‘An Auxiliary to Murder’ looks at killing of Coleraine woman in 20s

A new documentary from Irish language TV station TG4 is set to tell the story of a New Zealander who was an ‘Auxiliary’ in the Irish War of Independence and his relationship with a Coleraine woman that ended in her tragic death.

Pairteach I nDúnmharú - An Auxiliary To Murder is a courtroom drama-documentary that interweaves a sensational murder trial with a seminal chapter in Ireland’s War of Independence to tell the story of Hori Morse and Hilda Emily Hunter.

Hori Morse was a member of the infamous H Division of the Auxiliary members of the Royal irish Constabulary (RIC) during the War of Independence and the documentary also presents seminal events in County Kerry during the War of Independence through the eyes of one who was seen by some as one of its ‘arch villains’.

Award-winning documentary producer Des Kilbane said the Auxiliaries were hated and feared by many, describing them as a ‘gentleman’s Black and Tans’.

RIC Auxiliary Hori Morse

“There were no court martials, no war crimes tribunals, no truth and reconciliation commissions,” he said.

“While on leave, Morse began a relationship with Hilda Hunter, who lived in Coleraine with her husband and three children.

“After he resigned from the RIC he eloped to Australia with Hilda Hunter, who left her three children and husband behind in Ireland, to work on the sheep-shearing circuit.

“On the other side of the world this ex-Auxiliary pulled his service revolver, killed his lover and stood trial for murder.

Hilda Hunter from Coleraine

“In dramatic circumstances Hori used the same Smith and Wesson revolver he’d used against the IRA to kill Hilda, and the whole extraordinary story came tumbling out in an Adelaide courtroom.”

There are some interesting insights into the Coleraine of the 1920s as seen through the eyes of Coleraine native Penny Stewart, granddaughter of the victim Hilda Hunter.

The BAI-funded drama-documentary to be broadcast on TG4, blends dramatisation with newsreel archive of the War of Independence as well as contemporary footage, photographs and newspapers that chronicle the life and times of Hori Morse and his victim.

Pairteach I nDúnmharú - An Auxiliary to Murder is co-directed by award winning directors Lydia Monin and Andrew Gallimore and is produced by the award-winning documentary producer Des Kilbane from DesK Productions.

The documentary will be broadcast on December 15 and will then be available to view on the TG4 player after broadcast.