The full interview (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11456904) is well worth reading despite that it faces the predictable assumptions that the late Hutton's daughters would hardly likely take a position against their father, nor indeed could it possibly solve the central question of not 'if' but 'who' planted the cartridge shell central to the false conviction of Arthur Thomas. Of course it is apparent that no one has ever suggested that anyone other than police investigating the Crewe murders could have planted the spent case. On the other hand the interview is very revealing about the mind set of Bruce Hutton. In the first paragraph, perhaps to show the kindness of Hutton, it is revealed that BH (Bruch Hutton) took home the Crewe family cat which he 'believed' had been sitting on the lap of Jeanette Crewe when she was shot. His daughters spoke about his engaging with the cat by expressing that he wished the cat could talk - hence revealing what BH went to his grave never knowing for certain, who had killed the Crewes. Fisher says this story bleeds colour into the black and white history of Bruce Hutton. Indeed, I think it does. Even in the 1970s the RSPCA rehomed cats, that a detective would take home the cat and wish aloud that it could talk - does indeed bleed colour. Equally, that BH apparently openly discussed details of a confidential murder inquiry (at that point not solved, and indeed never solved) with his family is a surprise. Erin O'Neil one of BH's 3 daughters says that the details of the cat that it drove their mother up the wall and that she though it to be a bit 'spooky.'
Another daughter Mrs Townsend is quoted as saying that as BH became the villain of the piece after Arthur Thomas pardon a point was reached where 'enough' was 'enough.' Mrs O'Neil reveals that BC warned them not to talk to the press because it didn't work because they didn't stop. An insightful revelation that BH was of a mind that the press were not compliant and talking to them didn't work because they didn't stop. Fair enough, but still overlooking the reason why the press have never stopped reporting on the Crewe murders because what they heard, and indeed were 'told' by BH, 'didn't work' because it was not plausible and it left the public doubts which continue today. Reading that it was hard not to imagine a cross individual telling the press something which may have been difficult to believe, and which certainly did not fill the gaps missing in a narrative - becoming angry because he was not instantly believed, or in some respects never believed.
As the interview deepens so does revelations of the mindset of BC '"As far as Dad was concerned, once it had got to court it was up to them. That was his faith in the justice system." If someone went through the courts and was freed at the end, Mr Hutton told Ms O'Neill: "You just wait for them to come around again," his daughters said. Of course possibly not realising that BC's faith in the justice system was that the system would see that he was right, and if it didn't he would 'wait for them to come around again.' In other words BH could not consider that he was wrong, if an accused was discharged he would take the opportunity 'for them to come around again' to prove, one assumes, once and for all that he was right. In the short quote about faith in the justice system, it shows no faith at all in my mind. In fact it shows somebody that is certain he is right and that there is no alternative, additionally that if the 'system' fails to recognise he is right - that he will wait for the opportunity to show them they are wrong.
There will be those reading this who could willingly accept that police in general do leave things up to the Courts. That is after all their job, to collect evidence and bring charges where evidence is of level that it could be concluded a person is guilty of a crime. However few would accept that it is also the police's job to invest in being right, to lose objectivity and not accept due process. From what BC's daughters have said, BH didn't have objectivity. Despite that he could never prove who killed the Crewes he apparently went to the grave 'knowing' who did taken from this comment in the article where BH tells another detective inquiring recently into the case - "No, I've got my man." Until the day he died, he would say to Ms Townsend: "That's all right. I've got to meet my maker. So does he."
It appeared in later life that BH was still consumed by the case in a manner inconsistent with his own claim of having faith in the justice system, by then however he was relying on the judgement of his 'maker' in a Court which for many in these times doesn't exist. So despite the colour being let into a 'black and white history' as Fisher calls it, a picture that remains black and white is still seen. BH was entirely clear that he was right, it was black and white apparently in his mind. For someone interested in these controversial cases it would not be unusual to anticipate that BH confirmed for many others his utter belief in being wrong. However, taking into account the uncompromising belief in being right would give concern. In reality the facts of the Crewe case are well known, that BH was the chief investigator is also well known, that he put all his evidence (yes, which must include planted evidence to be accurate) but failed to prove that he was right. That is nothing to do with the press, an ex Prime Minister Robert Muldoon pardoning the man BH was confident would also 'meet his maker', a Royal Commission and public opinion it is do with factual evidence and disquiet about the method used to convict Thomas twice using that planted evidence. I've used the term 'noble cause' in the title of this blog, while something of a cliché used to describe a general belief of why some police choose to plant evidence that means they have decided that the accused/suspect guilty, that is, know he or she is guilty and that to assist the 'system' planting evidence is needed to gain a conviction and avoid the possibility of having to wait until the person 'comes around again.'
I should point out here that when BH spoke about the coming 'around again,' Arthur Thomas was a man without any convictions, not a recidivist burglar or robber, but a farmer who for all intents and purposes has led a blameless life. So if BH was one of those police that pursued 'noble cause' thinking he wasn't starting from a position with a known criminal who had convictions but in a 'clean skin' who had once..., yes, given Jeanette Crewe a present years before they were both married.
More is revealed in the article about 'black and white' where a daughter reveals the following: Next door to their home in West Auckland there was an orchard. Other children in the neighbourhood enjoyed its bounty but the Hutton girls knew the fruit belonged to those who grew it. "That's how we were brought up. It was black and white. It was wrong or it was right. If it's not yours, it's not yours to take." BH was very firm in his thinking, there was no colour apparently, things indeed were black and white. He convinced himself that Thomas was guilty and that was the end of the matter, what hasn't ended however is that a Royal Commission, along with a majority of the population are convinced that somewhere during BH's crusade to prove himself right, someone on the inquiry team planted a cartridge case fortunately unaware that the it could later be proven that the cartridge case had not been manufactured at the time of the Crewe murders. That BH made no effort to get to the bottom of that crime, the planting of evidence on his watch, along with never properly investigating 2 suspects, one arguably the killer and the other later claimed to be at least an accomplice after the fact was, to again use the phrase 'black and white' confirmation that in his mind there was only one conclusion, that was his conclusion and those not agreeing with him would meet 'their maker.'
Sadly, the interview touches upon the fact that BH kept a photo of orphaned child of the late Crewes, Rochelle on his wall. His daughters point to this as further proof either that their father was right or to give a view of his compassion. What the public know about Rochelle is that she had sought the most recent inquiry into the investigation of the killing of her parents, an investigation that has resulted in confirmation that Thomas should not have been charged and the cartridge was planted more than likely by police. It was she who could not accept black and white, or tunnel vision, she didn't accept the opinions of others forced upon her but rather to arrive at her own with all the information that should have been investigated and considered under Hutton's watch.
The full article follows......
While living in the Pukekawa house where her parents were later murdered, Rochelle Crewe would have tested Rasty's patience in the way all toddlers do with cats.
As Rochelle slept, Rasty apparently did what cats do on wintery nights. Witnesses told Mr Hutton how he would curl up on Jeannette Crewe's lap as she knitted on the sofa in front of the fire. He was there, Mr Hutton always thought, when Harvey Crewe's brains were blown out on June 17, 1970.
The cat moped around after Mr Hutton at the murder scene until the detective took pity and adopted her. At night, after 18 hour-long days leading the murder investigation, he would sit and consider Rasty.
"By God I wish you could talk," he would say.
"It drove mum up the wall," recalls Erin O'Neill, one of Mr Hutton's three daughters.
It's a story that bleeds colour into the black-and-white portrait that history has created of Mr Hutton.
When he died in March 2013, it was 43 years since he took up leadership of the investigation into the murder of the Crewes. It was a case which would polarise the nation - not least because of the rise of Mr Hutton in the public's eyes as a key suspect in planting evidence on which Arthur Thomas was convicted. Mr Thomas was eventually pardoned but Mr Hutton's stature as the villain of the piece grew.
That's not the man he was, say his daughters Erin O'Neill (58), Christine Watson (63) and Gail Townsend (65).
Ms Townsend: "There comes a point where enough is enough."
Ms O'Neill: "Dad always said to us 'you don't talk to the press'. You know what? It doesn't work because they don't stop."
This might be the first time Mr Hutton's daughters have deliberately gone against his wishes.
"Dad wouldn't sell his soul for his job," says Ms O'Neill. "He was a very, very proud man. To cheat? He would not have got any satisfaction with that, when you know the sort of person he was.
"As far as Dad was concerned, once it had got to court it was up to them. That was his faith in the justice system." If someone went through the courts and was freed at the end, Mr Hutton told Ms O'Neill: "You just wait for them to come around again."
Bruce Hutton grew up outside Dargaville in a family with 21 children. His father had fought in the Boer War aged 17 and then been gassed in World War One. Mr Hutton left school aged 12, tried the army then - aged 17 himself - joined the police. He left for a period, then married and joined up again as he and wife Dorothy started raising their family.
Next door to their home in West Auckland there was an orchard. Other children in the neighbourhood enjoyed its bounty but the Hutton girls knew the fruit belonged to those who grew it. "That's how we were brought up. It was black and white. It was wrong or it was right. If it's not yours, it's not yours to take."
Ms Townsend remembers, at age 7, taking a packet of chewing gum from the local dairy. Mr Hutton smelled it on her breath and took her straight back to the store. "I had to work for them for a month without pay."
On a walk to the dairy, aged 9, Ms O'Neill found a handbag in a call box. She took it home and her father returned it to its owner who offered Ms O'Neill a 10 shilling reward. "No," said Mr Hutton. "She doesn't have that. She's only returning what's rightfully yours."
He instilled a regimented approach to life which saw shoes shining, discipline prized and a diligent rigour applied to all endeavours. His vegetable garden had dead-straight, immaculately-weeded rows and Mr Hutton's girls grew a little that way too - protected surrounds, environmentally safe. He made it clear, some boys - like unwelcome weeds - would not be tolerated.
For all apparent rigidity, Mr Hutton loved Christmas and as Father Christmas would sneak about the night before. Mrs Hutton would make Christmas cakes he would take to the prison. Ms Townsend: "Mum would say 'do I have to ice them or decorate them' and Dad would say 'how would you like to sit in a cold grey cell and have Christmas'."
They remember him as a fiercely intelligent man who shaved in the morning, singing loudly in Latin, and once had an ambition to be a surgeon at a time when university required resources far beyond the means of the sprawling family in which he was raised.
Once he left the house, he was a police officer. He worked hard, studied hard and rose through the ranks. He wasn't a talker. "He would listen and observe and when he spoke he would have weighed everything up," said Ms Townsend. "Dad would never arrest unless he was 100 per cent. He would tell me, 'you don't play with people's lives'."
This was the man who went to investigate the double murder at Pukekawa.
The daughters remember clearly the time following the murders. There was the heavy rain one August morning, recalls Ms O'Neill. Mr Hutton, pondering the downpour, said: "When you have rain like this, you never know what it's going to bring up." Jeannette Harvey's body emerged at Devil's Elbow in the Waikato River.
It was the first indication, she says, of a gun having been g used to kill the couple. The bloodshed in the house had sent the detectives down another track. "All they knew was they were looking for a machete," she says. "This is why they weren't looking for a cartridge case."
The daughters recall the genuine, intense concern Mr Hutton had during the time after the inquiry about some of those campaigning to free Thomas. Ms Townsend remembers her father's fear that his family would be targeted, and how she moved, married with two children, back into her parents' police house in Mangere in response to a perceived need for protection.
Mr Hutton came in the front door one night in a flurry, having driven past the family home and seen a blind a few inches above the sill. Inside, stark against the light of the room, were the necklines of family members above the couch nearest the window. To Mr Hutton they looked like targets. He insisted the family kill the lights and go to bed.
Personnel records released to the Herald through the Official Information Act show in 1973, then-Commissioner Sir Angus Sharp describing the Crewe inquiry as "one of the most involved ever undertaken by the police in New Zealand".
Mr Hutton was awarded a Certificate of Merit, with Sir Angus noting that "his devotion to duty over many years is well known and the diligence and zeal he showed in this case deserve special commendation".
"We never envisioned what happened after Dad died"
Along the way, Mr Hutton had found new love with Mary Plumley and he left the family home. He also left the police. A few years later, Mr Thomas was pardoned. From that time, Mr Hutton refused the National Party permission to erect its election billboards on the farm he owned in Mangere.
Life after the police was one of horse breeding and racing. "I think he missed [policing]," says Ms O'Neill. It did remain a significant part of his life. He sponsored a running trophy in Waitemata police district and would present the Hutton Cup annually.
Mary Hutton died of a heart attack on the Coromandel Peninsula and Mr Hutton later married for a third time, to Ivy, who survives him.
In his later years, Rochelle Crewe came forward asking Prime Minister John Key to reopen the case. For years, her photograph had hung on the wall in the Hutton home. Mr Hutton stayed in touch, through her caregivers, for years, and would have been saddened that the victims had taken a back seat to other controversies. "Through all of this, they have been forgotten. That's what dad didn't want," says Ms O'Neill.
Detective Inspector Andrew Lovelock, who led the review into the Crewe murders, visited Mr Hutton. Ms Townsend was told by her father that the questions focused on "regrets" and "if there was anything they could have done differently".
Mr Hutton told Mr Lovelock: "No, I've got my man." Until the day he died, he would say to Ms Townsend: "That's all right. I've got to meet my maker. So does he."
When Mr Hutton did go, in March 2013, the family felt the two-dimensional demonisation of him, which had bubbled along for decades, boiled over. They were exposed to a fierce public debate.
"We never envisioned what happened after Dad died," says Ms O'Neill. The eulogy at the funeral from now-Commissioner Mike Bush created a frenzy. "You couldn't mourn. You found out who your friends are and who you don't want to be bothered with anymore."
And then, in July 2014, came the findings of the review. It didn't support Mr Hutton's determined, 43-year long stance on Mr Thomas though it found significant evidence led back to the Thomas farm. Others should have have been investigated, it said, and the charge against Mr Thomas could not be sustained.
The police also finally conceded the cartridge was probably planted and, if so, by a police officer. Though the review levelled no charges against their former colleague, an independent review from David Jones QC said Mr Hutton should have been charged.
"It's like a knife going in," says Ms O'Neill. "It's like there is always something else.
When Ms O'Neill was told by police the Herald had sought her father's personnel file through the Official Information Act she sat down one evening - having talked to her sisters and mother - and emailed about the tragic "slandering of a man who served his country honestly and who believed in the justice system".
Now, 45 years after the murder of the Crewes, they have had their say. And there may yet be more to say.
"There's not many books written from the other side," says Ms O'Neill. "There will be a book written - it's already been started."
One day, she says, those who accused her father so strongly will die. One day she will be liberated, as others were when Mr Hutton died. "What has happened to Dad can happen to them too. I can say what I like."
Children love their parents, daughters believe their fathers - would you have the perspective to see clearly?
"Yes, because of the way he has raised us. It's injustice. And because justice has been such a part of our upbringing, it's the injustice that eats at you."