Murderer may have abused hundreds of dead bodies in hospital morgues

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Police fear hospital electrician David Fuller may have abused 'hundreds' more dead bodies, as detectives began to investigate the true scale of the double murderer's 'heinous' attacks.

Fuller, 67, pleaded guilty to murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in two separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells in 1987, on Thursday — four days into a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

He also allegedly 'assaulted and defiled' the bodies of at least 99 dead women — but Kent Police believe he may have abused hundreds more victims.

The force has set up a dedicated phone line for distraught families who believe their relatives' corpses may have been assaulted by Fuller.

The depraved killer had admitted taking the lives of the two women but originally pleaded not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Undated handout grab from CCTV issued by Kent Police of David Fuller being questioned. Source: Kent Police/PA Wire/AAP
CCTV of David Fuller being questioned by police. Source: Kent Police/PA Wire/AAP

Moment police arrest David Fuller 

Police bodycam footage shows officers knocking on Fuller's door and asking to speak to him.

During the exchange, the Kent Police officers ask where the 67-year-old's wife is, to which he replies that she is upstairs.

As Fuller sits down, they explain they are investigating the murders of Knell and Pierce in 1987 and proceed to tell him he is being arrested on suspicion of murder.

He is asked if he understands, to which he replies: "yes", and also gives the same reply when asked if he understands the reasons for his arrest.

Video footage released by police also shows Fuller in an interview, during which he denies the murders.

Undated handout photo issued by Kent Police of David Fuller who has pleaded guilty to murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20. Source: Kent Police/PA Wire/AAP
Fuller, 67, pleaded guilty to murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20. Source: Kent Police/PA Wire/AAP

Fuller filmed mortuary attacks, police say

Ahead of his trial, Fuller pleaded guilty to 51 other offences, including 44 charges relating to 78 identified victims in mortuaries where he was working as an electrician, but investigators have so far detected at least 99 potential victims.

The victims included three children under the age of 18 and others older than 85 between 2008 and November 2020.

Fuller filmed himself carrying out the attacks at mortuaries inside the now-closed Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital, in Pembury, where he worked in electrical maintenance roles since 1989.

The CPS said police searches of Fuller’s home in Sussex to gather evidence in the murder investigation uncovered four million images of sexual abuse.

Wendy Knell is pictured left and Caroline Pierce is seen right. Source: Kent Police/PA Wire/AAP
Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce. Source: Kent Police/PA Wire/AAP

While most of these were downloaded from the internet, they revealed Fuller had also recorded himself abusing bodies over the course of his employment at the hospitals.

He was arrested for murder on December 3 last year following new analysis of decades-old DNA evidence, which linked him to the killings.

"There’s never been a case in Britain in which the number and the scale of the abuse of dead bodies have been revealed in this way and it raises such important questions as to the security of mortuaries for every hospital in the country," Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark said after Fuller's guilty pleas.

"I do think it’s now necessary, as well as obviously seeing Fuller go to jail for what I hope will be the rest of his life, that we move on to ask serious questions as to how this could have happened and we establish that it can never happen again."

Calls for health sector to take action

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has asked the health sector to take three key actions following the case.

"First, the NHS has written to all trusts asking for mortuary access and post-mortem activities to be reviewed against current guidance," he said. 

"Second, an independently chaired review is already underway into exactly what occurred at the trust, which will report into me.

"Finally, I have asked the Human Tissue Authority for advice on whether changes are required to our existing regulations."

A date for Fuller’s sentencing has not yet been set.

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