‘Heavenly creatures’ found guilty of murder

Pete's Kiwi Korner

NZ History: Parker, Hulme – capital crime 28 August 1954

Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme (Awa Press)

The fact that Pauline Parker and her friend Juliet Hulme hadkilled Pauline’s mother Honora on 22 June– a sensational crime later dramatised in Peter Jackson’s acclaimed filmHeavenly creatures– was never disputed. In finding the teenagers guilty of murder, the jury rejected the defence’s assertion that they were insane.

Because both were under 18 –Pauline was 16 and Juliet 15–neither could be sentenced to death. Their punishment was instead ‘detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure’.

Pauline’s lawyer, Alec Haslam, said in his final address to the jury that the two girls had seen Pauline’s mother as a threat to their remaining together, a threat they felt they had to remove. ‘We have these girls planning their dreadful act, carrying it out so clumsily, and then, after it was over, not showing…

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Published by peter petterson

Father of four, grandfather of thirteen, and great-grandfather of eight. Resides in Taita, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. Living happily in retirement and enjoying the company of my many young descendants.

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