Couple's killer gets two life sentences: Security video and tape of phone call trapped insurance man

AN INSURANCE consultant was given two life sentences yesterday after being convicted of murdering Harry Fuller, a car dealer, and his wife, Nicola, aged 27.

Stephen Young, a father of two, shook his head as the jury returned guilty verdicts at the end of a three-and-a-half week trial at Hove Crown Court, East Sussex. The decision was greeted with cheers from the public gallery, where Mr Fuller's family had sat throughout the trial.

The court had been told how Young, 35, a gun enthusiast, shot the couple at their home in Wadhurst, East Sussex, in February last year as part of a plan to rob Mr Fuller to get cash to offset huge businesss and personal debts.

Mr Fuller, 45, who was known to boast about and exaggerate his wealth, was shot through the back and died immediately as the bullet pierced his heart. His wife of six months died after being shot four times as she tried to flee her killer. Young fired the last bullet through the back of her head after she had crawled to her bedroom and dialled 999 in a futile attempt to call help.

A tape of the call, which was recorded by British Telecom, was played during the trial. Jurors heard Mrs Fuller's last 'squeals' for help before the final shot was fired. Young, of Heskett Park, Pembury, Kent, then tried to make the killings look like a drug-related crime by scattering fine powdered sugar over Mr Fuller's body.

He would probably have escaped detection but for two details he was unable to foresee. One was a tape-recording of a conversation he had with Mr Fuller on the night before the killings in which they had agreed to meet at the cottage the next morning. The tape was played on the Crimewatch television programme, and Young's voice was recognised.

He was also unaware that a bank's security system had filmed his car entering and leaving Wadhurst, with an hour's interval in between.

Young, who denied both murders, claimed in court that he found Mr Fuller dead when he called at the cottage. As he left the house he saw a mystery face at an upstairs window, he said. Later, he claimed, he had received threatening phone calls, which persuaded him not to tell police what he saw.

After the verdict Tom Fuller, 40, one of Harry Fuller's brothers, said of Young thought his brother 'was easy prey for a lot of money. This verdict is a great weight off our shoulders'.

Nicola Fuller's father, Michael Johnson, said: 'The verdict doesn't change things for us at all. We can't bring Nicky back but it does take one evil person off the streets.'

Detective Chief Superintendent Graham Hill, who led the inquiry, said: 'Outwardly Stephen Young was a very responsible family man who was well- liked by his clients and people in Pembury. There was a totally different side to him and it is that other side that very few people knew about.

'These were cold, callous and calculated murders and all the evidence is that they were pre-planned.'

Suggested Topics
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform