David Fuller: Hospital morgue worker who sexually abused at least 102 corpses sentenced to life in jail

David Fuller murdered two women and sexually abused at least 102 corpses in hospital mortuaries

Holly Bancroft
Wednesday 15 December 2021 19:27 GMT
Mother of woman whose body was raped by David Fuller speaks out
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Hospital electrician David Fuller, who sexually abused the bodies of at least 102 women and girls, has been sentenced to life in jail.

Fuller, 67, killed and then sexually assaulted two young women, Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce, in two separate attacks in 1987.

Fuller was given two whole life sentences for the two murders and twelve years for his abuse of women and girls in hospital mortuaries. In her sentencing remarks, judge Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb described Fuller as a “vulture, picking your victims from among the dead”.

She continued: “You will spend every day of the rest of your life in prison.”

Fuller was caught 33 years after the 1987 murders following a DNA breakthrough. Police investigations at his home revealed Fuller had recorded himself abusing bodies in hospital mortuaries for more than a decade.

Following the sentencing, chief superintendent Paul Fotheringham revealed that police were now looking into other unsolved missing persons cases, rapes and murders in the South East of England. He said that there was “every chance” that Fuller had committed other crimes.

It was revealed in court on Wednesday that Fuller had abused the corpses of at least 102 women – including a nine-year-old girl, two 16-year-olds and a woman aged 100.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC told Maidstone Crown Court: “David Fuller systematically and repeatedly sexually abused the bodies of dead women and girls.”

He said that though the police know the names of 82 of the victims, a further 20 may never be identified.

The mother of Fuller’s youngest victim said the abuse of her nine-year-old daughter’s body would “haunt me forever and the rest of my life”.

She added: “My pain – the guilt that I feel because I left her in that hospital, the one that’s meant to be a safe place.

“I have nothing, no way of closure, how will I make it up to her? How will I stand by her side now, and how will I nurse that little body that has been ruined and disrespected by that vile man?”

The mother of Azra Kemal, whose body was assaulted in a mortuary by David Fuller, has said that, although justice has been served for the families of the two women who were murdered, the sentences were too lenient for Fuller’s mortuary crimes.

Speaking outside the court on Wednesday, Nevres Kemal called for a statutory public inquiry.

David Fuller received three months each for the three assaults on her daughter’s body. Speaking about the length of those sentences, Ms Kemal said: “I do not feel that is fair and just. It’s not acceptable, she was worth more than that.”

She said that people receive more for possession of class A drugs. Referring to the judge, Ms Kemal said: “She delivered what she could but the law has to change. This is from my heart.

“Justice for the families of the mortuary crimes has not been served.”

In her sentencing remarks, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb QC said the killings of the two women in 1987 were “premeditated” and “carefully planned and executed”.

She described David Fuller as a “prowler”, and murder victim Wendy Knell as “successful, happy and independent”.

Fellow murder victim Caroline Pierce, the judge said, was “a lively young woman” when she was killed.

She said that the murders were sexually motivated, adding: “Once you had killed these women you spent time with them to satisfy your sexual deviancy.”

Speaking to Fuller, the judge said: “Your violations go against everything right and humane, they are incomprehensible.”

She described the offences in the mortuaries as involving “an astonishing breach of trust and invasion of privacy, that was repeated so much that it became habitual”.

Fuller plead guilty to murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, days into this trial after previously admitting manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

He also plead guilty to 51 other offences, including 44 charges relating to 78 victims in mortuaries. The charges also including possession of an extreme pornographic image and taking indecent images of children.

Chief Superintendent Paul Fotheringham spoke outside the court after the sentencing. He said: “We are delighted with the sentencing … to get two whole life sentences when there are so little of those in the country shows the seriousness of the crimes.”

He called Fuller a “monster” and said “hundreds if not thousands” of people had been affected by his crimes.

He described Fuller as “one of the worst serial offenders that we’ve ever seen in this country”, adding: “He will never see the light of day again, which me and my team are absolutely delighted with.”

He said there were up to 10 mortuary victims that the police will never be able to identify.

He also said that the police were investigating whether David Fuller committed other crimes before he murdered two women in 1987.

Mr Fotheringham said the police force were looking at unsolved missing girls cases, rapes and murders across the southeast of England, adding: “I think there is every chance that he has committed other offences.”

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