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
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Arts and Entertainment
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

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style