Pauline Parker

Pauline Parker

Pauline Yvonne Parker (born on May 26, 1938) is a woman from Christchurch, New Zealand who, together with her friend Juliet Hulme, murdered her mother, Honora Parker, on June 22, 1954. It is believed that the two girls killed Honora because Juliet and her father were leaving shortly for South Africa and, though Pauline wanted to accompany them, her mother forbade it. According to their own accounts, Pauline and Juliet were devoted friends who collaborated on a series of adventure novels which they hoped would be bought by a Hollywood studio and made into epic films. The girls' friendship was documented in detail by Pauline in a series of diaries during her teenage years.

The girls met in their early teens, when Juliet's family moved to Christchurch from England. Both girls had suffered from debilitating sicknesses as children, and they initially bonded over it. According to Pauline's accounts, Juliet romanticized the idea of being sick, and Pauline, having an imaginative spirit and a passion for tragedy herself (she loved the opera) took very well to this attitude. During their friendship, the girls invented their own personal religion, with its own ideas on morality. They rejected Christianity and worshipped their own saints, envisioning a parallel dimension called The Fourth World, essentially their version of Heaven. The Fourth World was a place that they felt they were already able to enter occasionally, during moments of spiritual enlightenment. By Pauline's account, they had achieved this spiritual enlightenment due to their friendship. Eventually, the girls formulated a plan to flee to Hollywood.

Shortly prior to this, Juliet had discovered her mother was having an affair and her parents were separating. This devastated Juliet as well as Pauline, who, due to having spent so much time with the Hulmes, thought of Juliet's parents as her own. Both girls were unaware of the fact that both sets of parents were collaborating at the time in an effort to separate the girls, viewing their close friendship as potentially unhealthy or homosexual. The Parkers and the Hulmes' efforts culminated in a plan for Juliet to accompany her father to South Africa, where he planned to move after the divorce, so Juliet would leave Pauline behind in New Zealand. Pauline's mother was particularly concerned about the nature of the girls' friendship and was adamant that Pauline could not accompany her best friend.

The girls began to plan the murder of Pauline's mother in June, 1954. This plan was documented in Paulie's diary entries. On June 22, the girls led Mrs. Parker to a remote area of a park near Christchurch and beat her to death with a half brick concealed in a stocking. They immediately ran to a nearby tea shop, visibly upset and covered in blood, claiming that Pauline's mother had slipped and fallen. When the body was discovered by police, their story did not hold up in explaining the 45 wounds on the woman's head. The torn, blood-soaked stocking with the brick in it was found nearby.

Pauline and Juliet were tried by jury in Christchurch, and were found guilty. A plea of insanity was rejected by the court. As the girls were too young to be considered for the death penalty under New Zealand law at the time, they were convicted and sentenced to be "detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure". In practice, this sentence meant they were to be detained at the discretion of the Minister of Justice. They were released separately some five years later.

Prior to the trial, Pauline Parker had been known as Pauline Rieper. Her mother, Honora Parker, had been living with her father, Herbert Rieper, in the manner of marriage, but during police investigations, it was revealed that they were not, in fact, married. Thus, during the trial, both Honora and Pauline were referred to with the "Parker" surname.

Upon release, Pauline apparently spent some time in New Zealand under close surveillance before being allowed to leave for England. As of|1997, she was living in the small village of Hoo near Strood, Kent, and running a children's riding school. She has become a devout Roman Catholic and extremely remorseful about having killed her mother. Juliet later changed her name to Anne Perry and became a novelist. The two have not met since they were initially separated.

The girls' story was made into a film, "Heavenly Creatures", by producer-director Peter Jackson, in 1994. Pauline was played by Melanie Lynskey and Juliet by Kate Winslet.


*J.H.H. Gaute and Robin Odell, "The New Murderers' Who's Who", 1996, Harrap Books, London
*"Famous Criminal Cases, Volume Two", 1955, London
*"Hallmark of Horror", 1973, London
*"Obsession", 1958, London
*"More Criminal Files", 1957, London
*Patrick Wilson, "Children who kill", 1973, London
* NZ Women's Weekly article revealing Parker's new identity []
* "London Daily Mail", Jan. 6, 1997, p.17

* [ Original Newspaper articles of the trial]

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