Partner Freda Stark, buried together
Waikumete Cemetery & Crematorium, 4128 Great North Rd, Glen Eden, Auckland 0602, Nuova Zelanda
Thelma Mareo Trott (1906 – April 15, 1935) was an Auckland society girl and actress who was murdered by musician husband Eric Mareo, according to her alleged lesbian lover, nude dancer Freda Stark.
On April 15, 1935, Thelma was found dead at her Mt Eden home, poisoned. Her 45-year-old musician husband Eric Mareo was convicted of her murder - in two separate trials. The prime witness for the prosecution was the dead woman's supposed lesbian lover, Freda Stark, the woman famous for dancing at Auckland's Civic Theatre naked but for a g-string and a coat of gold body paint.
In 2004 Rex Mason, who was the Attorney General at the time of the case, decided to write a book about the murder, and the flamboyant musician found guilty. But when Mason died aged 90, his book lay unfinished. Charles Ferrall, co-author of the 2002 book The Trials of Eric Mareo, written with Rebecca Ellis, told the New Zealand Herald he is "almost certain Mareo didn't do it". Thelma Mareo was known to abuse drugs. As Charles Ferrall puts it: "Drugs are floating around, alcohol's floating around, and then someone dies."
Eric Mareo, born in Sydney to Viennese parents, was a man who stood out in New Zealand society of the time. Women loved him, and he had married five times. Tales of the successful orchestra conductor sauntering around depression-era Auckland sporting a tuxedo, gloves, a cane, and a foot-long cigarette holder meant Mareo instantly stood out from the crowd. Eric Mareo served 12 years in Mt Eden prison for his supposed crime.