*Warning – The information you are about to read may include discussions of true crimes, graphic details, and crime scenes, this may be too graphic for some people, please use discretion when reading*
The case of Honorah Parker is unique. It has the elements of a mystery novel; characters – two teenage girls, setting – a wooded park in New Zealand, the plot – a plan made in secret to remove a problem, the problem – the two girls were going to be separated from each other, and may never see each other again, the solution – murder.
Not much can be said about Honorah Parker. She was born in 1909, and lived in Christchurch New Zealand with Herbert Rieper, but it was discovered that they had never married. The couple had a daughter Pauline. Even though Honorah is the victim, this story is more about Pauline and her friend Juliet.
Pauline was born in May 1938 in Christchurch, New Zealand. As a child Pauline had a debilitating disease called osteomyelitis. This is a bone infection that can include pain in specific bones with overlying redness, fever, and weakness.
Juliet Hulme was born in London, England, in October of 1938, but arrived in New Zealand with her parents. Her father was a physicist and the rector of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. She too suffered from a debilitating disease, tuberculosis.
When Pauline and Juliet met at Christchurch Girls’ High School, they initially bonded over their respective medical conditions. As their friendship developed they created an elaborate fantasy life together. They became obsessed with each other and Pauline’s parents in particular felt the girls were becoming too close, and it may become sexual. Which at that time, was considered a serious mental illness.
In 1954, Juliet’s parents separated and the family planned to return to England. However it was decided that Juliet would be sent to relatives in South Africa, for her health. The girls felt that Pauline should go to South Africa with Juliet, and felt that the Hulmes would agree to this, but it was believed that Pauline’s mother would not allow her to go with Juliet. This was their perceived obstacle to remaining together, when it was unlikely that the Hulme’s would allow Pauline to go either.
An entry in Pauline’s diary, “…we are so brilliantly clever.” reveals a perfectly narcissistic nature that the girls’ relationship had developed into, and was becoming increasingly manic. The girls were about to do something that would have permanent consequences.
June 22, 1954, Pauline, Juliet, and Honorah went for a walk in Victoria Park. In a wooded area near a small bridge, Juliet and Pauline began bludgeoning Honorah with a brick in an old stocking. They both delivered blows to her head, and after she died, they girls fled, claiming that Honorah had fallen and hit her head. Her body was discovered moments later by the owner of the tea shop that they had all three eaten at minutes before the attack.
Honorah Parker had major lacerations about her head, neck, and face; with minor injuries to her fingers. The murder weapon was discovered by police in the nearby woods. The girls’ story soon fell apart.
The trial for Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker was a sensational affair, with the speculation of their possible homosexuality and insanity. They were convicted in August of 1954; as they were too young for the death penalty, they were both sentenced to five years in prison. It is rumored that a condition of their release was that they were never to contact each other again.
After their release from prison, both girls assumed a new identity. Pauline is now known as Hilary Nathan, she ran a children’s riding school in the village of Hoo, near Strood, Kent, England. She hasn’t spoken to the press, but a statement relayed via her sister in 1996 stated she expressed strong remorse for killing her mother. She is very sorry for what she had done and it had taken her nearly five years to realize what had happened.
Following her release, Juliet settled in England, and also had a new identity, Anne Perry. Until 1994, it was not known that Anne Perry, famous novelist of historical detective books, was Juliet Hulme. She has talked about her role in the case in the past but when asked if she thinks about Honorah Parker, she has stated, “No. She was somebody I barely knew.”
There it is, story of Honorah Parker, and how her daughter, Pauline, has become a hermitic, remorseful person, and how Juliet, became a cold, best selling author, with very little remorse for the crime she committed. I personally have not read books by her, and I don’t intend to start. I feel that the crime committed, is horrible, even if it was over sixty years ago. What are your thoughts on this case? Do you feel the girls should have been sentenced longer? There was the suspicion that they were lovers, this has been denied by Juliet, but….but maybe it was true?
Be ever alert, make good choices, stay safe