Armed with a brick in a stocking, 16-year-old Pauline Parker and her best friend Juliet Hulme, 15, became two of New Zealand’s most notorious murderers when they killed Pauline’s mother, Honora, in Victoria Park, Christchurch.
The girls’ trial was a sensation. Much of the evidence presented by witnesses focused on the close relationship between Parker and Hulme, their absorption with one another, and their fantasies about becoming famous novelists. When their parents, concerned that the girls’ friendship had become obsessive and co-dependent, threatened to separate them, they had reacted violently.
Parker and Hulme were found guilty, sentenced to indefinite imprisonment, and ordered never to contact each other again.
The case remains one of New Zealand’s most infamous murders and lives on in popular culture, having inspired a play, Michaelanne Forster’s Daughters of heaven, and Peter Jackson’s Academy Award-nominated film Heavenly creatures.
The two young women were released after serving about five years in prison. Juliet Hulme later changed her name to Anne Perry and became a successful writer. Both she and Parker now live in the United Kingdom.