned blackmail to raise
money for a proposed trip to America.
They intended to produce their own bible, with Juliet
writing it and Pauline illustrating it.
At Port Levy they claimed to have seen a vision of "a fourth
world," which they described as a place of exquisite bliss.
They found they could turn this "fourth world" on and off
like a water tap, seeing it only when they wanted to.
In it the two girls lived as geniuses, both indescribably
beautiful and intelligent. Other people seemed to them ordinary
and beneath their notice.
More and more Pauline Parker visited the Hulme home. Before
the visits she became excited and elated, but on her return she
retreated once more into moodiness and solitude. She would shut
herself away in her room writing long entries in her diary and
listening to music.
Finally, towards the fateful June of this year, the strange
fantasy of the two schoolgirls came to its disastrous climax.
By now they had become hopelessly infatuated with each
other, to a point where they were desperate at the thought of
Their one plan was to stay together at all cost. Without
each other the artificial world that they had built, piece by
piece like a castle of playing cards, would collapse.
The crisis came with the decision to separate the girls.
An engineer, Walter Perry, who lived in a flat at the Hulme
home, had fallen in love with Mrs. Hulme (a divorce from her
husband had been "under discussion" the Court was told), and Dr.
Hulme made plans to return to England.
He planned to take Juliet with him as far as South Africa.
Pauline begged to go with Juliet; but both the girls knew that
Honora Parker would not give her consent to this.
In their minds became fixed the idea that without Pauline's
mother they would be able to stay together.
On the afternoon of June 22, the girls went with Mrs. Parker
to Victoria Park, a Christchurch picnic spot. They had tea at the
kiosk and walked down a path.
Juliet, the girls said later, had brought part of a brick,
wrapped in newspaper, and had given it to Pauline.
Half an hour later the girls came back, covered with blood,
and the body of Honora Parker lay twisted grotesquely, on the
path a quarter of a mile behind them.
Six weeks ago Dr. Hulme did leave for England, taking 10-year-old
Jonathan (sic) with him. Interviewed during the voyage he said:
"The world will just have to think of me as an unnatural
"I cannot say why I decided to leave New Zealand at this
time. It would involve too many people.
"But there is nothing I can do there just now.
"My only concern now is for my son. I want to spare him all
"I've told him his sister is mentally ill--as indeed she
Dr. Hulme told of his prison goodbye to Juliet. It lasted
only a few minutes.
He said Juliet knew he had been offered a post in England.
("It might be a Government department job or scientific."); and
she told him before he kissed his daughter goodbye, "I want you
[Dr. Hulme is now somewhere in England or the Continent, and
virtually hiding from the Press. He and his son disembarked at
Marseilles on August 10, although their passages had been paid to
London. The British national newspapers have been publishing long
reports of the case, but have been unable to trace him.]
So the story of the two girls came to its terrible climax--
the story of two girls with weaknesses which fed on each other
like a cancerous growth as they turned their backs on an everyday
And the epilogue is totally unlike the many epilogues they
themselves used to write while sprawled on the lawns of the Hulme
It came last week when, in sunshine, they climbed from a
grey police van and entered the Supreme Court to face a trial for
The only real question before the jury was:
Were they sane?
The jury found that they were.
Photo--A photograph taken four years ago of Juliet with her
father, Dr. Hulme.
Photo--Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, looking out of a barred
window in the courthouse.
The Manchester Guardian, Monday August 30, 1954. p. 5.
GIRLS SENTENCED FOR MURDER Wellington, Aug. 29.--The Under-Secretary of State for Justice,
Mr S.T. Barnett, will decide tomorrow how Pauline Yvonne Parker,
16, and Juliet Marion Hulme, 15, found guilty yesterday of
murdering Pauline's mother, will serve their sentence. They were
sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure, which
means that their detention is indefinite, and will be reviewed by
the authorities from time to time. Persons so detained may be
released on licence on such conditions as may be directed.
Insanity Plea Rejected
Mr Barnett, who is the chief executive controlling prison
administration, said to-day that he would come to a decision
after consulting his psychiatric advisers.
After considering the evidence for more than two hours, the
jury rejected defence counsel's plea that the girls were insane
when they battered Mrs Honora Mary Parker to death with a brick
tied in a stocking in a Christchurch park on June 22.--Reuter.
The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday August 30, 1954. p. 2. [sb]
Pauline Parker And Juliet Hulme"
When the Judge in Christchurch was sentencing the two girls,
Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, to be detained in prison during
her Majesty's pleasure for the brutal and carefully premeditated
murder of Pauline's mother, a man in the public gallery cried "I
protest." He was no doubt reacting to the sentence--a sentence
which, however, was the legal and proper culmination of a trial
conducted with scrupulous regard for justice. In the minds of
thousands of others who followed with horror and fascination the
revelations in this terrible and unique case a voice cries "I
protest" for a different reason. It is that two young human
beings should ever be in such a way the victims of a dark
conspiracy of circumstance so evil in its purpose and so
appalling in its outcome.
The psychiatrists will explain it all, of course, and
contradict each other in the explanation. Less knowing people
will ponder upon the fact that it was the same world of the
normal child's imagination which Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme
extended into a universe of sinister fantasy and gross design.
They had vicious and depraved tendencies and without each other
they still may have remained problem children; but their coming
together as if by the magnetism of some strange force in the
hinterland of their minds, was a fatal conjunction of
Sane, legally, the girls may have been when, threatened with
separation, they committed the murder, but it was surely the kind
of sanity that mocks at all reality. The normal mind shrinks from
the implications of this tragic story. In many other crimes
lessons of some sort or other are to be found. Here there is
little but horror, sadness and bafflement.
The Times (London), Thursday September 2, 1954. p. 5.
Wellington (N.Z.), Sept. 1.--Mr. Clifton Webb, as Minister of
Justice, announced to-day that two schoolgirls who were convicted
of murder at Christchurch last week are to serve their prison
sentences in separate institutions. Pauline Yvonne Parker, aged
16, and Juliet Marion Hulme, aged 15, were found Guilty of
murdering Pauline's mother by battering her to death with a brick
in a stocking, because they believed she stood in the way of
their friendship. They were sentenced to be detained during
her(sic) Majesty's pleasure.
IMPRISONMENT IN SEPARATE INSTITUTIONS
After consulting with Cabinet colleagues, psychiatrists, and
departmental officers, Mr. Webb said that the greatest punishment
the girls could suffer was to be separated. Juliet Hulme is being
kept in Auckland gaol, and Pauline Parker is to be moved from
Paparua prison at Christchurch to a new compound at a Borstal
institution north of Wellington in about three weeks.--Reuter.
The Sun-Herald (Sydney), Sunday September 12, 1954. [sb]
Hilda Perry (her name was changed by deed poll on Sept. 5, 1954)
left NZ with Walter Perry on 11 September, 1954. The couple
stopped in Sydney long enough for Walter to tell the newspapers
that "Mrs Perry and I are going as fast as we can to join her son
Jonathon. ... We firmly believe Juliet is mad. We have the
evidence of two psychiatrists to say so. Mrs Perry is sorry to
leave Juliet, but she believes that Jonathon now has the greater
need of her. Mrs Perry has had almost as much as she can stand.
We will be moving on as fast as we can." And, in case you were
wondering - "She carried the same brown leather bag she had with
her at the trial." [sb]
The Sun-Herald (Sydney), Sunday December 6, 1959. p. 3. [sb]
ECHO OF MURDER: NZ girl came to Sydney
Wellington, Saturday December 5--Juliet Hulme, one of the
Christchurch schoolgirl murderesses, has been walking the streets
A prominent New Zealand justice official disclosed this
A Fresh Start
He said she had gone to Australia to make "a fresh start" after
being released from gaol last month.
She had now gone overseas but her destination was unknown to
all except a few officers of the Department of Justice.
Five years ago, at 15, Juliet helped her closest friend,
Pauline Parker, to beat Pauline's mother to death because she
wouldn't let them go overseas.
Miss Parker is still in New Zealand.
The authorities say neither girl knows where the other is
The girls, both now aged 21, were released separately during
November--Miss Parker from Paparua Prison, Christchurch, and Miss
Hulme from Arohata Women's Reformatory, in Wellington.
They were convicted in Christchurch Court of murder in
August, 1954, for battering to death Mrs. Honora Mary Parker with
a brick in a silk stocking while taking a walk in Victoria Park,
Christchurch two months before.
Mrs. Parker had objected to the girls' projected "unusual
friendship" and their plans to go overseas together.
Miss Parker was then 16; Miss Hulme was 15 years and 10
Both were sentenced to "detention during Her Majesty's
The N.Z. Secretary for Justice, Mr S.T. Barnett, said yesterday
no official announcement had been made concerning their release
because the department wished to give them an opportunity to make
a fresh start in life without being identified.
He added that Miss Hulme had walked about the streets of
Sydney without being recognised or attracting publicity.
Mr Barnett said: "We realised that eventually--and
inevitably--their release would become known, but we wanted to
give them as fair a start as possible."
Mr Barnett said the girls had been kept apart throughout
"Miss Hulme's release is unconditional," he said. "She has left
"Miss Parker's release is subject to general control as to
her residence, employment and the like."
Mr. Barnett was asked if the girls had given, or had been
asked to give, an understanding to keep apart or refrain from
He said they were not released on this condition. The place
of residence of one was entirely unknown to the other, however.
Asked if it was true that Miss Hulme had gone overseas to
join her father, Professor H.R. Hulme, who until just before the
trial was Rector of Canterbury University College, Mr. Barnett
replied: "No comment."
Later he said: "I have no doubt that the fact they spent the
whole of their adolescent years in prison was a consideration in
"The girls have been under closest study and they have
developed in a highly satisfactory manner.
"Both advanced their education, and both obtained their
school certificate and university entrance examination
qualifications while in prison.
"One has gone forward with a great measure of success
towards a Bachelors of Arts degree. [This was PYP. jp]
"As prisoners they could not have been more satisfactory in
"Throughout both have pursued wholesome interests."