The Parker-Hulme Murder

A new Serial Killer Expert joined the GBM team. Her name is Paula Phillips, and she brings us a story about a New Zealand killer.

The Beautiful 1950s

The year was 1954. Little Things Means A Lot by Kitty Kalen was number one on the Billboard Music Charts. Marilyn Monroe marrying and divorcing Joe DiMaggio was one of the main stories talked about in celebrity headlines. 

Meanwhile, in Christchurch, New Zealand, two best friends Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, conspired together and murdered the woman keen on separating the girls from seeing each other. 

Heavenly Creatures
Heavenly Creatures

Even now, over 50 years later, the Parker-Hulme Murder case is one of New Zealand’s most notorious murders for its grisly factor. In 1994, it was made into a film directed by Peter Jackson called Heavenly Creatures which cast Kate Winslet as Juliet Hulme and Melanie Lynskey as Pauline Parker.

An Obsessive Friendship

Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker were what we would call “bosom buddies” as they had an obsessive friendship with one another. There have been rumors that the girls were in a lesbian relationship. However, in an article published March 5th, 2006 in the NZ Herald–Juliet Hulme, who now is known as Anne Perry, commented that this was false.

The girls met each other at Christchurch Girls High when they bonded over their childhood illnesses as both had respective medical conditions when they were children. Pauline Parker had suffered from osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone, and Juliet Hulme had suffered from tuberculosis. 

According to Pauline Parker’s accounts of their time together, the girls had romanticized the idea of being sick and created fantasy worlds together, which included their own type of religion. They wrote books, plays, and stories together centered in their world. 

When Religion Is A Friend

As their friendship took an obsessive turn, religious fanatic Honorah Parker decided that Juliet Hulme was a bad influence on her daughter and threatened their friendship.

The two girls weren’t in any mood to be split up, so together, they conspired to murder the one woman who stood in their way–Pauline Parker’s mother. 

Savannah, Georgia, USA

The girls acted their murder out on the afternoon of June 22nd, 1954, when they lured Honorah Parker to Victoria Park in Christchurch’s Port Hills under the pretense of an afternoon walk. As they were walking, they turned down a secluded path till they were far away from the rest of the park. 

Here they committed their murder by bashing Honorah Parker in the head with a half-brick hidden in a stocking. The girls did not stop at 1 whack, nor five or even ten. It is said that Honorah Parker was bashed in the head more than twenty times with the half-brick.

A Bloody Meal

After the girls committed the act, they headed back to the Tea Kiosk, which they had eaten at only just before the murder with Honorah Parker. The girls were covered in blood and met by the owners of the tea kiosk–Agnes and Kenneth Ritchie. The girls told Agnes that Honorah Parker had fallen over and hit her head when questioned about the blood. 

After the murder, the girls had planned to run away to South Africa. That would be where Juliet Hulme had relatives. Then, from there, they would head to either Hollywood or New York.

Knife - Blood

They thought they could get an apartment together and write then publish their stories. After which, they would turn those into films or plays.

Later the day, Honorah Parker’s body was located in Victoria Park. The girls’ story quickly fell apart as Honorah was found with significant lacerations on her head, face, and neck with minor injuries to her fingers. NZ Police located nearby the murder weapon used. 

A Short Live Killer Life

The girls were arrested and convicted as their trial was held on August 28th, 1954. As the girls were fifteen–Juliet Hulme and sixteen-Pauline Parker, they were considered too young for New Zealand’s death penalty

Fun Fact: New Zealand abolished the death penalty for murder in 1961 and all crimes, including treason, in 1989.  

During the trial, the lawyers tried to plead the girls murdered Honorah Parker as an act of insanity. However, the jury rejected the idea of the plead and found the girls guilty of murder. The trial lasted six days before the jury came back with a guilty read.  

Smile For The Camera

As the juror read their result, it is said that Pauline Parker looked impassively ahead, whereas Juliet Hulme was said to have a small smile on her lips and a touch of anxiety on her face. 

The girls were sent to different prisons–Pauline Parker in Christchurch and Juliet Hulme in Auckland. Following their five years in prison, the girls were given the condition that they were never to contact each other again, and to this day, they still have not spoken to one another.

Brain wave

After the release from prison, Juliet Hulme moved to Italy with her father and later England, where she changed her name to Anne Perry. Anne being her middle name and Perry being her mother’s maiden name. 

Pauline Parker also was given a new name and became Hilary Nathan, and after spending a few years in New Zealand, she also moved to the UK.

Where Are They Now

Anne Perry spent her life becoming one of the UK’s most popular and award-winning historical crime writers and, in 1968, became a Mormon

It wasn’t till 1994 that it was revealed that the lady the world knew as Anne Perry was Juliet Hulme when Peter Jackson hired a journalist to track her down when he was busy making the film Heavenly Creatures

Single Cross

I always feel that this was an ironic career for Anne Perry as I guess the saying write what you know does ring true in this case. H

Even though Anne Perry is a writer, she has no interest in writing an autobiography or writing about the incident as she wishes it would just disappear as she doesn’t like to think about that time in her past. 

The Classic 90s

Hilary Nathan moved to the small town of Hoo, near Stroud, Kent, and started a riding school in 1992. She has also led a reclusive life, became deeply religious, and led a very solitary life. 

Cross

In 1996, Hilary became a Roman Catholic and dedicated her life to a role, whereas she lives her life like a nun. While Hilary has never spoken to the press as she lives her life with no distractions, e.g., TV, radio. 

Her sister Wendy has said that after serving her crime, she realized to the full extent what she had done and was deeply remorseful. 

Paula Phillips


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.