Northern Ireland

Wife killer Orangeman resigns from top position in Co Tyrone

Orangeman Stephen Fulton has resigned from a top role in Co Tyrone
Orangeman Stephen Fulton has resigned from a top role in Co Tyrone

A wife-killing Orangeman promoted to a top position in County Tyrone has resigned.

Stephen Fulton shot his wife Corien Fulton in the head in a bedroom at their Cookstown home in 1999 and was later convicted of manslaughter.

The 77-year-old year-old received a five-year jail term.

The former Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldier was recently appointed as worshipful district master in the Cookstown area while his deputy district master is Mid Ulster UUP councillor Mark Glasgow.

Both men are members of Cookstown LOL No 3 and were recently pictured with other newly installed officers.

The decision to appoint Fulton to the senior role was criticised by North Down Alliance Party MLA Connie Egan earlier this week while the UUP issued a statement saying “steps are being taken” to resolve the matter.

On Wednesday the Orange Order revealed that Fulton had stepped down.

In a statement the Orange Order said “the officers of Cookstown District LOL No 3 can confirm that they have accepted the resignation of the Worshipful District Master Stephen Fulton.

“The district and former District Master would take this opportunity to apologise for any distress or upset caused by his installation to this post.”

The statement added: “Cookstown District LOL No. 3 now considers this matter to be closed and will not be making any further comment in relation to it.

“It is anticipated that a new District Master will be elected in the coming weeks.”

Ms Egan, who is her party’s spokeswoman for Violence Against Women and Girls, welcomed the U-Turn.

"It's right that he is no longer in the role, but it is disgraceful that the Orange Order appointed this man to a leading position and I urge those with responsibility to reflect on why this was allowed to happen in the first place," she said.

"As a society, we must unite in opposition against misogynistic violence and abuse.”

The UUP was contacted but did not respond.

After the killing a court heard that that the murder victim had called her husband while he attended an RIR training camp in England to tell him she had met another man.

Mr Justice Gillen accepted that his actions had been substantially impaired by a classifiable mental disorder.

"I believe that it is against this background that the final straw which precipitated your taking your wife's life occurred when she removed her wedding ring in the bedroom," the judge said.

"I think that it may well have been at this moment when you decided to shoot her."

The judge added that Fulton deserved credit for his guilty plea and it was accepted he was remorseful and that there was "a measure of provocation - by your wife's threatened departure".