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Parker and Hulme murder case

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in z.com. And funded through a generous grant from the guideline Wellington trust with the support of the rule foundation. [00:00:10] Hi, I'm Dr. Allison Lori, obviously general Women's Studies Program Director at Victoria University, Wellington, here in New Zealand for many years. I'm a writer or historian, and these been in gay activist. Today, I'm going to be looking at the Parker and murder case of 1954. And the reason I'm going to be looking at that is because it's one of the first times that a discussion of lesbian relationships takes place in the New Zealand media. And it takes place in a very negative context of murder, and of young girls out of control. And it has a big impact on how that generation of lesbians, and the appearance and this is schools began to think about relationships between girls and women. Now, it's not the first time that that has been relationships and meats. And in the media, there's another case, which happens in the 30s, which is the free to start case and film the Mario. There's also been other mentions of women, leading rebellious lives, especially women, who have crossed wrist masqueraded as men, the famous case of Amy Bach, and, and other cases, too. But this case is one happening in the post war period. And it's been brought to great attention because of film was made about it, after my colleague and I had published our book on it. And that's a film by Peter Jackson, Heavenly Creatures. And as well as that they've been a lot of mentions in the media regularly, as well as that one of the girls, Juliet whom her identity was revealed after the film was released. And she is in period, the crime writer, and she has now made a form of or appeared in a film, which is that talked a bit about this case, and other matters true in relation particularly true writing. So what happens in this case is that Julius Hume who is the daughter of Hilda Henry, whom, who come to New Zealand, though she has actually seen here, first they come to New Zealand, he comes to take up the position as Rector, which today would be the Vice Chancellor of Canterbury University College, which today is Canterbury University, they were colleges at that time within the University of New Zealand. And prior to the end, they had a professor taking the role of Richter. And rotating it, it was the end decided in the post war period that they needed to have somebody doing that job full time. So Henry, who applied for that job and came out here, he seemed to have very good qualifications. But as our suit showed, actually, he has his career had been the opposite of what you might expect he'd when other university scientists had gone to work for the government during the period of the war. That was when he'd been working in the University. He then went to work for the government when they returned to university work. So has his career hadn't been as, as as good as perhaps might have been hurt. When he got to Canterbury. He, he hadn't been there long before the professors actually were not too pleased with the way he was turning out. He was quite Eric, he'd didn't want to take their advice when he met on the university cnet's and often voted against things that they wanted, for example, they wanted a School of Forestry established at Canterbury, and he voted against it because of his opinion. It shouldn't be there, hold of him. She was also not particularly popular. She founded the she was one of the founders of marriage guidance. And she was on the board of the quite rich girls high school. But she was the sort of woman who they call the man's woman she was often quite dismissive of other women, and not a popular person either. So they were very English people, very upper class English people in Christchurch, which was quite a small city at that time, and they weren't particularly popular. [00:04:55] And then we have pullin Parker, she was the daughter of Hubert Ripa, who was a fishmonger. And, or Nora Parker, who was also a English migrant. And these are both working class people at Harvard had been previously married to a woman older than him, and he had two sons and that marriage, and he then ran off with with a Nora, and they went to crush ritual, pretended to be married and then had another family. The other family were there with a deal with oddities about it. The first child was a blue baby and died in the first 24 hours after birth because of a blood condition. The in the next child was a normal child. And then there's Pauline, who is a daughter but has a strange injury which has never explained to which gives her osteomyelitis of her league. And she has that entry in the first two years of life never properly explained how she got it. And the entity is day to day, I have another child Down syndrome child called Rosemary whose lives at home for a couple of years and then as an institution. So these are truths that come from two very different backgrounds, Pauline and Juliet. They meet at crossroad schools High School in 1953, and form a very close friendship, friendship that so close that it's remarked upon by the teachers. It's considered perhaps to be an unhealthy friendship. And the different class backgrounds of the two girls are quite significant in this regard, that Pauline likes to go and stay with Juliet. And what basically is almost like a mansion, which was the residents of the Richter with extensive grounds at the Rhode Island these days, that's the university staff club. And meanwhile, Pauline just loves over the fence from the high school and in a very modest home with her mother takes in borders. And Pauline does a lot of housework in her diaries, which have been depicted as terrible, terrible documents, but which in fact, a full of very ordinary kinds of references, particularly to housework, and you wonder why she's doing so much housework, and truly realized that the mother takes and four borders on full board, and that this girl is the one that's being required to do all this kind of work. So clearly, it's not a very good home background and clearly this difficult relationship between pulling enter your mother. Then the tumors marriage breaks up, Hilda him begins or an affair with a man that she's counseled Walter Pirie, and she actually moves him into the mansion. And this whole thing falls to pieces and they're going to divorce so the humans leaving the country in the professors have by the state forced him Henry to resign. Because his head it really hasn't worked out. This is by the stage where 1954 has appointment hasn't worked out, and they want him to go. So he's been forced to resign. He's returning to England, the two children, Juliet and her brother Jonathan are going to be sailing off to South Africa where they're going to be living with an art and meanwhile, Hilder is going to going to be going off with Walter period. So that's what they're all doing. According to Pauline's diaries, there are various conversations that take place that she might be able to go with Juliet, that somehow she could become part of this family. It's pretty unrealistic. Then Pauline begins to see the big obstacle to her being able to be with Juliet as her mother. And so they she plans a murder. They take the mother, they taken over Parker for a walk in the in Victoria Park, in Christchurch banter, pulling better suit with a brick and a stocking. [00:09:04] Initially, there is a number of statements that the true girls make. But in butter bean tree, they both take responsibility for having participated in this. They're both charged with murder of the first degree of both found guilty they serve five years in prison at her majesty's pleasure. They're released in 1959. Juliet leaves the country immediately, and goes to England and Pauline is on probation for another five years afterwards, she also leaves, they both are given new identities by the Justice Department. They're both given educational opportunities in prison, because there's a very liberal prison regime at that time, and justice system which seeks to rehabilitate them. However, this crime is depicted whether or not they're actually having a lesbian relationship. And what we might mean by lesbian relationship is clear, but certainly it's the way that both the defense and the prosecution portray the relationship. The defense is that crazy. And they they've got a joint insanity known as folly harder, one of the symptoms of this as lyst pianism. When we interviewed the defense counsel, Brian McClelland, he said, Well, the problem was that both confessed to it and the only defense we had was insanity. But how can we find the tournament sane, and then this chap Regional Medical comes along with this wonderful idea that they could have fully addressed? So we went with that. So that's a cynical defense lawyer, who is saying, that kind of theory, so that was what was argued, dear. Meanwhile, the prosecution, psychiatrist said, No, they're not mad. They're bad. They're Jewish, the mind and the little girls was one of the quotes that they said, The diaries were extensively quoted from from both sides to either prove that they were made or that they were bad. Why isn't really considered is that this is a domestic murder, it comes out of what is clearly quite a dysfunctional household. It comes out of what is clearly a very difficult relationship between Polly and Andrea mother that is not explored in the context of the court at all. It might well be the case that Juliet in fact blundered into somebody else's domestic murder, which might well have happened with or without her. She might not have participated as fully in the situation, as she admitted as she confessed to having done [00:11:34] in fact, maybe she should have been charged as an accessory after the fact. None of those kinds of much more interesting legal questions have ever been raised in any discussions newspaper articles, or things about about this case, the Heavenly Creatures movie claims to be based on the diaries it's largely a matter of invention by Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh it's it's it's a dramatization which original Medley court would particularly have liked because it depicts them, particularly Pauline as having fantasies, plasticine figures that she sees moving around. And none of that is the any evidence whatsoever for and in fact, the verdict of the court was that they were completely sane, which is why they found them guilty. They were lucky to be found guilty because had they been found insane, not guilty, they would have probably spent the rest of their lives in castrated in a in a psychiatric hospital. And probably at that time, since the psychiatric institutions were very keen to give greatest novelists Janet framer, pre-frontal the bottom a which Sharon escaped, because she won a prize for literature, these two girls would probably have had would have been given that kind of surgery or lots of shock treatment Anyway, why was much better for them in the prison system where an enlightened regime gave them the opportunities to continue their lives. So we will have to say that most of most of what has been written about this case has been not, not really very simplistic, hasn't really looked at the more interesting aspects of it at all. In our work, we were interested in the impact of the case we found that it had very negative effect on many girls, many girls were became very frightened to have their relationships, parents separated girls. Fact one woman we talked to him at the center to a psychiatrist. Older lesbian couples were also affected by this. People were very afraid that if they had really at least be in relationships, that meant they were mad. It certainly had a very bad fix on how lesbians thought about themselves. Whether whether or not women were willing to have same sex relationships, and certainly how other people thought about lesbians and women and same sex relationships. So that's been a very important case, and the history of this Venus and New Zealand [00:14:18] this program was funded through a generous grant from the Galen Willington trust with the support of the rule foundation and brought to you by pride indeed.com

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.