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The Daily Mail
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:47 PM on 30th June 2008
The head of security for Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall shot himself after texting his wife that he ”could not live without her” when she left him following a series of violent rows, an inquest has heard.
Police Sergeant Richard Fuller, 55, was married with four grown-up children and was a well-respected member of the force where he had a distinguished 29-year career.
But Sgt Fuller shot himself with his hunting rifle at home two weeks into a trial separation after wife Jill left him following a series of violent incidents.
Sgt Richard Fuller, the head of security for Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, was found dead after shooting himself at his home
The inquest in Trowbridge, Wilts., heard he had suffered stress at work and felt he was ‘losing control’ of his professional and personal lives.
Sgt Fuller, a trained armed response officer with Wiltshire Police, was head of security at Ray Mill House, Camilla’s six-bedroom country home in Wiltshire.
The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles were told of the death while they were on board the yacht Leander on a tour of the Caribbean.
He lived with wife Jill, 45, their children Daniel, 19, and Stephanie, 18, and her daughter Jennifer Reynolds, 21 in a four-bedroom home in Bremhill, Wilts.
She had moved out of the house two weeks earlier but returned during the day to cook and look after their horse, the inquest heard.
Mrs Fuller, a clerk in the firearms unit where her husband worked, received a text message at 5.20am, moments before his suicide.
She contacted a police colleague of her husband’s and the pair rushed back to the family home where her husband was lying dead on the bed – his hunting rifle pointing at his head.
Mrs Fuller, his second wife whom he married in 1988, told the inquest: ‘I went to the cottage around 10.45 on Saturday morning and we had a nice day, riding together.
‘I left him watching television about 9 pm and felt that in the circumstances all was well.
‘About 5.20 the next morning I got message from him. It said he couldn’t live without me. He said not to come home and something about the police, which didn’t make sense.
‘That message was the only indication I had of what he was going to do.’
Sgt Fuller started working for Camilla in 1996, leading her round-the-clock security team
Reading from Mrs Fuller’s statement, coroner David Masters said: ‘You left him for a period last year after incidents involving him behaving in an aggressive and violent manner towards you, and flying off the handle.
‘He said to you during that time “I’m lying on the bed with a gun, you don’t know what I’m going to do.”
‘You said you had a vision of him lying on the bed with a gun. Soon after that you had a reconciliation and he seemed to be coping better.’
Sgt Fuller’s body was discovered by his colleague Paul Cambers who had accompanied Mrs Fuller to the house.
He said: ‘He was barricaded in his room from the inside and I had to break the door down. He was lying on the bed, clearly dead. He couldn’t continue his life without Jill.’
Police investigators revealed that Sgt Fuller had been due at work three hours later. His lunchbox was made ready in the fridge and a newly-ironed shirt was hanging up.
Sgt Fuller, Wiltshire Police’s chief firearms instructor at its headquarters in Devizes, received a Crown Court Commendation in 1995 for the successful arrest of a man armed with a shotgun.
He started working for Camilla in 1996, when she bought the £850,000 property, set in 27 acres, after her divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles.
The home was the venue for the wedding reception of her daughter Laura Parker Bowles and husband Harry Lopes in June 2006.
The Duchess, despite rarely staying there, insisted on beefing up security to a round-the-clock team of armed officers, led by Sgt Fuller, costing the taxpayer £2.6million.
In 2001, he received a long service and good conduct medal.
The only blemish on his career was in February 2006 when he was cleared of unlawful violence during an arrest, by pinning a suspect’s head to the floor with his boot.
Magistrates in Chippenham heard that Mr Fuller had problems controlling his temper and following a short separation in January 2007, had threatened suicide.
Coroner David Masters said the incident had ”preyed on his mind” and he had sought psychiatric help and been prescribed anti-depressants.
Clinical psychologist Dr Max Kite said in a statement read to the inquest: ‘He felt guilty about his marriage and the harm he was unintentionally doing to it, because of circumstances at work. He felt he had become very difficult to live with.’
Sgt Fuller’s firearms permit was revoked in January 2007 and all guns removed from his home after he took time off work with depression – but the permit was reinstated in May.
Mark Johnson, Sgt Fuller’s son from his first marriage, said he was concerned about the police allowing his father to keep guns, given his mental state.
He said: ‘When Jill left last year I was aware he had threatened suicide. I was always concerned about the firearms in the house because of the problems with his temper.
‘He was a firearms officer and if he was going to harm himself that’s how he would have done it.
‘Before he died he seemed distressed and unhappy and possibly depressed. He told me he was taking happy pills and thought everyone hated him.
‘He liked to be in control. But he was doing a job he didn’t enjoy. He was nearing retirement and didn’t know where his life was going.
‘He was losing control of his professional life and his relationship was breaking down.’
Calling for a police review of policies surrounding mental health, Mr Johnson added: ‘Between the way he was in his professional life and the way he was at home there is clearly a void which needs to be addressed.’
Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner David Masters said: ‘Richard Fuller was a professional policeman, but I have also heard about aspects of his character which were more easily demonstrated in his domestic life.
‘It was clear he suffered stress in his activities at work, not in relation to the job he had to do but in relation to a complaint made against him, for which he was acquitted.
‘But it preyed on his mind and this aggravated his domestic relationships.
‘He separated from his wife, this time a final separation and this was a situation he could not get his head around.’
After the inquest, Superintendent Matt Pullen of Wiltshire police, said a review had been launched into occupational health practices in the police force.
He said: ‘Richard Fuller was a highly competent officer and well-liked and respected s a firearms expert.
‘Because of the critical nature of a firearms officer’s duties, they are subject to constant, rigorous and regular checks, and there was no breach of any of these processes.
‘After any tragedy there are lessons to be learned and this is no different. Medical experts agree it can be difficult to accurately predict anyone’s action.
‘No system is foolproof and no one will ever know what was going through Richard Fuller’s mind before he took his own life.
‘No policy can prevent someone from taking their own life if they are determined to do so.’
Mrs Fuller said in a statement after the hearing: ‘The past few months have been a particularly difficult time for our family.
‘The inquest verdict has now been reached, our grieving continues and I would specifically ask members of the media not to contact us at this difficult time, allowing us to fully re-adjust following Richard’s death.