Widow of murdered police officer: It will be 20 years on Tuesday since we lost Lewis, but the pain never goes away

THE WIDOW of a police officer murdered in the line of duty has spoken for the first time about the new man in her life, just days before the 20th anniversary of her husband's death.

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Lewis Fulton was stabbed to death 20 years ago while answering an emergency call
Lewis Fulton was stabbed to death 20 years ago while answering an emergency call

Christine Fulton, 54, was left alone with a seven-month-old baby, Luke, when her husband Lewis was stabbed to death at the age of 28 after answering an emergency call.

Now she has revealed that "life is pretty good" with Stuart McAllister, also 54, a retired Strathclyde Police dog handler.

Christine, who has an MBE for her tireless work helping bereaved families of dead police officers after launching her charity Care of Police Survivors (COPS), said: "I have moved on with my life.

"I still have days that are hard, but in general life is pretty good."

Christine, from Kilmarnock, met Stuart though a mutual friend, the late Strathclyde Police detective Jim McNulty, who co-founded COPS and the Scottish Police Memorial Trust with Christine in 2003.

Stuart was always there in the background providing support, working as a volunteer for COPS and as a trustee for the memorial trust, but they have always preferred to keep their relationship private.

Christine added: "We work together on the charities.

"We met through our mutual friend Jim McNulty who was the focus behind the Scottish Police Memorial Trust. We were the three people behind it all and we became close.

"Lewis wouldn't have wanted me to be alone for the rest of my life and would have wanted me to move on."

Stuart worked in Ayrshire and Lewis was Glasgow-based, so their paths never crossed, but he remembers the day he found out about the murder very clearly - because it's the same day as his son Fraser's birthday.

His son will be 21 on Tuesday - exactly 20 years after Lewis was killed by Philip McFadden, a schizophrenic who went berserk after stopping his medication.

Stuart said: "I never worked with Lewis but I remember that day - I was on nightshift that night. It's a strange day for us because the day Lewis died was my son Fraser's birthday.

"Fraser knows the significance. He is the same age as Luke."

On June 17, 1994, Christine, who was still on maternity leave from her job as a precognition officer, got a call from the police to say her husband of less than two years had been injured, but she didn't know how bad until she arrived at Glasgow's Victoria Infirmary.

Lewis died on the operating table before she got the chance to see or speak to him, and his death left a huge gap in her life.

For nine years she buried her grief and went into "remote control" because she had a baby to look after.

It was only when she was introduced to other grieving families and went on a trip to America to see how the support group worked that she realised how much of a need there was back home and she threw herself into her campaign.

HER son Luke is now 20 but has no memory of his dad. He is studying for a science degree at the West of Scotland University and still stays at home with his mum.

Christine said: "Lewis was so excited about having his first child but he missed all the milestones.

"He didn't see him crawl, he never saw him get his first tooth, walk, speak...he missed everything - his first day at school and sports days.

"He was looking forward to taking him fishing one day. He was a keen fisherman and that was one of his main plans.

"Luke is very private but he doesn't like to talk about it. He is very like his dad.

"Luke was just seven months when his dad died but he has no memory of him.

"He never had the chance to get to know his dad. He is the image of Lewis, he has all his mannerisms.

"Lewis had a very dry unique sense of humour. He was generous, good-natured and unflappable.

"We had been married for less than two years in July 1992 when he was killed. We had been going out together for five years before that.

"Lewis will never been gone so long as Luke is here, there is definitely a part of him still living on. Luke is his double.

"It will be 20 years on Tuesday since we lost Lewis, but the pain never goes away, you get used to it. It becomes part of your life. It doesn't hurt in the same way and life gets easier.

"The charity changed my life completely. We started the two charities at the same time, the Scottish Police Memorial Trust first and then COPS a month later.

"They were both full on from day one but they really gave me a purpose in life, something to do.

"My brain had been stagnating. I spent nine years on remote control.

"I thought I was coping really well but I hadn't dealt with a lot of my grief. I just simply had to bury it and get on because I had a baby to look after.

"I was only once I started talking to other police widows that I began to realise all the emotions and some of things I felt embarrassed about over the years were actually normal.

"There wasn't really any network in the UK. I was introduced to other people along way because the police introduced me to them and it was only when I went to America and saw the organisation working there that I realised how much of a need there was in this country.

"Now we help over 300 families all over the UK and it's extremely rewarding. It keeps me going and it helps that something good has come out of something so awful."

The charity has gone from strength to strength since two female police officers were shot dead on a routine patrol nearly two years ago in Manchester.

The families of victims Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, have become a huge part of the charity and help to raise funds after they received help and support from Christine and her army of volunteers.

Christine said: " It's a full-time job. Up till the last two years after the girls were murdered in Manchester the charity was very low profile and was hand to mouth.

"Now we have regular donations and the girls' families are very much involved.

"I have had direct contact with the families and still do. They come to events and meet survivors.

"I've had lots of email and phone call contact. Nicola's dad has just finished the most amazing North Pole marathon.

"The Bone family are very quiet and live in the Isle of Man. They are involved in the charity but they keep themselves to themselves."

CHRISTINE has organised an event in memory of her late husband entitled 'Lewis Fulton - A Night To Remember' on Saturday night at the Lochinch Police Club in Pollok Country Park to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

She has invited around 100 friends, family, volunteers and survivors to share his favourite food - lasagne, macaroni, chicken curry and lemon meringue pie - and enjoy music from his favourite band Queen afterwards at a disco.

Christine has nothing special planned for Tuesday and added: "For me Tuesday on the 20th anniversary of his death won't be any different to any other day. I don't miss him any more on the 16th, 17th or 18th than I do any other day."

janice.burns@eveningtimes.co.uk

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