Parker–Hulme murder case  

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The Parker–Hulme murder occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand on June 22; 1954. The story of the murder is said to be loosely adapted into the French film Don't Deliver Us from Evil and more faithfully into Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Parker-Hulme Murder was a murder and court case that occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1954.

On June 22, 1954, the body of Honora Rieper (née Parker) was found in Victoria Park in Christchurch. She had been killed by multiple blows to the head with a brick. On June 23, two teenage girls were arrested, Pauline Parker (Parker's daughter, also known as Pauline Rieper) and Juliet Hulme. Pauline was a girl from a working class background; Juliet Hulme was the daughter of a distinguished physicist who was the rector of University of Canterbury in Christchurch.

As a young child, Pauline suffered from osteomyelitis. Juliet, respectively, suffered from tuberculosis and was sent to the Bahamas as a child to recuperate. The girls initially bonded over their ailments. As their friendship progressed, they formed an elaborate fantasy life together. They would often sneak out and spend the night acting out stories involving the fictional characters they had created. Their parents found this disturbing and worried their relationship was sexual. Homosexuality at the time was seen as a serious illness. Both sets of parents attempted to compel the girls to remain separate. In 1954, Juliet's parents separated and her father resigned from his position as rector of Canterbury College and was moving to England. It was then decided that Juliet would be sent to South Africa, for the good of her health, with an added incentive being that the girls would be separated. Pauline expressed to her mother that she wished to accompany Juliet, and Pauline's mother made it clear to her that it was inappropriate. The girls then formed a plan to murder Pauline Parker's mother and leave the country for America, where they dreamed they would publish their writing and work in film.

The trial was a sensational affair, with speculation about their possible lesbianism and insanity. The girls were convicted on August 30, 1954, and each of them spent five years in prison. They were released with the condition that they never contact one another again.

After her release from prison, Juliet Hulme traveled to the United States and went on to have a successful career as a historical detective novelist under her new name Anne Perry.[1] She now lives in Scotland. The story of the murders was loosely adapted into the French film Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal (Don't Deliver Us from Evil) and more faithfully into Peter Jackson's Oscar-nominated film, Heavenly Creatures. Perry's identity was only uncovered due to publicity surrounding the latter film. The case was also fictionalised in 1958 as "The Evil Friendship" by Vin Packer (aka M.E. Kerr). The two women have not since met.

The murder was touched upon as strong evidence of moral decline less than four months later by the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents in what became known as the Mazengarb Report, named after its chair, Oswald Mazengarb.

In March 2006, Perry said that while her relationship with Pauline Parker was obsessive, they were not lesbians.

"The day of the happy event"

"The day of the happy event" "I felt very excited last night and sort of night-before-Christmas but I did not have pleasant dreams...I feel very keyed up as though I were planning a surprise party. The happy event is to take place tomorrow afternoon. So the next time I write in this diary Mother will be dead." --from Pauline Parker's diary.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Parker–Hulme murder case" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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