Crime author and 'Heavenly Creatures' killer Anne Perry dies aged 84

British crime author Anne Perry who wrote Pitt and Monk novel series and was jailed in her teens for killing her friend’s mother using a brick in a stocking dies aged 84

  • Anne Perry killed Honora Mary Parker by hitting her 20 times with a brick in 1954 
  • Popular crime writer’s story inspired an Oscar-nominated Peter Jackson film 

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

The writer of more than 120 books died on Monday in Los Angeles, where she had been living.

She was best known for her Pitt and Monk detective novel series, and her dark past that was turned into the Oscar-nominated Peter Jackson film “Heavenly Creatures”. 

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 10 April.

Crime writer Anne Perry was confirmed to have died on 10 April in Los Angeles, aged 84

‘Inseparable’ Pauline Parker (left) and Juliet Hulme, later known as Anne Perry, leave Christchurch Magistrates Court after the brutal murder of Parker’s mother in 1954

In 1954 at the age of 15, Perry, who was born Juliet Hulme, was convicted along with her friend Pauline Parker of murder.

The pair became two of New Zealand’s most notorious killers after killing Honora Mary Parker by hitting her with a brick in a stocking about 20 times.

Pauline’s diaries revealed how the pair had planned the killing. 

‘Peculiarly enough I have no qualms of conscience (or is it peculiar we are so mad?)’ Parker wrote.

A court heard that the girls had plotted to kill Ms Parker to avoid being separated, as Pauline’s parents planned to send her abroad. 

The events would later be the inspiration behind director Jackson’s 1994 psychological drama, starring Kate Winslet in a break-out role and Melanie Lynskey, which received an Academy Award nod for screenplay writing. 

Justice Adams said at the time the girls ‘kept very much to themselves, scribbled in exercise books effusions which they called novels, spent a good deal of time in each other’s beds, and made plans for their future life together.’

Perry later denied that they were romantically involved, but told The Times the relationship had been obsessive. 

Both planned to move to the United States together to sell their novels. 

Ultimately they were convicted after a jury turned down their pleas that they were not guilty on grounds of insanity. 

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, working as a flight attendant in the United States for a period and joining the Mormon Church in 1968.

She later returned to the UK, where her father – a distinguished scientist – was heading the British hydrogen bomb programme, and began her writing career.

Perry penned The Cater Street Hangman in 1979, the first in a series of books featuring Victorian policeman Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte.

She had this month released another novel in the sequence called The Fourth Enemy and in 2017 released 21 Days, which follows the couple’s son Daniel.

Perry’s second series of crime novels revolve around private detective William Monk and volatile nurse Hester Latterly.

In 2000, she 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.

Prior to her death, 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.

Kate Winslet played Juliet Hulme – Anne Perry – in the 1994 film Heavenly Creatures

Pauline Parker and her mother (right), Honora Mary Parker, who was killed in 1954

The Face Of A Stranger by popular killer-turned-crime-writer Anne Perry

Perry was born in Blackheath, London, in October 1938, and moved first to the Bahamas at the age of eight before originally settling in New Zealand.

She said on her website that she had been fostered as a child due to illness and missed a lot of school as a result.

Perry, who would return to the UK when she was in her 20s to live in Hexham, Northumberland, was also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

She would also publish the mystical novels Come Armageddon and Tathea.

Perry, who has also lived in southern California and Portmahomack near Inverness in Scotland, is survived by her brother Dr Jonathan Hulme and his family.

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