During the final weeks of his life, those who knew RAF chief engineer Alan Warrender watched him become a shadow of his former self. If he had always been partial to the odd glass of whisky, then by the spring of 1993 he was drinking it in alarming quantities. The 43-year-old father of four was in despair, struggling with spiralling debts and chased down by loan sharks.
But what pushed him over the edge in April that year was the discovery that his wife, Penny, was cheating on him.
While Alan took his own life days after finding out about her affair, Penny went on to marry her lover and two decades later, in a crime that shocked the nation, stabbed him to death in cold blood at their home in Somerset while he was on the phone to the emergency services.
Alan and Beverley Warrender were married (pictured) before he was with Penelope Jackson and later took his own life
Now, a fortnight after Penelope Jackson, 66, was jailed for life for murdering retired Army officer David Jackson, the Mail can reveal the untold story of the other husband whose life was ultimately destroyed by the so-called ‘pyjama killer’.
‘There’s no question that the affair drove him to his death,’ says one of Alan’s relatives, a family member so intimidated by Penny that even though the killer is behind bars, she still wishes to remain anonymous.
‘After what she did to him and his family before she went on to murder her next husband, she should never be released from prison,’ says the relative. ‘She is a ruthless, greedy, angry woman. She is a danger to society.’
At the time Alan and Penny met at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales in the late 1980s, Penny Rothwell, as she was then, was just emerging from her second short-lived marriage to another MoD worker, Tony Rothwell. Alan was married to his first wife, Beverley, a WRAF servicewoman and former steward in the mess at the same base.
The Jacksons were married. Jackson killed her fourth husband (left) after a row
‘Alan and Beverley had a fabulous life together,’ says the relative. ‘They really were soulmates. They met in the mess when they were barely in their 20s and they pretty much eloped with a week’s honeymoon in Devon. Their wedding was a very small affair, just them and a couple of witnesses.’
Alan and Beverley got married in 1971 in St Austell, close to the RAF station at St Mawgan in Newquay where they were then based. The couple went on to have two daughters and then adopted a son.
After living in Cornwall they spent time at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and RAF Bruggen in Germany as they moved around Europe according to Alan’s job. They took holidays in the Norfolk Broads, where Alan shared his passion for boats and fishing with his children.
By the mid-1980s, however, they’d returned to Beverley’s native Wales and were once again living in RAF accommodation close to RAF St Athan where mother-of-two Penny was also working as an MoD budget manager.
Mr Warrender was married to his first wife, Beverley, a WRAF servicewoman and former steward in the mess at the same base when he met Jackson. Soon he was having an affair with Jackson and when his wife died from breast cancer he moved in with her and the two married. Pictured: The moment Jackson was arrested for killing her fourth husband earlier this year
Soon, says the relative, Beverley was remarking that her husband had become distant towards her. ‘She said to me: ‘If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was having an affair’,’ says the relative. ‘Alan just wasn’t the same man that he’d been before. He started dressing differently and staying out late. We all knew something was going on.’
Tragically, the realisation that her husband of 16 years was being unfaithful coincided with Beverley’s discovery, in early 1987, that she had breast cancer. While she underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, doctors broke the news that the cancer had spread throughout her body. According to the relative, she died ‘broken-hearted’ in August that year, aged 36.
‘She knew Alan was seeing someone else but by the end she was too sick to think about it any more. She was so tired. She said to me: ‘I just want to go to sleep’.’
While Jackson was Alan’s second wife, he was her third, and penultimate, husband. Pictured: Jackson’s mugshot after killing fourth husband
Within weeks, Alan and Penny had moved in together and, five months later in January 1988, they married. While Penny was Alan’s second wife, he was her third, and penultimate, husband.
‘It was as if Beverley had never existed,’ says the relative. ‘He had been such a family man when he was with Beverley, but Penny had no interest in his children with Beverley.’
Within months of their wedding, the girls were sent away to boarding school while the son Alan and Beverley had adopted eventually went to live with Beverley’s family after Penny and Alan tried to return him to the care system.
‘He was going to be sent back to a children’s home,’ says the relative, ‘but there was no way that we were going to let that happen.’
By 1990, Penny and Alan were living in a smart detached house in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and Alan was working at RAF Swanton Morley in Norfolk. In October 1990, Penny, already a mother of two from her first marriage, gave birth to their daughter, Isabelle. Her two daughters from her first marriage were not living with her at the time.
But according to the relative: ‘Things were not going well for Alan. He couldn’t afford the life they were leading. When he was with Beverley, they lived in furnished married quarters but now he and Penny had a smart house and he was driving around in a BMW. Penny was very extravagant in her tastes. He started borrowing money to keep up with it all.’
Ironically, as the debts mounted and Alan became increasingly desperate, he turned to his first wife’s family for help.
But while his former in-laws knew he had financial troubles, they had no idea his second wife was also now cheating on him. Pictured: Jackson after her arrest
‘He said he needed money for the grandchildren,’ says the relative. ‘Beverley’s parents took out loans to give him the money, even though they were angry with him for cheating on their daughter. But they couldn’t understand where all the money was going. It was never paid back.
None of us had ever seen Alan like that. He used to be a man who really loved life. When he was with Beverley, he was so happy-go-lucky but once he was with Penny, it was like he was a broken man.’
As money became tighter, Alan quit the RAF and went to work in Saudi Arabia.
But while his former in-laws knew he had financial troubles, they had no idea his second wife was also now cheating on him. While Alan was away on his four-month contract, Penny embarked on an affair with married Lieutenant Colonel David Jackson after meeting him in the officers’ mess at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks near her home.
Alan found out about her infidelity days after returning from the Middle East in April 1993. He also learnt Penny had paid for his two healthy Rottweiler dogs to be put down.
Enraged, he went to the nearby Army barracks where David Jackson was staying, away from his family, and dragged his love rival outside. The two men fought, David was left with a black eye and Alan returned home with blood on his shirt. Days later, on April 9, he took his own life.
The inquest into his death found he had committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning while the balance of his mind was disturbed. Reported in a local newspaper under the headline ‘Man took his life after marital stress’ Penny told coroner John Pert that on April 9 one of her daughters had told her that the family’s car appeared to have gone.
‘I thought my husband had gone to his mother in Manchester,’ she said.
She added she later found the car in the garage with the engine running and her husband lying on the back seat.
During Penny’s trial at Bristol Crown Court last month, her daughter from her first marriage, Victoria Mullins, said that the night before Alan died ‘he drank a bottle of whiskey and tablets. A man who does that, we should have expected him to do something.’
During Penny’s trial at Bristol Crown Court last month, her daughter from her first marriage, Victoria Mullins, said that the night before Alan died ‘he drank a bottle of whiskey and tablets. A man who does that, we should have expected him to do something.’ Pictured: Jackson with daughter Isabel and her murdered fourth husband
Penny told the jury Alan killed himself after she admitted an affair with Mr Jackson. She said the initial ‘one-night stand’ took place while her husband was away working as an engineer in Saudi Arabia.
‘I had a one-night stand, which I regretted. Alan found out about the affair in early 1993 and they had a fight. I begged him to leave Saudi Arabia and if he had come back we wouldn’t be here now. He was angry, distraught. I loved him.’
But earlier this month, Alan’s brother Stewart Warrender told the Mail he believed that rather than simply finding his brother unconscious in his car after he had gassed himself, Penny may have actually persuaded him to do it. He said his former sister-in-law regarded husbands as ‘disposable’.
‘I was never fully satisfied with the inquest verdict,’ he said. ‘It didn’t ring true in my mind. I’ve always thought my brother passed away before his time in circumstances that were unknown – that’s probably the best way to put it. I don’t think he was the type of person who would kill himself over a relationship.’
But earlier this month, Alan’s brother Stewart Warrender told the Mail he believed that rather than simply finding his brother unconscious in his car after he had gassed himself, Penny may have actually persuaded him to do it. Pictured: Jackson at her trial for murdering her army officer fourth husband in February
He said his suspicions were first aroused when Penny did not appear to be upset at Alan’s funeral. ‘There was something off about her behaviour during Alan’s funeral,’ said Stewart, speaking from his home in Cheadle, Cheshire. ‘I know people grieve in different ways but she seemed strangely upbeat for someone whose husband had just committed suicide.
‘It wasn’t the case that Alan had been ill for some time and his death was expected. It was sudden and a shock but she didn’t appear to be too upset. There was a distinct lack of empathy with her that day. ‘It’s why I’ve always had the niggling thought in my head about Alan’s death.’
The relative who spoke to the Mail said she also believes there is more to what happened than has ever been revealed. The Alan she knew ‘wasn’t someone who would have despaired. He wasn’t the kind of man to let things get on top off him. He would accept things and move on. He was a very strong man.
‘But something was destroying him. Once he was with Penny, he wasn’t the same person any more.’
Not long after the funeral, Penny paid an extraordinary visit to her husband’s former in-laws at their small three-bedroom home in Llanrumney, a suburb of Cardiff, to discuss a family matter.
After Alan’s death, MoD worker Penny was posted from Grantham to Andover in Hampshire while David Jackson was sent to nearby Bulford Camp in Wiltshire. They carried on their affair and married in 1996, by which time all traces of Alan had been wiped from Penny’s life. Pictured: The Jacksons
‘She arrived in a posh car, dressed to the nines with perfect hair and make-up and matching shoes and handbag,’ says the relative, who was there that day.
‘You could smell her perfume even before she got to the front door and her voice was loud and angry. She was agitated.
‘I was shaking with nerves and anger when she walked into the house. I couldn’t believe the nerve of her, visiting Beverley’s parents’ house, given that she’d broken their daughter’s heart in her dying days by cheating with Alan.
‘I will never forget the moment I first saw her. The first thing that struck me was her eyes. They really scared me. I couldn’t bear to be in the same room as her.’
After Alan’s death, MoD worker Penny was posted from Grantham to Andover in Hampshire while David Jackson was sent to nearby Bulford Camp in Wiltshire. They carried on their affair and married in 1996, by which time all traces of Alan had been wiped from Penny’s life.
David adopted Penny and Alan’s daughter Isabelle and she grew up believing he was her natural father until, years later when she was a teenager, her half-sisters from Alan’s marriage to Beverley got in touch via social media and the truth spilled out.
David adopted Penny and Alan’s daughter Isabelle and she grew up believing he was her natural father until, years later when she was a teenager, her half-sisters from Alan’s marriage to Beverley got in touch via social media and the truth spilled out. Pictured: Mr Jackson before he was killed
The relative who spoke to the Mail said she heard no more of Penny until her trial last month. ‘When I saw the pictures of her, I kept thinking I knew those eyes,’ she says. ‘She has such evil eyes. It sent shivers down my spine. I couldn’t work it out at all at first but eventually I realised it was her.’
During her trial at Bristol Crown Court, it became clear that Penny Jackson’s entire life was riddled with secrets and lies, with chaos and heartache never far behind.
For the family of Alan Warrender’s first wife, it’s as if the horrific chain of events leading up to the murder of 78-year-old David Jackson in February this year was really set in motion more than three decades ago, as Beverley lay dying, knowing she had already lost her husband to another.
‘I’m glad she’s in jail,’ says the relative. ‘She’s caused so much pain and suffering to others. I hope she stays inside for a very long time so she can’t hurt anyone else.’
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