Ian Rankin talks to Anne Perry (Juliet Hulme): video + transcript

This blog entry is related to the poll:What is the main purpose of the penitentiary system? (Total: 3 posts)
It is discussing the poll topics:
Other topics:
  • Anne Perry (1 post)
  • heavenly creatures (1 post)
  • Juliet Hulme (1 post)
  • murder (3 posts)
  • redemption (1 post)

Below is a beautiful interview with very good answers by Anne Perry. While her crime was horrible, I can feel that she is now a good person, very spiritual, and, importantly, very incapable of committing the same crime ever again.

All criminals are diseased people. She is obviously cured. Curing criminals should be the purpose of the Justice system. In this case, it worked. God bless her.

Background information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavenly_Creatures (movie)

Make sure to vote in the poll about the role of the penitentiary system!

Here is a transcript I made for a (new) friend:

Ian Rankin: [...]extreme situations or changes in their lives.

Anne Perry: Yes. Moral choices and also I think very seldom does any tragedy occur where only one person is to blame. Usually a lot of circumstances have combined. It's very much an idea in my mind that it's not just one person but we all contribute to things that happen for better or worse. We are responsible for our own contribution.

IR: And in your personal life you have had to deal with a ..., of course.

AP: Yes, I have.

IR: Can you tell us a little bit about that?

AP: Yes. When I was 13, I became quite seriously ill. When I was 15, I committed a crime as an accessory; I was involved.

IR: What was this specific crime?

AP: I helped someone kill another person.

IR: Which person?

AP: Their mother.

IR: This was a friend of yours?

AP: Yes.

[OFF] In 1954, Juliet Hulme, a school girl living in New Zealand, helped to batter her friend's mother to death. She was found guilty of murder, but was only 15 years old, too young for the death penalty. Instead, she was sent to prison. After serving their sentences, both girls left the country, changed their names, and disappeared. In 1994, the case was fictionalized in the film Heavenly Creatures.

IR: Was the mother awake, asleep... ?

AP: Oh, she was awake!

IR: You jumped on her, or something?

AP: Yes.

IR: And that all happened very quickly.

AP: It was within a space of... My parents were separating. My father had lost his job. We were about to leave the country. I felt I had not time to find a better solution. She told me that if I left, she would take her own life and I believed her.

[OFF] At the trial, the jury heard evidence that the girls had carried out a sustained and brutal attack on Pauline Parker's mother.

IR: It must have been an extraordinary sensation at such a young age to be going through that process of judgement, I guess, by society.

AP: Yes.

IR: ... going through the trial process and everything else.

AP: Yes. And when you were that age, you were not allowed to speak.

IR: In court, you mean?

AP: Yes. So you cannot say anything about what you did or why you did it.

IR: So you are not allowed to, for mitigating circumstances, you are not allowed to get your say out of it (???)

AP: No, not at all.

IR: How did you feel when you were in prison? Did you get any perception at that time of how society was thinking about you?

AP: Yes. To some extent, regarded as a complete monster.

IR: That must have been very upsetting...

AP: It is.

IR: ... also especially as you are going through that process of coming to terms with with that.

AP: Yes. It is very difficult. But then I was in what is I believe regarded as the toughest prison in the southern hemisphere. And, it is a helpful process to feel that you are paying for what you have done. I also had a lot of people who were kind to me.

IR: How long did you actually spend in prison?

AP: Five and a half years.

IR: Five and a half years! Did that seem to you a long time, had it seemed too long, or...?

AP: It was at the time endless because I had no idea how long it was going to be. Hum, no I don't think it was too long. Had it been a lot longer it might have broken my ability to rebuilt myself.

IR: I wondered: at what point does redemption come do you think, I mean at some point during incarceration?

AP: That is a very spiritual question, to which I can only give you my own estimate of the answer. The redemption comes when you no longer wish to be that kind of person. When you understand that... when you see it as ugly, and you understand why it is not what you want to be. Not what you should be, not what you want to be. And that's the difference. Not because somebody outside is telling you: this is not what you do. But because you, yourself, say: this is not who I want to be.

IR: How do you feel about the fact that society requires people to be locked up, especially at such a young age, that we require what seems to be not redemption so much as a kind of vengeance.

AP: I suppose society does require a certain level of vengeance. It needs to be not only done but seen to be done because it is supposed to be enough to prevent other people wanting to do the same. I think it would have been the worst thing that could ever have happened to me in my life if somehow they had said: "Well, look. You know, you were under medical treatment. These are mind altering drugs. I am sure you are not really wicked. You go ahead and forget about it." I think that would have been totally destructive to me.

IR: How important was the punishment to you?

AP: I feel it is vital. I think until you feel that you have settled the debt, you cannot move on. It is a bit like trying to walk with an open parachute open behind you. By paying, you cut the strings and then you can move on. You can allow yourself to move on. I can say it and look you in the eye, because I can say: Yes, I have dealt with it. I believe that I have paid. I believe that I have been forgiven where it matters. And it now for me no longer exists. I can move on and be the best person I am capable of being. But I think that is true of everybody. As long as you don't say: "somehow it wasn't really me, it was that person and somehow it didn't matter and I don't need to pay."

IR: Do you find a certain irony in that you now make a living as a crime writer, having [???] ?

AP: You know I never thought about it until other people... Because, really I want to write a novel and a crime is a good peg to hand it on. I suppose pulling a rabbit out a hat at the end and being able to say to people: "Yes, you thought it was so and so, but it wasn't." is not that easy. "You thought this person was bad, but actually what they did was for good reason. You thought this person was good but actually it wasn't." It is the sense of drama and being about to pull out something to say: "Here you are! It is not as easy as you thought it was."

Make sure to vote in the poll about the role of the penitentiary system!


anne perry

I was 7 years old and allowed to read newspapers when this horrific murder happened.
I enjoy murder mysteries, but they are fantasy. I had read one of Anne Perry's before
her identity was revealed. I can't read one by a real murderess and have never read
her since.
She comes across as a sociopath in the interview. No real remorse. She thinks she
has paid her dues but there is no real feeling there. I didn't give much credence to the
lesbian slant.Pauline was weak but Juliet was evil and despite her public face, still is.

Juliet Hulme

I had not read Perry's books because of the crime. Did read one in an act of desperation (library out of books), and read up on her on the web. I believe her and her answers. She was an adolescent at the time and not in her right mind, whatever that is.

Her books are excellent and I have begun both series. I think forgiveness has to come into play somewhere in life, and I think she has paid.

juliet hulme

yes, she may have been an adolescent at the time, but for most people cold blooded murder is abhorrent at any age. Whether she actually committed the crime or sees herself as an accessory, it doesn't change the fact that she was there and could have stopped it. All too often after a murder the victim is forgotten and the focus seems to be on the perpetrators. Whether she forgives herself or not, a woman still died and I have to say, Juliet Hulme comes across as very cold when discussing the issue. She may very well have been mentally ill at the time and that clearly continues if she thinks it is morally acceptable to write books about murder. It just seems tasteless for her to make her living that way. I'm sure her books are excellent, it is not many murder writers who have first hand experience! Pauline Parker disappeared quietly while Juliet Hulme put herself in the public eye, I think that says it all.

hester and charlotte

I am hooked on AnnePerry, very strong and thoughtful females Hester and Charlotte provide me with hope...

Anne Perry

I've read all the Pitt books.I found out while reading them Ms. Perrys background.Then, I thought no wonder all the killers in this series are females.I believe in rehabilitation of children,depending on circumatanses,Its terrible today young offenders are just thrown into prisons with adults,given no therapy.Theres no more mental facilities [thank you Ronald Reagan] and states can't afford to maintain Juvenile prisons.We've gone backwards as a society.Ms,Perry was lucky all those years ago to be given a 2nd chance,today she'd be in prison until finally given the electric chair.I think Ms. Perry deserves forgiveness,and served her time.None of us has the right to judge her feelings.

No 'mental facilities'??

How about some counseling? According to her biographer, Anne Perry herself never even sought a single consultation. If, as she proposes offhandedly in this interview, she was taking some mind-altering drugs at the time, it seems she would not still try and attempt to justify what she did under the influence of them. This is a woman knowledgeable about the world, (she was only imprisoned for five years - and those long-ago, all during her teens), and intelligent enough to write and market to an agent/publisher bestselling novels. Today, in America, counseling is mandatory for even military personnel on discharge, people who may not even have had to use the skills they were taught to take anyone's life. If she believes herself, as she states in the interview, to have been vulnerable enough at the threat of a teenage girl commiting suicide to then commit murder, as if under duress, then she must realize that was NOT a normal reaction.She still states this as if it is some sort of viable explanation, obviously indicative of an issue that STILL needs to be addressed.
She even has the audacity to say she 'helped' commit murder and refer to herself as an accessory. Why? Because it was not her own mother? She neglects to say (may not even know) whether Yvonne (Hilary) or she, Juliet Aka Anne struck the final, killing blow, not that it very much matters at this point). When asked, 'did you hit her', (the victim Honora) she says, "Yes". When asked "did you jump on her?" She says "Yes". That can't be played down to 'helping', that is MURDERING.
Yet, her biographer attests that Anne Perry/Juliet Hulme said she never had so much as a thorough conversation with any 'informed' person about the act of murder she committed. Not one single conversation about any of it, her feelings, her own trauma, the repercussions of her actions, the trauma she caused in others, NONE of it. Not even to help herself, but she is 'vulnerable', (she and the biographer attest to this although the biographer also refers to her as 'formidable').
Counseling and mental-health care was not offered to her then, BUT that is NO reason she could not seek out help during the, oh, HALF-CENTURY or so since the murder. In her books she refers to killing in chillingly similar circumstances, emotionally she tells the truth, even if it doesn't always pass her lips.
Excerpts from her books:
Excerpts from Anne Perry's books:

"Well, it's not very difficult to hit someone on the head, if they trust you and are not expecting anything of the sort." - The Hyde Park Headsman

"Actually to kill someone, you have to care desperately over something, whether it is hate, fear, greed or because they stand in the way between you and something you hunger for." - Resurrection Row

"[Murder is] a double tragedy - not only for the victim and those who cared for her, but for the murderer also, and whoever loved or needed or pitied the tormented soul . . . [For] society was cruel; it seldom forgave, and it never, ever forgot." - Rutland Place
zealeish@yahoo.com - Elisha B.

She is still the same person

She is still the same person who murdered...or helped to murder another INNOCENT person. I could not believe her cold attirude in the interview...Saw NO remourse for having taken the life of another....Her "young" age was NO EXCUSE...If anyone does not know murder is WRONG at age 15, then he,she or it is either capable of commiting same or mentally incompentent and should have a keeper! Those who excuse her behavior..then and now...may do well to imagine how they would forgive and forget if someone they loved had been her victim!

Parker-Hulme, is Perry truly contrite? No.

Augustin, you say: "... a beautiful interview with very good answers by Anne Perry ... I can feel that she is now a good person, very spiritual ... She is obviously cured ... God bless her."

The only point I can't really take you up on is the "God bless her" part, because there's nothing wrong with that. But, for the rest, your responses make me feel you're extremely gullible.

Are you aware a (quite shaken) psychiatrist who interviewed the girls before the trial described meeting them as having been in the most evil presence he'd experienced? That when first held by the police Juliet was heard telling Parker she'd been surprised how difficult it had been to kill "the old girl"? That they'd plotted the murder for some time?

She was a seriously strange and evil girl and took part in a most vicious murder of a helpless woman who was beaten with a brick 30 or 40 times. Think about that. Think about the damage done to the woman's head and face each time that brick pounded it. Think about how Juliet held the woman by the throat so powerfully that the throat was bruised while Parker took her turn bludgeoning the mother. Do you seriously think someone so cold and calculating and as capable of all that could somehow transform herself into a decent, good person? How could you fall for her self-serving statements so easily?

In the interview, Perry is deceptive at least three or four times (and because of that, I don't believe anything else she says either). She calls herself an accessory. In so doing she's attempting to downplay her role in the murder. (The act of a contrite, reformed person? Hardly.) A legal dictionary describes an accessory as: Aiding or contributing in a "secondary way" or assisting in or contributing to "as a subordinate". (My quote marks.) In fact, she was a co-defendant and played a full part, helping smash the woman to death. Hers was no "subordinate" role, she was no mere "accesory", but she's very happy to push the falsehood that it was really all Parker's doing. Even Juliet’s lawyer believed the murder ‘was worked out' by her and not Parker.

She also (cunningly) says she wouldn't want to use the fact she'd been on strong, mind-altering drugs as an excuse. In fact, at the time of the murder she'd been off medication for some time and, anyway, it was Isoniazid (an anti-bacterial) and Streptomycin (an antibiotic). That medication is still on the market today and is hardly mind-altering stuff. To claim she had been on dodgy drugs was just an attempt to have people think, "well though she says she doesn't want to use it as an excuse perhaps the poor girl wasn't in a stable state of mind because of them". Baloney, she'd taken nothing to affect her mental state and she knows it.

She also says that at the trial, as a girl of 15, she was not able to speak. Rubbish. She and Parker were entitled to take the stand but their lawyers ruled that out because they knew the girls' "rudeness, arrogance and deceit", to quote from Peter Graham's 2011 book on the affair, "So Brilliantly Clever", would alienate the jury. In fact, Perry (Hulme) was so cocky that she thought she'd be a wonderful witness and was eager to take the stand, but the lawyers knew she'd be dreadful and refused.

I've read of other instances when Perry has attempted to reduce the import of the part she played and I'm convinced this this woman, who as a girl acted as if the trial was a boring trifle, and had to be rebuked for giggling during it, remains the same evil person she was at 15 years of age. Some people, such as Charles Manson and John Gacy to name just two, prove by their actions that they're pure evil and nothing can ever change that. That evil's their core, it's just the way they are. They can't feel sorry for what they've done, they're not capable of remorse. This woman is no different, her words of remorse are empty -- unlike the grave of Honora Parker.

You say "very good answers" from Perry? I think her horrific actions back in 1954 spoke louder than those self-serving words, and they always will.

Please vote

There are many interesting comments in this thread.

But also, make sure you all vote in the following poll:

Juliet Hulme aka Anne Perry

Once a sociopath, always a sociopath. This woman chills me to the bone.

Young age, emotional distress

The parents were probably acting in what they believed was in the girls' best interest. But in those days, today's tolerance didn't exist. From the girls' point of view, in their perception, they were facing the loss of everything.

The two girls who committed that crime were in tremendous emotional distress, emotional upheval that must have completely swamped their judgement. Combine their age with the situation, and if ever there was a case for diminished capacity, that is one.

Michael Ossipoff

Anne Perry

I'm sorry I just don't agree.There is never any justification for such a brutal and horrific crime.To even think killing someone in this way is bad enough but to carry it out has to be evil. nevrob

Anne Perry

This woman Anne Perry talks about mitigating circumstances.There are NO mitigating circumstances for such an evil,barbaric and horrific crime.Perry expresses no remorse.I am a christian and don't believe in the death penalty but this poor ladies soul has not received justice.Perry should be locked up for at least another fifteen years and made to contemplate what she has done and to add insult to injury after committing such a heinous crime she goes and writes murder stories how macabre is that.I would imagine it's very easy to think up murder plots when you actually plan and carry out a murder.I think in this case society has been too forgiving. nevrob

In the penitentiary system

In the penitentiary system poll (http://minguo.info/usa/node/80 ) the top option currently is:
"In the case of violent criminals (e.g. murderers), it is equally important to protect the society as it is to cure the criminal".

I gave the maximum score to that option because for me they are the most important aspects of the judiciary system.

In the case of Anne Perry:
1) the society is safe! She obviously won't commit any more violent crime. She is a productive citizen paying taxes, etc. So, the society does not need to be protected from her.

2) Is she cured? This question is more difficult to answer. It depends what one means by "cured". Will she commit murder again? Obviously not. For me, that's the most important. She is cured enough for me. Is she remorseful? Certainly to some degree, but many commenters above don't think that she is remorseful enough. Well, it's hard to judge, really. We cannot really tell from a 10 minute interview. Personally, I prefer to leave that aspect to God.

I think the human justice has already done what it had to do, and what it could. The rest is between her and God. God's justice will finish the job, if necessary.

There is a little difference

There is a little difference between killing and wrongful loss of life. Although the two result in an unfortunate loss of life, they vary with purposes and predetermination. The two also have different punitive measures based on the state where the criminal activity happened.