In this post I share the human dynamics involved in the crooked policing surrounding the Crewe murders of 1970. I bring an understanding of human interactions between the two key players at the time – Hutton & Demler. I recap the critical aspects of understanding Autism and removing our a priori assumptions in order to truly understand these murders. If one truly wants to understand the murders and the Police corruption inherent, then this is a very important post.
In previous posts/chapters I have identified the murder weapon used in the execution of Jeannette & Harvey Crewe – it was a .22 ‘Pepperbox’ Ladies Companion pistol owned by Len Demler’s best friend Alf Hodgson, most likely brought out from England when they all immigrated in the early part of last century
I have explained how John Ingley’s stunning lifetime of research gives a very clear motive – Jeannette was ‘taken out’ for standing up to her father Len Demler over her mother Maisies will/probate the day before.
I’ve shared the supreme importance of understanding ASD, not only what it is, but how it affected Len Demler so that it is only perfectly natural that he would act as he did, and have one of his two daughters executed.
I’ve also taught that when things do not make sense (and to many, the Crewe murders don’t make sense) that we can gain insight by reassessing our assumptions. Do we assume that “the Police” are all crooked, or that they are all straight, or that they even want to find the killer at all?
Viewing corruption for what it is, (the norm in a self-centered society) helps us to realise that even today, many know what happened but haven’t spoken out.
Getting to Grips with History
The process of research and learning is different for different people and for different purposes. In an insurance claim investigation for example seeks proof of fraud in order to avoid a large payout for the underwriter. The moment we have the proof (that say somebody left a stopcock off deliberately to sink a boat) then our job is done. Finding out that someone is an adulterer may be all that is required from us, but other times we need to dig further and find out who they are, and in some cases why it happened. Different people take different approaches to a topic. Some authors will read widely, interview ‘every man and his dog’ then collate a million snippets of information and write from woe to go, publish and be damned! Others will listen to one opinion, then interview their typewriter and shoot from the hips.
I have taken a different approach to sharing this all more akin to sharing along a journey of exploration. When I bought the company that had done the core writing for John Ingley’s book I Fed the Baby, the project was called, Legacy of Greed. I changed it to Legacy of Silence because I couldn’t see how the public would associate greed with the Crewe’s murder and Legacy of Silence had a ring to it that I liked better. But as I worked my way through the material with the editor, (John had died a couple of years before) I came to see that John’s personal relationship with a woman he knew as Leslee Sinton was the real ‘sexy’ thing of the book.
John’s book gave us motive, the identity of the woman who fed the baby and the murder weapon. His analysis of the events of that fateful night was sound and “made sense”, most likely because of his superior hunting and bushman skills. He also approached the matters from a different angle than that of the rest of the commentators who pretty much followed the lead of the Police.
Taking a big picture approach to matters allowed me to apply my knowledge of human nature and strong understanding of ASD onto John’s fresh approach and explanation of what actually happened. I explained in a logical way how and why Len Demler had done what he did. I then worked backwards from that analysis to understanding Hutton and Johnston the crooked cops found to have planted the shell-case. This approach is important to understand because it breaks the spell woven around the case by vested interests. This working backwards is the key for me that has allowed me to do and say what no other has done previously.
Let me go through this process for you then before I come to the conclusion that Hutton was the head of the snake.
I knew that Len Demler had Autism. I knew this because I have had extensive engagement with those with some form of ASD. Everything Len said or did made perfect sense to me if I viewed it with this perspective. Alternatively nothing made any sense to me if he didn’t have ASD. I knew also that Hutton and Johnston were found to have planted evidence but I didn’t really know who Hutton was. His family said, “But that’s not the father/husband we knew. He was a bit tough but he was straight!” This confused me, so I explored this one topic (Hutton) and asked those who knew him personally. Those who worked with him and who had some degree of integrity laid into him, and quite badly too. After a while I could start to see the man as a leader of the pack, and my thinking that his actions showed me that he could have made a phone call way back when (and that he could have only been responding to cover up for a superior) changed.
Hutton became the man in my sights.
Another day, another forum I could perhaps share this journey of discovery, how and why I zeroed in on Hutton and the Mangere pub is all a bit of an adventure but the bottom line is that by targeting this man Hutton I found that he did indeed have a relationship with Len Demler prior to the murders. Even after 50 years, thousands of articles, books, stories and more, I had what I needed. I could finally say, “Yup! Got it! Now it all makes sense!”
Hutton was the Head of the Snake
In 1970 the drinking culture in the Auckland Police was strong. As I understand it there were two primary drinking holes – Anzac Ave in downtown Auckland and Bader Drive in Mangere. Anyone who was anything or wanted to be somebody frequented these joints and Hutton was ‘it’ at the South Auckland venue. It may be a little direct to say that he ran the show like a gang or a cabal, but that he wielded serious influence in the South Auckland policing scene is not an overstatement. Some would go further and say that Hutton and Johnston were untrustworthy or crooked – nasty pieces of work; “crooks in cops outfits” even.
My informants who knew the bar describe it as a smallish area, perhaps 10ft by 10ft which was partitioned off for Police use, semi-private. This is the bar that Queenie reported hearing the cops (I think it was Hutton and Johnston) talk and laugh about setting Arthur Thomas up because he ‘lacked a bit up top’.
So people with authority drank, knew others, enjoyed a bit of banter, bullying and doing a bit with the horses, and trotting around the rugby field too. So what? This was New Zealand in the 1970s and boys will be boys, but something untoward happened when Hutton got the call that Jeannette and Harvey were missing presumed dead and foul play was suspected.
I went back in my mind 50 years to the crime scene at the Crewe farm crime scene at Opuatia*. The first officer on site secured the crime scene, called in the photographer who correctly photographed the wheelbarrow and cow cover. Hutton arrived at 5:10pm then some things changed. But why?
My informants led me to believe that the possibility that Hutton had spoken to his boss who may have known that had loans from Maisie or who had instructed Hutton to conceal something was unrealistic. The possibility that Hutton had contacted his boss’, boss was too remote to be believable (even though Ross Meurant later reported that Walton’s desire to get a conviction was so strong that he wanted Ross to perjure himself!)
There is a difference to some people, call the difference ‘purists vs pragmatists’ if you like. It is whether or not a cop planting evidence at all is right or wrong. The purist says, it is wrong under any circumstance. The pragmatist says that if a cop knows that a suspect did the crime but he doesn’t have enough to ping the suspect in court then it can be justified to plant evidence. This is an important difference to the study of Hutton, Johnston and Hughes, for example. While all three could (and likely did do this) the former two wouldn’t hesitate to do it in any circumstance, that latter apparently only if he believed it. Arrogance to the purist vs just pragmatism to the pragmatist.
Whatever, something happened from/with or by Hutton at Hutton’s instigation at the crime scene that night or the next day, of that I am sure.
I needed to understand this Hutton guy more. Could it be that all these networking rugby, racing and beer people knew each other? And if so, who knew who? Was this the reason that so many over so many years had gotten their fingers burned by speaking out? Is this inter-connectedness the thing that enabled this evil to go unspoken of for so many years? I recalled the words of warning that John Ingley spoke of – his increased understanding of the who’s who of power in the South Auckland region. I thought of all the lands from Port Waikato down to Te Kuiti that some called Demler country, and the myriads of experiences that came to me, often is hushed voices as people would say, “Oh Dennis you can’t say THAT name!”, or “I know who [whatever] but I can never tell!”
To cut a long story short, I found that indeed Len Demler not only knew these people, but that he drank at the Bader Drive pub. Excuse me? Say whaaaaa? He what? Are you telling me that this crooked cop who ran the show didn’t know Len and hadn’t worked it all out BEFORE he got to the Crewe’s farm? Nah! Get real guys! Remember too that the bridge hadn’t been built then and that it was a good 1.5 – 2 hours to drive out there in 1970! There’s a reason Len drank at Bader Drive and there’s time aplenty for Hutton to get himself out there and prepared.
Nah! Hutton knew the significance of the disappearances even before he got there for sure, and I reckon that there’s a VERY good reason why Len Demler became a “person of interest” very quickly as well as the “prime suspect”. This is not a matter or two plus two equals four, it is now a couple of million plus a couple of million equals a fortune!
I will now drift into a hypothetical dreamworld for just a minute and tell you how I can see things going down at this pub. The Otahuhu boys had a good thing going. They’d worked on a few cases together. They’d planted a bit of evidence here and there and had gotten away with it before. They saw themselves as above the law because they were the law. Hutton ran the show down at the Bader Drive pub and the local patrons all let the cops do their thing. Nobody would dare to take their drinks in there because they recognised social norms. If they were not a cop they didn’t go down there. They would not fit in and therefore would not be welcome. That’s just how things work in social circles. Period.
Len Demler however had Autism so he didn’t recognise normal human/social dynamics. He did go down there even if he wasn’t a cop. They would have tolerated him and probably enjoyed playing with him the same as they did with the likes of Arthur Thomas. Len would have enjoyed the attention and would never have known about nor understood the social undercurrents. Hutton and co would have greeted their ‘mate’ over the years the same way that Len would have greeted them all . . . hail fellow well met. I’ll get to proof of this hypothetical situation and why I think it is the case in a minute.
Now when Hutton arrived at the Crewe’s farm he may not have known for sure that Len had done it or how he had done it nor even why he had done it but as the investigation went on Hutton who may have done something wrong himself, or in his eyes, perhaps ‘just a little bit naughty’ would have changed his opinions or his stance over the first few months. This aspect needs to be well understood, that life in realtime is actually a kaleidoscope of changing events, relationships and objectives. While our character generally remains the same (outside major life-changing events) our thoughts and feelings and actions do not always stay the same. Our general approach to the past as humans is to categorise things into boxes. As humans we have to do this to survive otherwise our brains would bust with an overload of changing information, thus in our minds “that person” simply becomes “good or bad”. If they were later proven to have done something wrong thus “they have always been a bad-egg”, kind of thing. Taking changes into account is very difficult when looking back into the past but when we can do this effectively it unlocks our understanding.
My instinct tells me that Hutton, who indeed was the head of the snake of evil here, grew into the corruption from late June 1970 until October 1970 when the deal was done to transfer the attention towards Arthur Allan Thomas and the evidence planting occurred. Hutton and his cronies clearly thought they could get away with it, were flummoxed with Len’s differences and they would have gotten themselves into the poo more steadily until they were eventually caught out.
I strongly suspect that Hutton was by nature a bully and a crook and a leader who went into this investigation with conflicting issues, relationships, feelings and thoughts. His public presentation was that Len Demler was only a suspect, whereas he did drink with him and know him and his family. This was after all 1970 and they all knew each other. I think also that the deal done in October 1970 did not come about over a period of time, nor was it planned. I think that the deal, be it land or otherwise was more opportunism from Hutton, seeing an opportunity to benefit personally at the expense of a sort-of-a ‘drinking mate’ whom he couldn’t nail for the crime, despite his genuine efforts to get to the bottom of the murky Pukekawa business. It strikes me that Len Demler could pull it off too because if there’s one thing that these kind of people have, if it isn’t EQ, it is animal cunning. Len would have known full well that Hutton was eminently bribable and his offer would have been a simple business deal made attractive to Hutton. That’s how Len operated. He was just a trader, doing deals here there and everywhere. One day it was ripping off the taxman. The next getting a loan from his wife in return for his debt getting cleared. The next it was cajoling his dying wife to give him back the farm. The next it could have been taking a sick dog out the back and shooting it. And the next, it had to be Jeannette, well that was her choice wasn’t it?
Do you too ‘get it’ now?
So what makes me so sure that this is realistic?
When I found out that the Police removed pictures relating to the Mangere pub from the Mangere Historical Society in 2010 I knew, immediately the significance of this. I know that they were taken by Police conducting the Crewe Review at the outset of their review. I also know that they were taken without any return promise, let alone a date. I know that they have still not been returned.
It’s too simplistic to just say that Len and Hutton were photographed together. This is much deeper than just one photo. This is a major social network with people in the know on the inside again, from the earliest of days into the review of what they needed to get out of the Museum and why. Remember that these photos went in 2010. The Crewe Review went from 2010 to 2914. Just like proof that Police corruption can be proved by way of taking the cow cover within hours of Hutton’s arrival, so to does that these photos were “collected” in 2010 proves that somebody, somewhere knew what was out there and the significance of it.
Ten to one … no … 100 to one that the photos of that pub contained evidence of people seen together that did not want to be seen together. These are powerful people. They mix in the same circles and the Crewe investigation was coming way too close for comfort. They nipped it all in the bud. Whitewash within the Police Review proved to all right thinking people – right there.
I strongly suspect that these photos will never be returned and the reason that they, along with many, many other documents, reports and evidence have just disappeared is because they held information that is deeply incriminating upon certain people, still even right to this day. Please don’t tell me that people don’t protect their own. They do. We all do.
Hutton was never charged with the clear crimes that he committed. Some cock and bull story that not even David Jones QC could see himself buying into was issued by TPTB and “Tut, tut. Sorry I got caught saying nice things about the crook at his funeral so I’ll stand to one side for this one”. All predictable political correctness and BS talk from those with vested interests. Hutton’s gone now, but it is my belief that he, like all of us, whether we know it, believe it or not will eventually, if he hasn’t already faced the music for what he thought, said and did.
As head of the snake, I’d hate to be in his shoes.
This post has been a hard one to write but it has been important. Direct. Logical. In my penultimate post I will summarise the entire Crewe Murders saga, starting at the beginning and going through the events one by one, the multiple deceptions and the errors of those who have observed, questioned and commented on the events. Thank you for joining me on this journey.
* ‘They’ say the murders occurred at the Crewe farm in “Pukekawa” but the Crewe property wasn’t in Pukekawa – it was much more southerly, even past Onewhero and actually in Opuatia. There are two reasons why I believe TPTB consciously avoided all mention of this in the media – the first and most obvious reason was that in October 1970 the deal was made to transfer the heat onto Arthur Allan Thomas and they wanted to create the impression that the Thomas farm (way up northerly) and the Crewe farm were close by, neighbours, so-to-speak. See the map above – they weren’t! The second reason though, and a little more conspiratorial, was that TPTB back then wanted to keep the words Opuatia and “Chapman” (specifically Chapman Road), out of the press, and therefore away from the nosey, little inquiring minds – like mine. These were and still are today BTW powerful names and people. You just cannot rock the boat and expect to get away with it, either then or now. People get suicided, arrested or bought off, if they’re buyable all the time. Speak to any Private Investigator or ex-cop or lawyer, judge or reporter and they’ll tell you who things really work out there!