I used to say: “You don’t have to come, you don’t have to be part of us, but we are here for you if you want us.” I wish I had pushed harder and been less passive.He married actress Yvonne Quenet in 1970 and they had three daughters. ‘People loved him, and he pushed them away and went back into his shell when he saw them getting too close.They settled near Guildford in Surrey, where, 43 years later, they are still happily married, running a local theatre company and helping to care for their grandchildren.‘I met Jeremy a couple of times. My feeling was that although she wanted me to be available should Dickon want to meet me, she didn’t want a three-cornered relationship.‘Dickon didn’t call me Dad: he called me Ian. If we’d grown closer, it would have been a loving relationship because he was a very loving boy.As her fame grew, she fabricated an ‘early, short-lived marriage’ to cover up the stigma of single motherhood.‘I saw them a few times when Dickon was small and too young to remember,’ says Cullen.‘When Dickon began to ask about his real father, Kate telephoned to arrange for us all to meet, and my future wife came too.’While O’Mara had a turbulent private life, Cullen’s own domestic affairs were far more settled. In a strange way that made it very difficult for me to intrude.’As a teenager, Dickon visited on several occasions. ‘My girls adored having this fully grown-up brother coming into their lives — he taught them to skateboard — and I thought it was great too.The seeds of this tragedy were sown in Stratford-upon-Avon in the summer of 1962, where a handsome Cullen, then 23, was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and earning plaudits for roles in plays such as The Taming Of The Shrew and Macbeth.O’Mara, the daughter of an RAF flight instructor and an actress, was supported by her parents during Dickon’s early years.He was very affectionate.’In 1993, she married actor Richard Willis, 18 years her junior. Dickon’s relationship with Cullen, meanwhile, had dwindled to little more than occasional phone calls.
Having been educated privately at Halliford School near Shepperton, Surrey, Dickon decided upon a career in the theatre, becoming a stage manager, rigger and carpenter at the Royal Shakespeare Company.Towards the end of that relationship, Dickon tried to take his life for the first time — an ominous foreshadowing of what would occur nearly three decades later and a sign that was already a tortured soul.‘My biggest mistake was that I opened my home and my family to him — but then I left it to him whether he wanted to come in or not.