David Fuller: Necrophiliac murderer sentenced for further sexual abuse of mortuary bodies

A necrophiliac double murderer who misused his position at a hospital to sexually abuse female corpses has been sentenced to a further four years in prison after admitting more “depraved” acts.

David Fuller, 68, is already serving a whole life sentence for beating and strangling Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, to death before sexually assaulting them in two separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1987.

The electrician filmed himself abusing corpses in the now-closed Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital, in Pembury, where he had worked since 1989.

He pleaded guilty to the two murders and 44 charges relating to 78 victims in mortuaries at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust between 2008 and November 2020.

Last month, he admitted sexually abusing an additional 23 dead women between 2007 and 2020.

Extensive investigations by Kent Police have led to 13 of these 23 further victims being formally identified. However, it has not been possible to establish the identities of the other 10.

David Fuller is serving a life sentence in jail (PA)
David Fuller is serving a life sentence in jail (PA)

At Fuller’s sentencing hearing, the daughter of one of his victims told the court that “pain and emotional upset seared through my body” when she was told of the abuse her mother suffered.

Addressing Fuller, she continued: “David, I want you to know how much damage you have caused, how your sick and twisted behaviour has damaged families like mine.

“I’m pleased you are now being held accountable for what you did only seven hours after she died.”

A father of another victim said he could not put into words how “disturbing” it was to find out what happened to his daughter at Fuller’s hands.

The brother of another said: “He has caused complete and utter devastation.

Wendy Knell, who was one of two women murdered by David Fuller (PA Media)
Wendy Knell, who was one of two women murdered by David Fuller (PA Media)

“David Fuller has tainted every single memory I have of my sister. All I can think of is what he did to my sister when she was supposed to be resting.”

Sentencing Fuller, Ms Justice Cheema-Grubb told him: “You have no regard for the dignity of the dead.”

She highlighted the victims’ achievements in life, saying that one was a talented skier, one worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, and others had worked as teachers or in the NHS.

Libby Clark from the Crown Prosecution Service said previously: “Fuller’s actions were depraved, disgusting and dehumanising - on a scale that has never been encountered before in legal history.

“It was vital for us to bring these additional charges for the women we could identify, and those we sadly couldn’t, to reflect his offending and bring justice for the families that we can.

“The horrors of this case will no doubt remain with everyone who has worked so tirelessly to bring the case to a close.”

The charges include 12 counts of sexual penetration of a corpse and four counts of possession of extreme pornography.

Caroline Pierce was also killed in Tunbridge Wells in 1987 (PA Media)
Caroline Pierce was also killed in Tunbridge Wells in 1987 (PA Media)

The government has launched an independent inquiry into how Fuller went undetected until he was arrested for what has been dubbed the “bedsit murders” on 3 December 2020, following a new analysis of decades-old DNA evidence.

Ms Knell was found dead in her Guildford Road apartment on 23 June 1987, while Ms Pierce was snatched five months later on November 24 outside her home in Grosvenor Park. Her naked body was discovered in a water-filled dyke at St Mary in the Marsh on 15 December.

Police discovered a library of images of Fuller abusing corpses during a search his three-bedroom semi-detached home in Heathfield, East Sussex, where he lived with his family.

Victims included a nine-year-old girl, two 16-year-olds and a 100-year-old woman.

CCTV image of David Fuller being questioned (PA Media)
CCTV image of David Fuller being questioned (PA Media)

During his initial trial, the mother of the nine-year-old girl read her victim impact statement to the court. She addressed Fuller, saying: “You raped my baby. She couldn’t say no to a dirty, 66-year-old man who was abusing her body. She couldn’t say no, but she would have.

“There’s no closure. How can I make this up to her? How can I nurse that little, broken body that’s been ruined and disrespected by that vile man? I will never be able to get over this.”

A report on the hospital trust is expected to be published next year.

Last month, it was announced that more than 90 family members whose loved ones were defiled by Fuller will receive compensation of up to £25,000.