Double murder-accused electrician 'sexually assaulted dead bodies in mortuaries'

1 November 2021, 18:29 | Updated: 1 November 2021, 22:18

Fuller denies murdering two women in 1987
Fuller denies murdering two women in 1987. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

An electrician who killed two women also performed sex acts on corpses in hospital mortuaries, a court has been told.

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David Fuller admits killing Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He sexually assaulted their bodies after they died, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

The 67-year-old was arrested last year and when officers examined his hard drives, they found images of "unimaginable sexual depravity", prosecutors said.

These included footage of Fuller sexually abusing corpses in the hospitals he worked at, jurors heard.

On Monday, the court was told Fuller was arrested in December 2020 after DNA evidence from Ms Knell's and Ms Pierce's bodies linked him to their killings.

During a search of his home, police found four hard drives attached to the back of a cupboard.

Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, said: "When these hard drives were examined, they were found to contain a library of unimaginable sexual depravity", Mr Atkinson QC said.

"There were both photographs and videos which showed the defendant sexually abusing female corpses in the mortuaries of the two hospitals at which he worked, first the Kent and Sussex Hospital, where he worked full time from 1989, and then the Tunbridge Wells Hospital, to which he moved in 2010", he said.

The corpses were women of "significantly varying" ages, and the court was also told that in a police interview Fuller admitted using Facebook to search for pictures of the people he abused.

"He admitted to searching for them on the internet, including on Facebook. He claimed that this would be after the offending, rather than research before offending," Mr Atkinson said.

He added that this showed Fuller wanted sexual gratification from abusing the bodies, instead of carrying it out due to mental illness.

Fuller was arrested over the deaths of Ms Knell and Ms Pierce died in 1987, and in both cases reports of a "prowler" preceded their killings, with locals saying a voyeur had been looking through their windows.

Ms Knell, 25, was found dead in her apartment in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in June of that year.

Her body showed signs of blunt force trauma to the head, asphyxiation to the neck, and sexual assault after her death, jurors were told.

Ms Pierce, 20, was killed five months later in the same town, with neighbours describing hearing screams from her flat, the court heard.

She was reported missing, having vanished from her home, before her naked body was discovered in a water-filled dyke in St Mary-in-the-Marsh, dozens of miles away from Tunbridge Wells.

Addressing evidence about Fuller sexually abusing corpses, and referring to the deaths of Ms Knell and Ms Pierce, Mr Atkinson said: "It therefore provides a reason for the killings, however deviant and repellent, that does not depend on an explanation of mental illness that deprived the defendant of his self-control."