RAF murder: Police found husband had double motives of sex and money

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The Independent Online
When Dijana Dudukovic was interviewed in Zurich by British detectives following the murder of Carol Tucker, they made no secret of the fact that they were investigating whether she could be a spy.

As details emerged about the liaison between Squadron Leader Nicholas Tucker and the daughter of a Serbian army colonel alarm bells began ringing at the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office. They discovered that the Royal Air Force officer had been making inquiries with agencies dealing with refugees and asylum seekers. One fear was that he may have been used, unwittingly, to provide avenues of escape for suspected war criminals.

Tucker told the police that his inquiries with the agencies were on behalf of Ms Dudukovic's family who had become refugees in the former Yugoslavia.

After leaving Bosnia Ms Dudukovic moved into the Geneva home of a United Nations official dealing with refugees, Bertrand du Pasquier. She is now married and living in Zurich. Speaking at her home Ms Dudukovic said: "The police tried to make me out to be some kind of a spy, but I do not know anything about that.

"I am not a spy and I know nothing about his wife's death. The police say he killed his wife because he wanted to be with me. They are saying he murdered her so he could live with me. But that is not true."

An MoD source said: "Think of the equation - a British officer infatuated with the daughter of a Serbian colonel, knowing that man had links with the senior echelon of the Krajna Serb faction. Inquiries were carried out."

Tucker had become besotted with the beautiful woman half his age but he was also married to a 15-stone wife four years older than himself with whom marital relations had effectively ceased. However, if Carol Tucker died, he would get pounds 136,000 from various life insurance policies. If she died in a car crash the figure would go up to pounds 307,500.

On the night of 21 July 1995 that is what happened. Driving home with his wife after dinner at the Red Lion, in Icklingham, Suffolk, Tucker missed a turning and met some deer on the road. His wife grabbed the steering wheel and the car plunged into the River Lark. Mrs Tucker was found dead, face down in shallow water. Tucker had been knocked unconscious, and did not know how she had died.

At least that was the story that he tearfully told the police, paramedics, doctors, his children Vanessa and James, and his wife's family.

But detectives were sceptical from the start. Tucker told them he had been driving at more than 50mph, but the damage to the car was so slight that accident investigators were convinced it was going no more than 10mph when it struck the riverbed.

The river was no deeper than 3ft, and at points only 18in. Mrs Tucker was known to have a fear of water, but did not appear to have attempted to scramble on to land. A post-mortem examination revealed that she had haemorrhaging in both eyes, indicating asphyxiation, and there was bruising consistent with finger marks on her chest, and cuts and scratches to the back, left armpit and left upper arm.

As well as money, sex was a motive for murder, according to the police. Sqn Ldr Tucker had volunteered for a six-month posting as an United Nations military adviser in Bosnia where he had met 21-year-old Dijana Dudukovic, who was working as an interpreter. The RAF officer, then 44, was plainly hooked on her. He was to tell the court at his trial that he found Ms Dudukovic "very flirtatious, fascinating to be with, very vivacious" and, incidentally, "a good interpreter".

They made an unlikely couple, the small plump bespectacled officer and the glamorous, 6ft-tall blonde. According to another officer serving there at the time, such was Ms Dudokovic's hold on the squadron leader that military operations began to be run on her "whim".

Tucker arranged for Ms Dudukovic to get a visa for Britain, and in June he spent a week with her in the RAF club in Piccadilly, central London. In court, the officer admitted having a brief affair with Ms Dudukovic but stated that the sexual side of their relationship had been a "bit of a disaster". The two occasions on which they tried to make love had ended in failure. He added: "To put it bluntly I couldn't hack it."

He claimed that Ms Dudu-kovic simply became a good friend. But this appears not to tally with "schoolboyish" love letters he sent to her. In one he had written repeatedly, line by line, "I love you" over six pages.

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