Next week marks the tenth anniversary of one of the most shocking crimes in the Exeter area in recent times, when serving police officer Fay Hurved was stabbed in front of her two young children. Reporter Tom Bevan spoke to her ex-husband Ian, who served eight years for the attempted murder, and discovered he still doesn’t accept the jury’s verdict
IAN Hurved spent eight years in jail replaying the events of Sunday, December 21, 2003, in his head.
“If only I had not been early, or left when I saw my wife was upset,” he mused.
But the shocking events that transpired in their marital home 10 years ago this week left both him and his wife Fay in hospital with stab wounds.
Both were initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. She was subsequently released and he was charged and later convicted.
Now back living with his mother in St Thomas, Exeter, following his release from prison two years ago, Mr Hurved claims to still struggle to piece together what happened on that fateful day.
“I had a seven-inch carving knife in my chest and I was losing so much blood I was in shock. I want to remember,” he said. “But at the same time I don’t know if I do. Part of me is afraid but I would like to know what happened.”
Sentencing him to 12 years at Exeter Crown Court for the attempted murder of Fay, judge Graham Cottle called it a “murderous attack” that was carried out in the presence of the couple’s two young children.
The court accepted he had slashed his estranged wife’s throat, back and hands with a knife before stabbing himself in the chest, in a suicide bid.
It was a crime that shocked the community – not only for its apparent brutality but also because of the man who committed it.
Mr Hurved had never been in trouble with the police except in the months leading up to the incident and had even been honoured by the Queen for his role as a local lifesaver.
Fay was a serving domestic violence officer with Devon and Cornwall Police at the time.
Mr Hurved said he has grown to accept the verdict – but it was not one he could ever agree with. He has always claimed that it was his wife who was the aggressor – a claim the jury dismissed by finding him guilty.
Claims of a “cover-up” arose with an accusation that two serving police officers entered the house while it was still a crime scene to “clean things up for Fay”. The claim was investigated by the police in 2009. A file was passed to the CPS but no further action was taken.
A group under the banner of Friends of Ian Hurved formed and a petition calling for a retrial attracted several hundred signatures.
“The lack of action by the CPS was the biggest disappointment,” said Mr Hurved. “We really thought we were getting somewhere but the door was slammed shut in our face once again.
“I have got to accept what the court said. But it does not mean I agree with their findings.
“I never said I was innocent. I cannot remember. After reading the paperwork and seeing documents the bits of the jigsaw did not fit and this has never been fully answered or given a proper airing.
“Once you are out of prison, people think you are all right and move on. But I will be in debt to those who supported me for the rest of my life.
“I feel worn down. I am getting old and weak – and feel like I don’t have a lot of fight left in me. My mum tries but she is 90. But I have no choice but to fight this until the day I drop.
“I have to live with the verdict but I don’t think it is wrong to challenge it. And it is not sour grapes, I have to live with it otherwise I will go mad.
“I was locked in an 8x12 ft cell for eight years for up to 22 hours a day. It does affect your psyche and I came out a different person. But I am not bitter or full of resentment.
“Fay is the mother of my children – that will never change. What happened on that day was not nice for either of us and I don’t wish her any harm. She has a new life – I am trying to do the same. I try to think of the good times we had and bear no malice.
“I have tried to readjust. Before I had a life – now I am existing day to day. I have nothing really good to look forward.”
Mr Hurved, now 63, said that on the day of the incident he recalls arriving at the house in Dawlish to pick up the children and getting into a row over use of the family car.
“I was taking the children to see Father Christmas but arrived half an hour early,” he said. “We had a row in the kitchen and that is when it all happened. She left the house through the patio doors and the children followed.
“I locked myself in the bedroom before the police came and I was taken to hospital.
“The worst part of it all is that I cannot see the children, neither can my mother who is now 90.
“I don’t enjoy this time of year at all. It brings everything back into your mind and hits you hard. You can’t help it. There are a lot of ‘if onlys’. If only I had not been early that day. If only I had used my own car.
“I try to treat the anniversary as a normal day. But it is not and never will be and it all come comes rushing back. The horrible memories of when it all went so wrong with the people I love.
“I just wish I had walked out of the house when I saw Fay was upset.
“I can not turn back the clock but often think how did it come to this? I had a loving family – but it was all blown apart in an instant.”