Snettisham pub landlord who murdered his partner had mental health problems

PUBLISHED: 05:59 24 May 2011

Michael Tucker, who has been found guilty of the  murder of Becky Thorpe. Picture: Ian Burt.

Michael Tucker, who has been found guilty of the murder of Becky Thorpe. Picture: Ian Burt.

Archant © 2010

Michael Tucker has been described as someone who kept “himself to himself” and caused trouble for his family for years.

The murderer grew up in Swanley, in Kent, with his mum, three sisters and three brothers. His father passed away when Tucker was a young boy.

His siblings always referred to their brother as “Mickey” and said after leaving Kent he moved to Ireland and married Susan, with whom he has two children.

The last Tucker’s family heard from him was in 2005 when he was running a pub in England but according to his sister, Lynn Parsons, he was always “backwards and forwards” between the two countries.

She said: “He liked to have so many fingers in different pies. We didn’t even know he was back in Norfolk running a pub with another woman (Becky Thorpe).

“As far as we knew, he was still living in Ireland with Susan and their children. He didn’t even tell us they had been running a pub in Norfolk before he moved on to the other.

“But finding all of that out didn’t really surprise us as there would be years go past without any contact. He used to go off and then return – he was that sort of guy and you never knew where to find him.”

During his murder trial, it was revealed Tucker had a history of mental health problems and was an alcoholic who would drink 10 pints a day “just to operate”.

Soon after opening the Compasses Inn, Tucker disappeared for three weeks after telling Miss Thorpe he was going out to get milk and bread.

He was later picked up by Miss Thorpe near his hometown and said he had booked himself into a rehabilitation clinic for his drink problem and had visited Ireland to see his children.

He then tried to take an overdose of the tablets he takes for angina and also tried to hang himself at the end of the summer in 2009.

Norwich Crown Court also heard Tucker was a “jealous” partner and that he always wanted to remind people that “Becky was his property”.

Mrs Parsons told the EDP the murder of Becky Thorpe by Tucker did come as a “huge shock” to the whole family.

She said: “When it was first announced on the news what had happened and who the police were looking for, we had no idea it was him. When he was arrested he even said he didn’t have a family and it was only by chance we found out it was him. It really hurt everyone and it left us all upset – not just for our family but also Becky’s.

“We have just never got over the fact someone in our family could do something like this. Our mum has really done downhill since last April because of this.”

Tucker’s niece Kelly Stevens, who used to live with the Tuckers’ mum, added: “As far as she is concerned he is dead. He has caused trouble for this family for years and she doesn’t want anything to do with him.”

Mrs Stevens said she found out her uncle had been arrested after phoning the Dray and Horses pub in Tottenhill to ask where he was.

She continued: “When we found out he was in prison for murder, I thought the person telling me was joking then I began to worry about how I was going to tell his mum who is in her eighties.

“He was never perfect and had always been in trouble but I never thought he would be capable of such a thing. He would only come to see us when he wanted something.”

Mrs Stevens said the family are still concerned about Miss Thorpe’s family because they “must be going through hell”.

She added: “Becky was lovely and always got on well with my kids.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press