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David Fuller murder trial: Heathfield man accused of murdering Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in Tunbridge Wells

The boyfriend of tragic Wendy Knell told police he still blamed himself for her death decades on.

Bus driver Ian Plass, who has since died, was in a relationship with the Supasnaps manager at the time of her death.

Wendy Knell
Wendy Knell

At the time in 1987 he worked for the Maidstone and District Bus company - where the 25-year-old's father was also employed.

In a statement, made in 2012, he said that every day he thinks about the night she died, adding: "Had I stayed there that night she would still be alive."

Wendy was murdered by hospital electrician David Fuller who broke into her bedsit flat, it has been alleged.

The 67-year-old, from Heathfield, has admitted killing her and Caroline Pearce, 20, in 1987 but denies murder.

On that day the pair had spent the evening together but took her home on his 1000CC Suzuki motorbike.

After kissing divorcee Wendy goodnight and talking about a planned trip to Paris where they were due to get engaged, he left her silhouetted in the entrance.

The following day he went to work but at just before 11am received a call from Wendy's mother telling him she had been unable to contact her.

Mr Plass said he left work and went immediately to the flat and looked through a window and saw a mound at the end of the bed.

"I shouted: 'Wendy, wake up!' There was no movement."

After climbing inside he found her body lying in the bed and after moving her eyelid and realised she was dead.

Coverage of the Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce murders in 1987 Scanned from Evening Post
Coverage of the Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce murders in 1987 Scanned from Evening Post

After leaving he went to a nearby fire station to raise the alarm and broke down and wept

A colleague of Wendy's told how she was excited about getting married

"I came to know Wendy only the day before. Wendy was the manageress at Supasnaps and she was training me.

"She seemed very friendly and put me at ease. We talked about her boyfriend - who was called Ian. She said he was a big guy with a ginger beard who worked on the buses and was a biker.

"She was excited about getting married."

David Fuller. Picture: The Sun/News Licensing
David Fuller. Picture: The Sun/News Licensing

Deborah Larraz - as she was then known - told how the following day she arrived at the Supanaps branch in Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells, to find the shop still locked.

By 9am she contacted another called a colleague who asked her to got to Wendy's flat at Flat 9 in Guildford Road.

"I got into my car and drove there and rang the bell two or three times but there was no answer."

She told the jury at Maidstone Crown Court how she later heard that Wendy's body was found in the flat.

Wendy's mother Pamela said in a statement read to court how Wendy had been on holiday with a friend to Austria.

"The last time I saw Wendy was on June 21, 1987, when she came over to celebrate my grand-daughter's fifth birthday."

Read more on this trial:

Murder accused 'had sex with bodies in mortuaries'

The jury was also told today how a number of residents heard screams on the night Caroline Pearce was attacked. She had vanished after being dropped at her house in Grosvenor Park by a taxi driver.

Neighbour Antonia Beard said in a statement read to the court how she returned between 11.50 and 11.55pm on November 24.

Caroline had been dropped off by taxi around the same time - and was never seen alive again.

In her statement to police she told of hearing a 30-second scream which came from outside.

Ms Beard added that she looked out of her window but couldn't see anyone. Another resident thought she heard three screams that night.

Earlier the jury heard from Supasnaps manager Joyce Killick who said in a statement how she worked in High Street, Tonbridge in 1987.

"I started working in 1985 and at the same time Wendy Wyles (nee Knell) started. We both worked at the Tonbridge shop.

"At that time Wendy was married and lived in Pembury Road, Tonbridge with a female friend. She was separated from her husband, who lived a couple of doors away.

"Wendy didn't talk to me much about her marriage or the break up but from little she did say it was an amicable arrangement.

"She didn't go out much. Some time around January or February 1985 she met a person called Ian Plass. She began going out with him.

"On January 7 1987, Wendy went to the Tunbridge Wells branch to work; partially because she had moved house."

She told how on June 23 1987 she had to go to the Tunbridge Wells branch of Supasnaps to open when Wendy failed to arrive for work.

That led to Mr Plass, who has since died, going to the house and finding his lover's dead body.

Earlier the judge in the David Fuller trial told the jury that they have to decide whether he murdered his two victims.

Mrs Justice Cheema Grubb QC told them that Fuller will claim he was suffering from a mental illness at the time and therefore guilty of only manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility

The trial continues.

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