Story: Violent crime

The final chapter (4th of 4)

The final chapter

Chris Birt's book, The final chapter: the truth behind New Zealand's most famous murder mystery (2001), indicated continuing public interest in the Arthur Allan Thomas case, three decades after the murders of Jeanette and Harvey Crewe. Using material obtained under the Official Information Act and a notebook from a policeman who investigated the case, Birt argued that the killer was Len Demler, Jeanette Crewe's father, who died in 1992. Demler told the police that he found the Crewes' 18-month-old daughter Rochelle in her cot in the bloodstained farmhouse, five days after her parents were last seen. In 2006 Chris Birt presented the police with an investigator's dossier on the murders, in which he identified the woman he believed to have fed Rochelle. The woman has denied that she visited the Crewe farmhouse and cared for the child. Who killed the Crewes and who fed Rochelle remains a mystery.

Using this item

Penguin New Zealand
Reference: Chris Birt, The final chapter: if Arthur Allan Thomas didn’t kill Jeanette and Harvey Crewe - who did?: the truth behind New Zealand’s most famous murder mystery. Auckland: Penguin, 2001.

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How to cite this page:

Greg Newbold, 'Violent crime - Controversial murder trials, 1940 onwards', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 8 June 2023)

Story by Greg Newbold, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 18 Mar 2019