Anger over appointment of killer to top role in Cookstown lodge
An Orangeman who was promoted to a senior role more than two decades after killing his wife is under pressure to resign.
Stephen Fulton (77) was appointed worshipful grand master of Cookstown LOL No3.
However, the decision has caused outrage.
He was jailed for shooting his spouse Corien Fulton in the head in 1999 after she threatened to leave him.
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland is remaining tight-lipped about the controversy.
“We won’t be making any comment at this time,” it said.
But Orange Order sources have expressed disbelief at the situation.
“People elect whoever they want locally, it’s a decision for local branches,” one member explained.
“There is very mixed feeling about this, but the widespread belief is that they have got this wrong. No rules have been broken as such, but Mr Fulton should resign.”
The former Royal Irish Rangers part-timer was caged for killing his wife.
Fulton was sentenced to five years for manslaughter after Omagh Crown Court accepted “his actions had been substantially impaired by a classifiable mental disorder”.
He moved back to Cookstown and rejoined the Orange Order upon his release.
While he has his supporters, sources told this newspaper there is a growing realisation he cannot remain as the most senior Orangeman in the Co Tyrone town.
“Some people knew about his past, and some did not,” one source explained.
“But a lot of members think he should step aside, (that) he shouldn’t have been elected in the first place.”
It’s understood Fulton was one of the few people who put his name forward for the role.
If he refuses to stand down, members will have to wait until the ballot opens again next year to oust him.
At the weekend Fulton insisted he had paid for his crime.
“It happened over 20 years ago and I’ve did my time,” he said.
“Someone from within the Orange Order has been on to you and betrayed me. I don’t know what else to say.”
Fellow Orangeman Trevor Carson defended his friend, who “has paid his debt to society”. He described him as “a good man”.
Fulton’s wife was 20 years his junior.
He blasted her at the home they shared at Old Rectory Heights in Cookstown in June 1999 after she revealed she was leaving him for another man.
The trial judge described her removal of her wedding ring in the bedroom where she was shot as “the final straw which precipitated” the shooting.
“You have killed a comparatively young woman and for that the public interest requires that you be punished notwithstanding the medical report before me and the provocation under which you acted,” Mr Justice Gillen added.
The verdict and sentence was criticised at the time by Women’s Coalition leader Monica McWilliams.