Poisoned Mind of the Fantasist Who Savoured Taking Revenge in Cold Blood; as Woman Who Blasted Love Rival with Shotgun Is Jailed for Life, Analysis of the Jealousy and Betrayal That Ended in Murder

By Harris, Paul | Daily Mail (London), May 17, 2003 | Go to article overview

Poisoned Mind of the Fantasist Who Savoured Taking Revenge in Cold Blood; as Woman Who Blasted Love Rival with Shotgun Is Jailed for Life, Analysis of the Jealousy and Betrayal That Ended in Murder


Harris, Paul, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: PAUL HARRIS

SHE was 13 years old and looking for trouble. Her school skirt was hoisted as far above the knee as it could go, and her eyes were wide with the effects of drugs from the night before.

Rena Uddin didn't take any stick from anyone - especially not teachers.

So when her class master ticked her off about her homework, there was only one thought on her mind. Revenge.

She unclipped the fire hose from its reel in the corridor and started to flood the school. 'No one speaks to me like that,' she said, and walked off.

Next time, it was the science master's turn. She released all the locusts in the school laboratory, then set the rats free from their cages. 'Wild' was the word the teachers used to describe her, and that was just in school.

In the evenings she would go drinking and stay out all night, hanging around with older boys, messing about in their cars, boasting about her sexual exploits.

Who might have guessed that three decades later, this poisonously confrontational schoolgirl would become Mrs Rena Salmon, the one with the successful husband and two children, the [pounds sterling]500,000 house, the black Mercedes convertible in the drive? Not to mention the credit-card shopping trips to America, or the extravagant parties for friends in her village.

How smug she must have looked in her outdoor hot tub, sipping Pimm's through the steam with her husband Paul and their neighbours, Keith and Lorna Rodrigues. How arrogant they must have felt as they wallowed in this epitome of suburban vulgarity.

But one day, the old-style Rena returned. And in every sense, it was with a vengeance.

She discovered her husband was having an affair with Lorna, a beauty and massage therapist. Lorna - who later reverted to her maiden name of Stewart - was slim and blonde, sharp-brained and confident.

Rena, in contrast, was 5ft and had piled on nearly five stones after an illness in the mid-1990s. Paul had come to regard her as unexciting. He was, after all, a designer-clad businessman who fancied himself a charmer.

But he had just reached the wrong side of 40. Every betrayed wife will surely recognise the marital danger signs that followed.

He began to go to the gym. He ate more healthily and drank in moderation - a dramatic change from the alcohol-binge lifestyle he had come to enjoy at parties in Great Shefford, their upmarket village near Hungerford, Berkshire.

Crucially, he also started to visit Lorna for 'stress relief ' at her salon in Chiswick, West London.

The affair they started led to a gruesome death for Lorna and a life sentence yesterday for Rena.

In September last year, the former Army corporal walked calmly into her 36-year-old rival's premises and emptied both barrels of a shotgun into her at pointblank range, one after the other.

30 years on, could it have been a flash of that wild schoolgirl again, acting impulsively, seeking instant vengeance? But it went much deeper than that. For Rena had learned to serve her revenge cold.

True, her first reaction on finding out about the affair was rage. She lashed out at Paul with a bunch of keys, then stormed round to Lorna's house and scratched 'whore' on her car, screaming: 'I'm going to get you, you bitch!' But nine months passed before she shot Lorna. She says it followed repeated torment from Paul about her sexual inadequacy and unattractiveness, plus the flaunting of his infidelity.

She claimed she wanted only to wound Lorna, shooting her in the abdomen to ensure she could have neither sex nor children.

And she said she had gone there to commit suicide - although we are entitled to ask why this might have necessitated loading two cartridges into the gun.

As for the fatal moment, she convinced at least one psychiatrist that she believed, dreamlike, that she was shooting herself. …

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