Anne Perry death: Heavenly Creatures killer dies age 84 - was her name Juliet Hulme, what books did she write?

Anne Perry, who was jailed as a teenager for murdering her friend's mother, has died age 84 (Photo: PA/Diane Hinds)Anne Perry, who was jailed as a teenager for murdering her friend's mother, has died age 84 (Photo: PA/Diane Hinds)
Anne Perry, who was jailed as a teenager for murdering her friend's mother, has died age 84 (Photo: PA/Diane Hinds) | PA
The murder of Honora Mary Parker by Anne Perry, born Juliet Hulme, and her friend Pauline Parker served as the basis for the film Heavenly Creatures

London-born crime author Anne Perry, who was jailed as a teenager for murdering her friend’s mother, has died at the age of 84, her agent has confirmed.

The writer – who was known for her Pitt and Monk detective novel series, alongside her dark past that was turned into the Oscar-nominated Peter Jackson film Heavenly Creatures – died on Monday in Los Angeles, where she had been living. She is survived by her brother Dr Jonathan Hulme and his family.

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A statement from Ki Agency said: “Anne was a loyal and loving friend, and her writing was driven by her fierce commitment to raising awareness around social injustice. Many readers have been moved by her empathy for people backed into impossible situations, or overwhelmed by the difficulties of life.

“Her characters inspired much love among her fans, and comforted many readers who were going through tough times themselves.”

It announced her death along with the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York and Ken Sherman & Associates in Los Angeles, saying she died on April 10.

Was the film Heavenly Creatures based on her?

In 1954 at the age of 15, Perry, who was born Juliet Hulme, was convicted along with her friend Pauline Parker, who was 16, of murder. The pair bludgeoned Parker’s mother to death with a brick in a stocking in Christchurch, New Zealand – becoming two of the country’s most notorious killers.

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The trial heard how the two girls had planned the murder in an attempt to stop the pair from being split up - Perry’s parents separated and it was decided that she would be sent to South Africa to live with relatives. The girls decided that Parker should join Perry in South Africa as well, and believed that Perry’s parents would agree to the plan, but that Parker’s mother would stop her going. 

Thus the two devised a plan in order to remove what they perceived as the major obstacle preventing them from being together. On 22 June 1954, Perry and Parker went on a walk with Parker’s mother, Honora Mary Parker, through Victoria Park in Christchurch. In a wooded area, Perry and Parker bludgeoned Honora to death - she was killed after being hit with a brick around 20 times. 

Kate Winslet starred as Juliet Hulme (aka Anne Perry) in Heavenly Creatures (Photo: Miramax)Kate Winslet starred as Juliet Hulme (aka Anne Perry) in Heavenly Creatures (Photo: Miramax)
Kate Winslet starred as Juliet Hulme (aka Anne Perry) in Heavenly Creatures (Photo: Miramax) | Miramax

Perry and Parker attempted to claim that Honora had accidentally fallen and hit her head, however their story quickly fell apart due to the major injuries sustained by Honora around her head, neck and face, and the fact that police discovered the murder weapon nearby the scene of the crime. 

The events would later be the inspiration behind director Jackson’s 1994 psychological drama, starring Kate Winslet (I Am Ruth, Mare of Easttown) as Perry in a break-out role and Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets, The Last of Us) as her friend Parker, which received an Academy Award nod for screenplay writing.

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As both Perry and Parker were under 18 at the time of the killing, neither could be sentenced to death and they were instead subject to “detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure”, according to the New Zealand government website.

After serving a five-year prison sentence, Perry was released and changed her name, returning to the UK and later beginning her writing career.

What books did she write?

Over the course of her writing career, Perry has published a vast selection of books, including her young adult Timepiece series, fantasy books like Tathea and Come Armageddon, her Christmas Collections and stories as well as a variety of historical murder mysteries and detective books.

Perry’s life as an author began with the publishing of The Cater Street Hangman in 1979, the first in a series of books featuring Victorian policeman Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte. Her second series of crime novels revolve around private detective William Monk and volatile nurse Hester Latterly.

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In 2000, Perry won the Edgar Award, which celebrates mystery novel writers, with Heroes, a short story about a murder that takes place in the trenches during the First World War. She had been working on more titles in both the Pitt and Monk series and her works have regularly appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

Her final novel, The Fourth Enemy, was released in the week before her death.