Thursday, June 17, 2010

The 40th anniversary of the Crewe murders - NZ's most baffling...

Auckland New Zealand, Skyline from HarbourImage via Wikipedia
On the 40th anniversary of New Zealand's most baffling murder mystery, Arthur Allan Thomas’s ex wife Vivien Harrison has broken her silence on the case that destroyed her marriage and drove her from the country.

And she’s called for the "mystery woman" she believes fed the baby of murdered couple Harvey and Jeanette Crewe to account for witness reports that she was seen at their farmhouse after the killings.

Thomas, who was convicted of murder on evidence later found to be fabricated by the police, was finally pardoned in 1979 and awarded $950,000 in compensation after a royal commission of inquiry ruled he should never have been charged.

After publicly campaigning for her husband's freedom through two court trials – both of which found him guilty – Harrison filed for divorce while Thomas was still in prison.

They haven’t spoken since and no one else has been charged with the murders. But in an exclusive interview with North & South magazine, she still stands by her man.

"What I did was end my marriage to Arthur. But I did not desert him. I know Arthur did not kill those people and I will declare his innocence until the day I die."

Thomas, who was devastated by her decision, felt betrayed. But she says their relationship was a casualty of the justice system.

"The second trial ended my marriage; what hopes we had were dashed by the verdicts delivered by that jury. Our plans for our future were completely and utterly gone."

Researcher and writer Chris Birt, who wrote a book on the Crewe murders, The Final Chapter, in 2001, tracked Harrison down to Queensland and returned with her to the Pukekawa farmhouse, south of Auckland, where the murders took place on June 17, 1970.

Initially fingered by police as the woman who fed the Crewe’s baby girl, Rochelle, before the bodies were found five days later, Harrison speaks out against the police corruption she says has tainted her life in the July issue of North & South .

And the families of two other key witnesses reveal their own stories of harassment and intimidation at the hands of the police.

Should there be a further inquiry into the Crewe murders and should the "mystery woman" – who is known to the police – be asked to account for her whereabouts during those five days before the bodies were found? Have your say below.

Acknowledgements: Plus read more about the Crewe murders in the July issue of North & South  Magazine.

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Anonymous said...

We may never know what happened that night 40 years ago. What we need is an end to one of the most baffling murders in this country. Perhaps a fresh look at the case may answer and solve some aspects of it. If there are people still alive that could assist with this they should be made to do so.

Kiwi Riverman's Blogesphere said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Closure is needed. Who fed the baby, Rochelle Crewe?

Anonymous said...

Definitely. Let the truth be finally told. And wouldn't it be nice for the police to finally accept their mistakes and try and make thing right?

Anonymous said...

Blatent conspiracy, incompetence and debauchery within the ranks of the NZ Police Authority resulted in an innocent man serving a nine year prison sentence for murders he did not commit!
The cost to NZ taxpayers was several millions, so YES, YES, YES the NZ Government owe it to the populace to disclose everything!
But most importantly - Arthur Alan Thomas deserves and has earned the right to Know!

Anonymous said...

When did Len Demler meet his second wife? Was it before his first wife died? Why did his brother-in-law leave his farm to his nieces? I believe the murders had everything to do with years of built up resentment over the ownership of land. The only person who had any possible motive got away with murder. The police had more than enough evidence to lay charges. Why did they do an about face and pursue an innocent man?

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