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PHOTOS - 2 pages - David Chenery, Diane Wickens, her family, evidence photos presented in the case.
David Chenery, nicknamed "Vicar of Fibley" (for all his lies) and for years swindled women, both emotionally and financially. But his end came about because of one woman, Diane Wickens, whom he murdered. For all his smooth talk to those he conned, he couldn't con police or talk his way out of a conviction.
For over 20 years Diane Wickens carved out a prestigious spot for herself within the film industry, garnering awards and nominations for awards with her meticulous work as a make-up artist.
Previously, and during those same years, David Chenery was leaving a swath of pain to those whose paths he crossed. He specifically targeted women.
He has alternately lied, swindled and stolen not only money, but emotional peace of mind.
BEGINNINGS OF A CHARLATAN
21 years old - David Chenery (lorry driver) marries Fay Robinson. They are together long enough for them to have two children.
Then Chenery discovers spiritualism.
David Chenery "I went to a spiritualist meeting and saw mediums, spiritual healing and tarot readings. I was told my links with spirits were strong. I felt I had arrived home."
Chenery begins to claim he "speaks to the dead" through a medium named "Wild Fox."
He gives up his employment to become a "Reverend" Spiritualist. He gains "accreditation
(United Spiritualists) and begins to conduct "spiritualist weddings."
TAKING UNDUE ADVANTAGE
"Susan" - David Chenery offers "reflexology" to "Susan" for a bad toenail. They begin an affair.
He claims his wife is in a "mental asylum."
The Opera Singer - The woman pays him £40 for "relationship counseling."
"David was introduced to me as a powerful, wise, and kind person. He was an extraordinary man, attentive to others and peaceful."
After they begin their affair, she loans him £21,000. Their affair is over when she finds out he has
forged a £1,500 cheque on her account.
Fay Robinson Chenery - David Chenery's marriage to Fay Robinson is finished.
WHAT A TANGLED WEB HE WOVE
DIANE WICKENS - David Chenery meets Diane Wickins at a tarot reading. Diane is a successful makeup artist working for the BBC. Within 6 weeks she leaves her current boyfriend and Chenery moves into her flat in London.
1997 - June - David Chenery & Diane Wickens marry at Wandsworth register office.
Afterwards they have a spiritualist ceremony. Both adopt the name Chenery-Wickens.
David tells people "he suffered serious ill health and was devastated to be divorcing his alcoholic wife - but still wanted to help."
2000 - David & Diane Chenery-Wickens purchase a remote cottage for £440,000 located in the Ashdown Forest at Duddleswell, near Uckfield, East Sussex.
Diane Chenery-Wickens wins an Emmy Award for her work on "Arabian Nights."
Diane Chenery-Wickens is nominated for a BAFTA Award for "Dead Ringers."
David Chenery-Wickens is invited to help establish a spiritualist church in a town named
Crowborough. To some he pretends he is divorced, to others, he is "divorcing alcoholic his wife."
4 Women -The "teaching circle" consists of 12 women. He conducts affairs with 4 of them.
On of them is a Mrs Lippett.
Mrs. Thompson"Through his classes David found personal things about women,
and used them to control them."
Kerry Lippett - Mrs. Lippett visits the local spiritualist church with intentions of trying to contact her deceased mother. She not only gets "instant contact" through David Chenery-Wickens, but he singles her out for an affair. She ends her marriage and becomes his "principal girlfriend" with whom he discussed marriage once his divorce was final. He begins "living" with her and her two children.
Kerry Lippett "he pointed to me and said "you, the lady in blue -can I come to you please?"
He said "I was wearing my late mum's wedding ring. He told me this pleased my mum." "He also said he could feel her energy all around me and that I’d lost her a long time ago. He seemed quite
"Ironically, this was the one time when I don’t think he was deceiving me,’ she said. ‘He is a murderer and a liar, and he’s devastated my life.But he’s a great medium. What he said about my mother was all true – the ring and that she died a long time ago. She died when I was seven, in fact. He simply could not have known those things."
"I found David very charismatic. He was charming and jovial and good fun to be with. After about three months he asked me out. He knew about my situation and said he was in exactly the same position. We went to the Chalk Pitt Inn near Lewes and had a meal. He was gentlemanly and attentive. He would open the car door for me and pull up my chair. I felt awkward because I wasn’t used to it. We talked about families on that first date and general stuff and enjoyed a
pleasant evening. I found myself very drawn to him and a few days later we started a sexual relationship. It was perfectly normal and healthy. I wasn’t working at the time so he would pop round to my house during the day if he was in this area seeing clients. And he would stay over a couple of nights a week or more."
2004 - Mrs. Mariene Thompson rejects Chenery-Wicken's advances.
"He predicted my husband was going to die - which didn't happen - and once pinched my bum as we left the church together, and later suggested an affair. I told him I was happily married, though I have to admit it was a boost to my confidence."
"But there was a dark side to him, something sinister. He once told us he was a Nazi guard in the gas chambers in his previous life."
"In the end what he was doing with the women, behind Kerry's back, and behind his wife's back, got too much. He was like Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick. I had to ask him and Kerry not to come to the church any more."
Sally Lyon - David Chenery-Wickens woos the landlady of the Forester Arms (Fairwarp), a local pub he frequents. Mr. Lyon finds a love poem addressed to his wife from Chenery-Wickens.
She initiates a divorce.
Kerry Lippett "There were two very separate Davids. One was the medium, the other was David the person. As a medium he was super-confident and arrogant at times. He was a showman who could hold an audience. Outside work he was a different person – someone who could be weak, insecure
and lacking in confidence. If we disagreed about something, he’d worry that I would finish with him."
"Perhaps other women were drawn to the charismatic David, the medium, but I didn’t like that side to him. If he came to my house straight from a reading, and he hadn’t shed his medium cloak, if you like, he would still have this arrogant, ultra-serious look on his face. ‘I used to say, “You’ve brought the medium home – get rid of him.”
2006 - Witness A "meets David Chenery through meditation and astrology groups. They begin an affair, having sex both at her home (when husband is out) and at a "surgery" which David Chenery rents for one day a week.
Kerry Lippett "Once he (David) asked me to phone from my house to his, and say I was from Haywards Heath Hospital. He would often have to go there to see patients in the middle of the night. Or at least that’s what he said. I spoke to Diane and, unquestioning, she passed the phone
David Chenery was often called away from Lippett's house.
Kerry Lippett "He was probably with someone else."
Osteopath - For four years Chenery-Wickens also has an affair with a married osteopath. They have sex at his home when Diane is away, and in the woods. Their affair takes on a chilly tone after Chenery suggests a threesome.
Kerry Lippett "Sometimes he would work all night – and I never doubted him. I loved him deeply and would have followed him anywhere in the world. I would have lived in a cardboard box with him."
David Chenery-Wickens tells everyone that his wife Diane, is an alcoholilc.
Throughout these years, Diane (who does not/did not have a drink problem) believes she and David are happily married.
Kerry Lippett "He told me he was still living with his wife, albeit in separate rooms. He didn’t talk much about her, but in the last year we were together he began to speak more openly about what had gone wrong between them. He spoke about her drinking and said she had been violent towards him, on one occasion smashing a dining room chair across his back. He portrayed her as a
2007 - September - David tells Kerry Lippet his son Adam, (from his previous marriage to Fay Robinson) is seriously ill, having had a serious car accident.
Kerry Lippett"I would listen to him having phone conversations with the hospital about
his seriously ill son – but it was probably another woman."
"It must have been September 2007 when he told me that Adam, whom I had never met, had been in a car accident. There were all sorts of problems with fluid on the brain, so as an excuse it served him well for months. It was all lies. Adam was healthy and living in London with his girlfriend."
THE WEB'S WEAVE COMES APART & MURDER IS DONE
2008 - January -
Monday - David Chenery-Wickens texts the married Osteopath asking her to get together for sex.
Tuesday - David Chenery-Wickens is on the telephone with Kerry Lippett while he is at the Lavender Line (train station where he volunteers).
Diane has gotten suspicious and decides to investigate some numbers on their phone bill that David has been telephoning constantly. The first number she telephones belongs to Witness A. The second is a gay chat line.
Early that evening, David is at Lippett's house but leaves abruptly, telling her he has to go "work with a vet called Greg."
Kerry Lippett "He (David) called himself a horse whisperer and often helped keep other animals calm too."
Police believe that phone call was from Diane.
David Chenery-Wickens (52) arrives home to a confrontation by Diane (48).
He murders her.
Police believe that David either strangled or stabbed her to death.
AN INEPT COVERUP OF MURDER
Wednesday - Diane Chenery-Wickens fails to turn up for a meeting at the BBC in London.
David Chenery accompanies Kerry Lippett on a shopping trip. While out that day David takes Diane's heirloom jewelry to a jeweller and sells it.
Thursday- David Chenery telephones Kerry Lippett and tells her there are bloodstains on the carpet from a nosebleed. He asks her advice on how to remove bloodstains from carpet. Lippett tells him to rub salt into the carpet.
David Chenery informs the police that his wife Diane has gone "missing" during a joint trip to London.
That evening David texts Witness A asking to pick up their affair once again.
David (bisexual) also invites a gay stranger to his home that evening for a sexual encounter.
Kerry Lippett "It was about 5pm on a Thursday when he rang from London, where he’d gone to see a client, to say she’d disappeared. Diane was supposed to have had a hair appointment at 11am but hadn’t turned up. David said the police needed to speak to him. He had been due to see me that evening."
"Things didn’t add up. Why after just five hours would she be reported missing and why would the police be showing any interest? David said that because of her mental state she was considered vulnerable."
Regardless of her questions, Lippett stays on occasion with David in Diane's home.
Kerry Lippett "It happened during a rare occasion when I stayed at the cottage – normally he
would stay at my place. Diane had gone and David was under police curfew, which meant he had to stay at home between 10pm and 7am. ‘We slept in the spare room because Diane had the main bedroom."
THE LIES AGAINST A GOOD NAME
In the next few weeks, David Chenery-Wickens puts for the idea that "Diane is being held against her will in London." Or "She disappeared because she owed money." "Diane has run off with a lover to Spain."
He claims "Diane is the one who was having multiple affairs." He then implies "Diane killed herself through shame at her affairs."
January 31 - Diane Chenery-Wicken's disappearance is now a murder enquiry.
David Chenery-Wickens is arrested and questioned for 72 hours. He is released on bail.
A forensic medical examiner finds scratches on his wrists, arms and legs. There was also a scratch on a finger.
Angrily he protests his innocence and blames Diane for his being questioned. "She could stop all this if only she’d bloody well turn up."
Chenery-Wickens is confronted with CCTV footage showing him traveling alone to London on the day he claims both he and Diane traveled there. Chenery-Wickens changes his story.
Feb - March - In the next months the investigation is ongoing and Kerry Lippett is interviewed by police.They inform her they believe David Chenery-Wickens is a murderer.
May - David Chenery is questioned by police again.
David, a "helpless, gibbering wreck" telephones Kerry Lippett.
Kerry Lippett "A few days before Diane was found he’d called me and insisted, “I didn’t harm her.” Even after he was charged I supported him. But then I learned the truth about the house and the divorce and that was what tipped the scales against him. That’s why I ended it – because he’d lied to me for the entire length of our relationship."
"I think I’ve had a lucky escape.People keep asking me, “What if he’d got fed up with you?” He was effectively running two marriages, after all, and I saw him nearly every day for three years. So it wouldn’t have been for want of opportunity."
May 16 - Diane Chenery-Wicken's concealed remains are found in the woods, close to a lane near where David Chenery-Wickens volunteered at the Lavender line, a steam railway in East Sussex.
Diane's remains had been partially eaten by animals. It was too badly decomposed for cause of death to be determined. Her favorite cowboy boots are found with the body.
David Chenery-Wickens is arrested & charged with murder.
TRIAL, CONVICTION & SENTENCE
CCTV footage from the railway line and from the jewelry store were presented in court as evidence.
Testimony from the women, police officers and others helped convict Chenery-Wickens.
2009 - March 2 - David Chenery-Wickens is convicted of murdering Diane Chenery-Wickens.
SENTENCE: Life imprisonment, with a minimum of 18 years.
If David Chenery-Wickens gets out of prison in 18 years, there's every possibility he'll be on the lookout for other vulnerable women he can con.
THE JUDGE & FAMILY SPEAK
Judge Jeremy Cooke presiding "The evidence shows Diane loved you, but you deceived her over many years, engaging in sexual activities with vulnerable women who mostly came to you for help with their relationships in your capacity as a spiritualist minister.
You took advantage of them and deceived many into believing you needed money for serious medical operations, or for solicitors' bills for divorce proceedings.
You maintained to Diane you were a loving husband. In fact you were spending day and night with your mistress Kerry Lippett, as well as indulging your sexual appetites with other women and men.
You made little financial contribution to the marriage and were a drain on Diane, the breadwinner.'
After you killed your wife, you put her family through the agonies of not knowing if she was alive or dead, until ultimately their worst fears were realised. You continued to maintain she was deceitful, manipulative and disappeared of her own accord.
"You have told the most preposterous lies and have shown no remorse."
Karel Van Bommell (best man at the wedding & old friend of Diane Wickens) "I think he probably
contemplated her murder for years. He charmed Diane, and she paid for everything - his clothes, his car, their new house. I think he took his time, but set up her murder in advance. He is evil. I hope Diane's spirit haunts him for ever."
David Wickens (brother of Diane) stood with their parents John and Joan, sister Caroline and brother Russell and stated:
"Today's verdict wipes out once and for all the many lies said about Diane - and it removes a dangerous predatory charlatan from society.
Diane was a sweet, kind, thoughtful and loving woman. We have had to listen to the lies and fabrications of a delusional man. The enormous scale of his deceptions was matched only by his depravity. There are many women he preyed on who deserve our sympathy. He betrayed everyone he met.
Ultimately his greatest betrayal was of Diane. He repaid her loyalty, love and trust with lies, deception, cruel opportunism and deceit. Ultimately he killed her to prevent this being discovered and to save himself.
David Chenery-Wickens is "someone who knows the price of everything and the
value of nothing."
"There are some things beyond price. One was my sister."