So it was not Norma Demler? For decades, rumours circulated that it had to be Norma Demler who fed Rochelle Crewe in the time period between her parents’ murders and her being officially found in 1970. The fact that Norma was Len Demler’s second wife and a very closed, reserved woman, who refused to talk about the Crewe Murders, only added to the mystery. It confirmed for many that indeed it was she who had fed the baby.
However, all this time there was a statement in the possession of the police that could have diffused all rumours and would have made Norma Demler’s life less difficult. But, instead of doing what is right and releasing the information to let Norma breathe a little easier, they kept it under lock and key.
The New Zealand Herald reports that “During the first trial, a farm worker Bruce Roddick, now deceased, gave evidence that he saw a woman outside the Crewe’s home two days after the murders.
Investigative journalist Bryan Bruce said it took more than a year for police to release the statement to him under the Official Information Act.
He said the statement was given after Mr Roddick had been driven to the Demler farm to see Mrs Demler on June 1, 1972 by Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton, who was heading the inquiry.
“The statement must be a true one because it was listed as Exhibit R14 at Thomas’s second trial. It is not like the bullet evidence. Bruce Roddick took the stand at that trial and had his statement been a forgery he could have been asked about it under oath,” Mr Bruce said.
“But it was never mentioned at the second trial because the Thomas defence team knew they could not point the finger at Mrs Demler because the Crown had Roddick’s statement that she was not the woman he saw that day.”
Mr Roddick’s statement proved that the rumours that Mrs Demler feed baby Rochelle were wrong, he said.”
Bruce is also critical of the Police for sitting on this information: ““The police had a duty to put a stop to the spread of that misinformation, but they also had a moral obligation to Mrs Demler to release what they knew in order to prevent her being publicly vilified for something she did not do.”
The Crewe Murders are being reviewed by Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock. “Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham said once completed, the review would then be independently assessed.”
In the meantime, I think we should let Mrs Norma Demler live her life in peace until we have the timeline in this cold case correct.