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« Something every driver should be forced to read | Main | Crewe murders book: new review »



What I read above seems like a game of word play, more reminiscent of "The Divinity Code" than anything else in its style.

It seems absurd that so much speculation can be directed at Len Johnston, simply on the basis that he was a more likely murderer than Arthur Allan Thomas!

Are we merely comparing a probability of 1% and 2% here? What about the probability that it was someone else again - riding at perhaps 93%?

Len Johston was a policemen hired to solve crime, not to perform crime. It is possible to see all his actions as being directed at getting a conviction.

I don't see a murderer being identified 40 years on, by reopening the case. We need new witnesses, material new evidence.

I would prefer to see the police focus on crime today. Yes, New Zealand like all countries has a legacy of unsolved murders. Sometimes criminals get lucky.

Sometimes the innocent get unlucky too. I thought that is why Arthur Allan Thomas got his compensation.


Actually we do need an investigation by an independent party such as a retired judge (preferably Australian). As a Kiwi in his mid 60's I find it very distressing to have witnessed the steep decline of the NZ Police force.
It is only by reviewing such cases that lessons can be learned and organisations improve. Regrettably most NZ'ers don't trust the police to investigate themselves.
You have only to look at the recent high profile stuff ups (Kahui, Louise Nicholas, Scott Watson, Davis Bain etc) to know that there is something seriously wrong with the NZ Police, and the way they go about their duties.
One issue occurs to me. whilst other organisations have matured and become increasingly professional, the NZ Police have stood still. Police recruits are generally, those of lower educational standard, who are inculcated in the Police methodology at Trentham. It is from these ranks that our detectives and Police leaders come. It would greatly concern me to have the police investigate an issue for one of my family. That is if you can get them to attend!
One way to restore public confidence is by total transparency. Get rid of the Police Complaints Authority and put in its place a truly independent body that has some teeth. Also, look at introducing graduate programmes into the police force so that the investigative branch has access to greater professionalism.
Finally, you just can't read this book and not be seriously disturbed. The issues around the Thomas evidence strike at the heart of our justice system. This is larger than the Crews, and Thomas: it strikes at the core of the system every NZ'er should be able to rely on.
Just my two bob's worth!


Well Pete, if there needs to be an inquiry on the Police Force - let us look at the Police Force today and not confuse the issue by reconsidering dead unsolved murder cases!


Actually, it is not the murder case per se that interests me as much as the unprofessional investigative processes that have been evident in quite a few important enquiries. I feel that it is only by examining the methodology of the police in some of these enquiries that we will learn enough to go forward.
Apart from this there is the matter of social justice. Those whose lives have been left in turmoil by sloppy, unprofessional. unethical or illegal practices are at the very least owed an explanation and possibly an apology.
I don't believe that we will ever know who killed the Crewes, but leaving matters as they are is highly unsatisfactory. If there have been illegal acts, and attempts to pervert the course of justice then those responsible need to be held to account. Their is nothing confusing about that.

Ian Wishart

Peter...when you say we should confine ourselves only to modern cases, you forget something important.

An unsolved murder is an unsolved murder, and remains as real to its surviving victims whether it happened yesterday or 50 years ago.

You appear to be arguing that bourgeois boredom with an issue should be the determinant of public expenditure, but you forget that we gave up the right as individuals to exact our own retribution for wrongs done against us, only in return for collective security where crimes against the one were deemed to be just as important as crimes against any other, and investigated accordingly.

The Crewe case was overwhelmed by police corruption, for reasons I suggest in the book had a lot to do with the involvement of a police officer in the crime.

The victims still have a right to be heard and the case properly investigated, whether Rochelle's parents died yesterday or in 1970.


The Hutton family hope Bruce Hutton will be exonerated with the police review (when is that coming out?). I think it unlikely he or the police will ever be exonerated, because, among other things everything points to the cartridge case being a plant. I myself have realised that even if someone had managed to fire a bullet throught the louvre window, the cartridge case would not even have gone in the direction where it was found in the flower bed And it was very unlikely to go in the direction it should have without hitting that fly screen door and bouncing onto the doorstep or something.

I agree that the murder suicide theory can be ruled out because of the injuries Jeannette sustained to her face prior to death.

Even if Demler had a motive and desire, it does not explain all those strange fires and alleged brake tampering over the years. And I find it unlikely that two separate people would have a motive to kill. If the events above are linked to the murders, it points to someone with a grudge against the Crewes. But the question is who, why and how?

So far nobody has ever confessed to the murders. I find it unlikely that the murderer (if he is still alive) will confess, but I wonder about this mystery woman. Will she come forward eventually and tell everything?


Bruce Hutton is gone now, and the police praised him at his funeral. They retracted what they said after it provoked anger from the Thomas family, but it tells you what their attitude is like.

I am not optimistic about the police review of the case. If it ever comes out, I expect it will be some sort of whitewash or politically cautious thing that does not tell you anything. If it goes as far as to exonerate Hutton and blame Thomas for the murders, it will be slashed to pieces very quickly because it will be so slashable, just as the MacGregor report was.

Curiously, people like Hutton still believe Thomas is guilty, but I have never seen any publication from an anti-Thomas point of view, not even from the people responsible for his convictions. All publications I have ever seen on the case are pro-Thomas.

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