Mortuary abuse inquiry making ‘good progress’ as new appeal launched

Double murderer David Fuller (Kent Police/PA)
Double murderer David Fuller (Kent Police/PA) Double murderer David Fuller (Kent Police/PA)

Funeral directors across the country are being urged to help an inquiry which is making “good progress” in investigating the sexual abuse of bodies by former hospital worker David Fuller.

The necrophiliac murderer worked in maintenance at Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital, in Pembury, from 1989, and sexually abused the bodies of 101 women and girls in the hospital mortuaries between 2005 to 2020.

The independent probe, which is investigating how Fuller was able to carry out his crimes undetected, is today launching its second phase of the review looking at the national picture of how the dead are looked after around the country.

Wendy Knell
Wendy Knell Wendy Knell was killed by Fuller (Family handout/PA)

This latest part of the inquiry will initially focus on safeguarding in private mortuaries, private ambulances and in the traditional and direct funeral sector, and is calling for people in the industries to share their experiences.

Sir Jonathan Michael, chairman of the inquiry, said: “We are encouraging people who work in these sectors from across the country to get in touch with us, to share their experiences and help us to understand the current arrangements for the care and protection of the deceased.

“We would also like to hear what more people think should be done to prevent the atrocious crimes that took place in Kent, from ever happening again.”

Sir Jonathan added the inquiry is making “good progress” with its first phase, which is why it is able to announce the start of the second part of the review.

Sir Jonathan said: “We have received a wealth of evidence, during the first phase of the inquiry, which relates specifically to the crimes committed by David Fuller in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.”

The inquiry, launched in 2021, first investigated matters relating to the NHS and other settings, particularly focused on Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust where Fuller was employed.

Last month, the inquiry appealed for new witnesses to come forward as they revealed investigators were looking into new information about allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the 1990s.

Enquiries by Kent Police previously found that no further criminal offences took place in this time period and no new evidence of further victims has been found.

David Fuller
David Fuller Double murderer David Fuller (Kent Police/PA)

However, Sir Jonathan said his team needed to look at the facts to see how effectively mortuary services were run back then.

In an update, Sir Jonathan said that the investigation into these allegations are “still ongoing” and a number of witnesses have come forward since the appeal.

He added: “We will continue these investigations whilst we begin phase two of the inquiry, to run concurrently. We are doing this in order to keep up the pace of the overall inquiry whilst completing a thorough investigation of the recently provided information related to phase one of the inquiry.”

In 2021, Fuller, 68, pleaded guilty to murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent in 1987, and 44 charges relating to 78 females.

David Fuller court case
David Fuller court case David Fuller admitted killing Caroline Pierce (Kent Police/PA)

After receiving a whole life sentence, Fuller was further sentenced to four more years in prison in 2022, after pleading guilty to sexually abusing the bodies of 23 more women.

Anyone with information can contact the inquiry via email or telephone 0207 972 1444.