The ouija board jury
When Stephen Young was convicted for the double murder of Harry and Nicole Fuller at their home in Wadhurst, Essex in 1994, it seemed like justice had been delivered, as per the normal process of the British law courts. The case was due to become one of the most unusual causes of retrial in legal history though.
The couple were shot. Harry, 45, was shot and killed by a single bullet in his back. His 27 year old wife Nicole was shot on 4 times. The final shot was when she attempted to make a 999 call to the emergency services. It’s reported that 999 operators thought that her attempt to talk through her splintered jaw was children playing a prank, and they did not reroute the call.
It is alleged that Mr.Young targeted the couple because Mr.Fuller’s job as a car dealer meant that he often had large amounts of cash with him. Mr Young was known to have significant debts at the time of the murders. Upon searching the scene, very little money was found in the house, whilst it was known that Mr.Fuller had had about £13,000 in the house in the few days prior to his and his wife’s murder.
Mr Young admitted being at the house, but claimed that he found the couple murdered, and fled in fear for his life.
When the case went to trial, the jury returned a verdict of guilty, sentencing Mr.Young to life in prison for the murders. All was not necessarily above board as it turned out though.
It emerged that, whilst at the Old Ship hotel in Brighton overnight, 4 members of the jury had decided to use a ouija board in an attempt to contact the deceased. The ouija board allegedly indicated that the spirit of Harry Fuller was communicating with them, and spelled out that Stephen Young was guilty of the crime. This posthumous contact helped these members of the jury decide to return a guilty verdict the next day.
Suffice it to say, the Mr Young’s lawyer was none-too impressed when this revelation came to light. With this new information, it was possible to force a retrial of the original case, causing additional grief for the families of the victim. Despite this, Stephen Young was once again found guilty of the crime, and sentenced to life in prison for the murders.
This unique case will always be remembered for the improper conduct of the jury in their decision making process, rather than for the loss of life that the verdict actually represents.