In 1994, a double murder suspect was granted a retrial because some jury members used a Ouija board to convict him.
A Double Murder in Wadsworth, East Sussex
In 1993, a double murder occurred in Wadworth, East Sussex. Two British newlyweds, Harry Fuller (45) and Nicola Fuller (27) were found shot to death in their cottage. Mr. Fuller was a car salesman and had been killed by a lone bullet to the back. Mrs. Fuller was shot four times, and the final shot had been to her head as she attempted to call emergency services.
The 999 operator believed the sounds of a dying Mrs. Fuller attempting to speak were that of children playing, and the call was never dispatched to the police.
Suspect Stephen Young
Stephen Young (35), an insurance broker from Pembury, Kent with £100,000 of debt was the primary suspect. Young’s lenders were said to be pursuing him in order to collect the money he owed, and the murder motive was thought to be robbery.
Because he was a car salesman, Mr. Fuller was known to carry around large amounts of money. Prosecutor Michael Lawson commented, “He dealt in cash and often had a wad of notes on him or even a briefcase full of money.” Police had searched the Fuller house after the murder, but no significant amount of cash was found.
During the subsequent trial, Young confessed to being at the scene of the murder, yet claimed he had fearfully fled after discovering the bodies.
Jurors Use Ouija Board During Trial
Although he pleaded innocent, Stephen Young was convicted of murdering the Fullers and sentenced to life in prison by the Hove Crown Court.
Shortly after the trial, it was discovered that several of the jurors had attempted to use an Ouija board to contact one of the Fullers in the afterlife. The night before the jury found Stephen Young guilty, four of the jurors used an upturned wine glass to consult the board after a drinking session while staying at a hotel. According to articles in the Associated Press and The Guardian, the jurors asked the board “Who did it?” and the board bluntly spelled out “Stephen Young done it. Vote guilty tomorrow”.
The four jurors relayed the story to the other eight jurors at breakfast the following morning before the trial began.
David Penry-Davey, Young’s lawyer, found out about the Ouija session and declared that the jury did not attend to the facts presented at the trial.
After considering the Ouija board story, the Court of Appeals awarded Stephen Young the right to a retrial.
Retrial and 2004 Appeal
In 1994, Stephen Young was re-convicted of the double murder of the Fullers by a second jury during his retrial at Olde Bailey in London. As he was being lead to his cell, he is reported to have shouted to the judge, “I did not do it, my Lord.” Relatives reportedly shouted back, “You did it all right, you bugger – rot.”
After a decade in prison, Young attempted to appeal his 1994 conviction in 2004. The Court of Appeals dismissed his request.
After being convicted of a brutal double murder in the early 1990s, a British man was awarded the right to a retrial when it was discovered that a third of the jury had drunkenly conferred with an Ouija board regarding his guilt. The man was again convicted of the double murder at his retrial by a second jury. He remains in prison, and his successive requests for another legal proceeding have been rejected by the Court of Appeals.
Updated December 5, 2015
Originally published July 2014