Gibson Group
we design and deliver creative experiences for screens and public spaces

Mistress, Mercy: The Renee Chignell Story


The Outline

Long before 50 Shades of anything, New Zealander and teenage dominatrix Renee Chignell was at the centre of a moral firestorm charged with the murder of cricket umpire Peter Plumley-Walker. Renee was barely out of the news for two years until she was finally acquitted after three high court trials, a trail of secret witnesses, and discredited cops. Renee Chignell has kept her silence, until now. 

Our Role

Direction, production management, post-production

We Collaborated With

Television New Zealand, New Zealand On Air


The Details

In this amazing docu-drama Renee Chignell tells, for the first time, what led her to a career in Bondage and Discipline, how her new client’s body wound up in Huka Falls, and how twisted evidence and secret testimonies were used to build the case that she and her boyfriend had deliberately killed a paedophilic Englishman. 

Based on an exclusive interview with Renee herself, the programme weaves archive footage and dramatization together into an intricate portrait of the most sensational trial NZ had ever seen. 

Charged with murder, Renee and her much older boyfriend Neville Walker were arrested and tried three separate times in a headline-grabbing court battle that ran two-and-a-half-years from 1989 to 1991. It was a sensational case the likes of which New Zealand had never seen before with secret witnesses, courtroom theatrics and questions raised about police interrogations and payments to jailhouse informants.

It was also one that also exposed the nation’s underbelly. Forced to look up the word ‘dominatrix’ in the dictionary, middle New Zealand would never be the same, and the case left an indelible imprint on the national psyche…

Airing on TVNZ One on Sunday 15 July, the programme is now available to watch in New Zealand at


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