'Why do they look... dead?': Horrifying moment police find images of ‘morgue monster’ defiling corpses

2 June 2023, 06:32

Kent Police bodycam shows raid of David Fuller's home

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the moment police discover a necrophiliac killer's sick cache of images that show him sexually abusing dead victims at the morgues where he worked.

David Fuller, a 68-year-old father-of-four, had been leading a seemingly ordinary life until investigators connected him to the long-unsolved murders of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in 1987.

The breakthrough in the case came in 2020, prompting a search of Fuller's residence in Heathfield, East Sussex.

Bodycam footage from that fateful day shows the police officers meticulously scouring Fuller's cramped home office.

As they sift through the cluttered room, their expressions quickly turn from curiosity to shock as they come across a series of disturbing pictures.

Fuller hid hard drive evidence of his offending in a box, stuck to a chest of drawers, hidden in a wardrobe
Fuller hid hard drive evidence of his offending in a box, stuck to a chest of drawers, hidden in a wardrobe. Picture: Kent Police
Kent Police video footage shows the moment David Fuller was arrested
Kent Police video footage shows the moment David Fuller was arrested. Picture: Kent Police

One officer's voice trembles as they inquire, "Are these ones he's taken?" Another officer, off-camera, whispers with a hint of disbelief, "Why do they look... dead?"

The images they unearthed depicted Fuller sexually abusing the bodies of deceased victims, shocking the investigators to their core.

Their search takes an even darker turn when they uncover a drawer hidden at the bottom of a wardrobe. Inside, they make a chilling discovery—countless USBs and floppy disks.

Fuller used the access his swipe card gave him to abuse bodies in the hospital mortuaries, the court heard
Fuller used the access his swipe card gave him to abuse bodies in the hospital mortuaries, the court heard. Picture: Kent Police

Little did they know that these storage devices contained an extensive archive of almost 900,000 files documenting Fuller's grotesque acts of necrophilia, carried out at the Tunbridge Wells mortuary.

The officers' reaction to these unimaginable findings is a mix of disbelief, horror, and the pressing need to ensure justice for the victims and their families.

It is evident that the officers grapple with the unimaginable nature of the crimes they have uncovered, struggling to comprehend how an apparently ordinary man could harbour such dark secrets.

While being interviewed, Fuller later tells detectives: "I'm not insane. I may have some sort of residual personality problems, which you know I've gone a completely almost Christian life and a deadliest life altogether at the same time with no crossovers... It's just two different personalities."

Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce were murdered in 1987
Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce were murdered in 1987. Picture: PA

The bodycam footage and the subsequent investigation shed light on the dual nature of David Fuller—a man who led a seemingly normal life while secretly engaging in horrific acts of violence and violation.

As Detective Inspector Shelley Chantler, the officer leading the case, reflects on the initial disbelief she felt, she notes the challenges of reconciling the existence of two distinct personalities within one individual.

She said: "This was an ordinary man. He was married, he had kids.

"It's difficult to get your head round that any human could even think to do that and then they discovered some more."

She added: "It's like he's two people in one. He leads a normal life going about his own daily business. And on the other hand he's out murdering women."

Fuller was arrested by Kent Police
Fuller was arrested by Kent Police. Picture: Police

An examination of Fuller's computer hard drive at his home revealed 818,051 images and 504 videos of his abuse as well as evidence of his 'persistent interest in rape, abuse and murder of women'.

The images discovered by the officers would later serve as vital evidence during Fuller's trial. They revealed the extent of his depravity, showcasing his abuse of not only the victims he murdered but also numerous other corpses, including nurses, teachers, a war veteran, and mothers who had nurtured families.

The grotesque images, combined with evidence found on Fuller's computer hard drive, further exposed his deep-rooted fascination with rape, abuse, and murder.

In 2020, Fuller admitted murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in 1987 after he brutally bludgeoned and strangled them to death.

Both women, who lived alone in bedsits in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, were then sexually assaulted by the former hospital electrician as they were either dying or post-death.

Miss Knell's body was discovered in her bed on June 23, 1987, while Miss Pierce, who was attacked just feet from her front door on November 24, was found three weeks later on December 15 wearing just a pair of tights, in a field 38 miles away in Romney, Kent.

Their horrific deaths - dubbed the Bedsit Murders - became one of the UK's longest unsolved double homicide cases.

Three-times wed Fuller was finally arrested on December 3, 2020, after a major breakthrough in DNA science identified a familial link to a relative on the national database.

David Fuller murdered two women and sexually abused at least 100 corpses in hospital mortuaries (
David Fuller murdered two women and sexually abused at least 100 corpses in hospital mortuaries (. Picture: PA

Fuller, from Heathfield, East Sussex, initially denied the historic murders on the grounds of diminished responsibility before unexpectedly changing his pleas to guilty amid dramatic scenes on the fourth day of his trial.

The depraved killer was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

At the time of the sentencing, 81 of the mortuary victims had been identified.

However, due to difficulties in identifying all the corpses he abused and fearing there may have been hundreds of others going back to when Fuller's hospital employment record began, Kent Police set up a call centre at the conclusion of the trial to deal with any public concerns.

The Government also announced an independent public inquiry would be held, while NHS England ordered all hospitals to review their security.

Following Fuller's conviction, the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate were able to identify a total of 101 victims.

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