Bedsit killer: hotline for distraught families over fears he abused hundreds of corpses

5 November 2021, 09:00 | Updated: 5 November 2021, 13:04

By James Morris

A police helpline has been set up for distraught relatives who believe their loved ones could have been targeted after their death by a sickening double murderer who sexually abused corpses.

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The NHS has also ordered an investigation into how hospital worker killer David Fuller was able to sexually abuse at least 99 female corpses.

Police set up a contact centre number today on 0800 051 5270 as the true scale of Fuller's depraved crimes was revealed. There are fears he could have sexually abused hundreds more bodies and police are expecting a deluge of calls from the families of the deceased.

David Fuller admitted to two murders and the sexual assault of at least 99 women and girls
David Fuller admitted to two murders and the sexual assault of at least 99 women and girls. Picture: Kent Police

Miles Scott, chief executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust which Fulller worked for, said he is “determined to see if there are any lessons to be learned”.

MPs meanwhile have called for a public inquiry into how he was able to access mortuaries and sexually violate victims.

There are fears Fuller may have targeted even more victims
There are fears Fuller may have targeted even more victims. Picture: Kent Police

Fuller’s shocking crimes were only discovered after he was arrested in December last year for the 1987 "bedsit murders" of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20.

On the fourth day of his trial yesterday, he changed his plea and admitted to the two murders and sexual assault of at least 99 women and girls in hospital mortuaries.

Fuller following his arrest on 3 December last year.
Fuller following his arrest on 3 December last year. Picture: Kent Police

The 67-year-old's victims in the mortuaries 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 inside the now closed Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital, in Pembury, where he worked in electrical maintenance roles since 1989.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS boss Mr Scott said Sir Jonathan Michael, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, has now been commissioned to independently chair a probe “into how this could have happened and to identify anything we could or should have done to avoid it”.

In a statement following Fuller’s guilty pleas, Mr Scott said: “I want to say on behalf of the trust how shocked and appalled I am by the criminal activity by David Fuller in our hospital mortuary that has been revealed in court this week.

Read more: Man who decapitated mum found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity

“And most importantly, I want to apologise to the families of those who’ve been the victims of these terrible crimes.

“I am confident that our mortuary today is safe and secure. But I am determined to see if there are any lessons to be learned or systems to be improved.”

Meanwhile, the NHS has written to all its trusts asking for mortuary access and post-mortem activities to be reviewed against current guidance.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has also asked the Human Tissue Authority for advice on whether changes are required to existing regulations.

Senior Crown Prosecution Service crown prosecutor Libby Clark said Fuller had been a "prowler, Peeping Tom" with a history of domestic burglaries in the 1970s, who went on to live a very ordinary life in Kent.

But she added: "This was a man with a very, very dark secret."

Describing the type and scale of his crimes as "unprecedented," she added: "I have never come across anything like it – the numbers, the nature of offending – and I don't know anybody who has, be they police or other prosecutors.

"They are just crimes which actually defy belief, defy your belief in how people behave, such continued offending against women and girls and a lack of respect.

"He's moved on from killing to commit offences to actually committing offences against dead people."

Fuller generally worked the late shift, from 11pm to 7am, and as a maintenance supervisor had an access all areas pass, with a swipe card he could use to go anywhere, including the mortuary.

He was often alone in the mortuary after its staff left from their day shifts and would disappear into areas not covered by the cameras, detectives said.

Fuller's crimes were discovered when officers searched his three-bedroom semi-detached home in the town of Heathfield, East Sussex, where he lived with his family, after he was arrested for the murders of Ms Knell and Ms Pierce in the early hours of 3 December last year.

The box room acted as his home office, which was monitored by a CCTV system and had access to the loft through a hatch.

Inside an office wardrobe, police found a handmade box screwed to the back of a cabinet, with four hard drives hidden inside, containing pictures and videos of Fuller sexually assaulting dead women and girls.

Investigators have so far detected 99 potential victims, of which they know the names of 78.

The evidence found dates back to 2008 but police believe that could be because that was when digital camera devices were becoming more widespread, so the true scale of his offending may never be known.