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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own