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Morgue abuse: Inquiry will be held into David Fuller's 'unspeakably vile' crimes
8 November 2021, 15:46 | Updated: 8 November 2021, 17:03
Sajid Javid has announced an independent inquiry into the David Fuller case.
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The health secretary has announced Sir Jonathan Michael will chair the inquiry, confirming it will "look into the circumstances surrounding the offences committed at the hospital and then national implications".
The 67-year-old hospital electrician admitted to sexually assaulting at least 99 female corpses and murdering two women.
Mr Javid said: "Given the scale and the nature of these sexual offences, I believe that we must go further.
"Today I can announce that I am replacing the trust investigation with an independent inquiry.
"The inquiry will look into the circumstances surrounding the offences committed at the hospital, and their national implications.
"It will help us understand how these offences took place without detection in the trust, identify any areas where early action by this trust was necessary, and then consider wider national issues, including for the NHS."
Fuller targeted the bodies of a nine-year-old girl and a 100-year-old woman, who he abused between 2008 and November 2020 in two Kent hospital morgues.
The shocking crimes were only discovered after Fuller was arrested for the 1987 "bedsit murders" of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in December last year following a DNA breakthrough.
The 67-year-old filmed himself carrying out the attacks at mortuaries, and investigators have so far detected 99 potential victims, of which they know the names of 81.
Former Chief Executive of three NHS hospital trusts, Sir Jonathan Michael, will chair the inquiry with the Health Secretary stating: "Sir Jonathan is an experienced NHS chief executive. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and a former chief executive of three NHS hospital trusts.
"He had been leading the trust investigation and will be able to build on some of the work that he has already done.
"The inquiry will be independent and it will report to me as Secretary of State."
The inquiry will be split into two parts - the first being an interim report expected "early in the new year" with the findings promised to be made public.
Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark called for the Government's inquiry to address worries about other unauthorised access to mortuaries across the NHS.
"In the last four years there have been over 30 incidents of unauthorised people entering mortuaries in NHS hospitals," he told the Commons.
The NHS has now ordered all health trusts to review staff access to the mortuary and post-mortem activities.
The Health Secretary added: "There are a number of settings that rightly need to be looked at, including, for example, local authority mortuaries, private mortuaries and other settings - such as undertakers - and I think the inquiry should be open to all of that."