David Fuller: Man admits murdering two women and sexually assaulting dozens of dead bodies

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David Fuller: Man admits murdering two women and sexually assaulting dozens of dead bodies


An electrician who believed he escaped the murders of two young women 34 years ago is risking the rest of his life in prison after new DNA techniques finally identified him.

David Fuller, 67, pleaded guilty to the murder of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in two separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1987, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS ).

The 67-year-old changed his pleas on Thursday, four days after his trial began at Maidstone Crown Court, who learned he sexually assaulted the two women after killing them.

And in a shocking discovery after his arrest last December, police discovered that Fuller had for many years sexually assaulted dozens of dead bodies of women in the mortuary of the hospital where he was employed.

He admitted to assaulting nearly 80 corpses, many of which were filmed, but detectives believe there may have been hundreds more victims in the three decades he worked at the hospital.

The hospitalized victims ranged from a nine-year-old girl to a 100-year-old woman.

Fuller was described in court as a “controlled sexual deviant who preyed on young women and derived sexual gratification from the violation of their corpses.”

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Wendy Knell was murdered in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1987

After a judge lifted a reporting ban, Fuller, married with one son, can now be exposed as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

A police source said: “The extent and scale of his crime is likely to be unprecedented in this country. “

Police have spent £ 2million mobilizing an army of 317 Family Liaison Officers, drawn from 27 UK forces, to locate the relatives of his hospitalized victims and break the news to them.

Fuller’s second wife, Mala, who was a nurse at the hospital, was in court last month with her son, brother and others when full details of his crimes came to light.

One woman was shaking and in tears, another left the courtroom and looked visibly upset.

At that hearing, he admitted 32 counts of sexual assault of dead bodies, taking indecent photographs of a child, possession of extreme pornographic images and voyeurism.

At first, he denied killing the two young women, but later told his lawyers he admitted it but with reduced responsibility.

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The Guildford Road apartment where Ms Knell was killed

Today he changed his plea from murder to guilty.

His first murder victim was Mrs Knell, the director of Supa Snaps where Fuller took his photographs to be developed in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Her boyfriend found her naked body in a city studio in June 1987. It was her father Bill’s birthday. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

Her widowed mother, Pam Knell, 84, told Sky News: “I remember the phone call from the police. And then I had to tell my husband to go, fix it. It was crazy. I do not know. “

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Wendy Knell was the director of Supa Snaps where Fuller took her photographs to be developed in Tunbridge Wells, Kent

She added: “I couldn’t remember for a long time. I found myself at the end of the garden in the middle of the night, all alone, crying.

“Wendy was a lovely, spirited girl and a good girl. She had just started a new life, living away from us, but she didn’t have much, did she?

“I never thought they would catch it and I was afraid a man would approach me. I hope he’s locked up for a long time. At least he won’t be able to do it again if he’s in jail, right? “

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL VERDICT Caroline Pierce
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Caroline Pierce was murdered by Fuller five months after killing Wendy Knell

In a statement after Fuller pleaded guilty, the family of MS Knell said, “While the guilty plea fundamentally doesn’t change anything because the pain and loss will always be there, it’s good to know it won’t. not able to hurt or cause more pain. “

Five months after killing Wendy, Fuller abducted Ms. Pierce outside her home. She was a waitress at Buster Brown’s restaurant he had visited.

Her body, naked except for a pair of pantyhose, was discovered by a farm worker in a flooded drain 40 miles away in Romney, an area Fuller knew from his bike trips.

Kent’s detectives investigated for many weeks, but forensic samples were poor and with no DNA database established to help identify the killer, the operation was scaled back.

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL VERDICT OP Verdier - 27 Grosvenor Road
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Ms Pierce was abducted by Fuller outside her home at 27 Grosvenor Road

What became known as “the bed murders” remained unsolved, even though a DNA sample from Wendy’s body was improved by forensic scientists in 1999.

In 2019, a new investigation was bolstered by an enhanced DNA sample from Caroline’s pantyhose, though the breakthrough came from Wendy’s body sample.

DO NOT USE without permission from Mobile AE or Home Desk David Fuller
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Fuller was linked to the crimes through a DNA sample

Checks on the National DNA Database, which was established in 1995, showed a close match with 90 people, and gradually detectives were able to reduce the numbers and identify a relative of Fuller – then Fuller himself.

When police called him at his home in Heathfield, East Sussex, he denied knowing the two women, but he was arrested and his DNA matched that of the killer. Her print matches that of the blood on a plastic bag found in Wendy’s bed.

During a search of Fuller’s home, detectives discovered hidden computer hard drives, 1,300 videos and CDs, 34,000 photographs and hundreds of hard drives and floppy disks, containing what they described as distressing images of sexual offenses. In all, there were 14 million images.

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL VERDICT
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Fuller had a swipe card to enter the hospital morgue he had access to when staff returned home

They included footage of Fuller sexually assaulting corpses at the now closed Kent and Sussex Hospital morgue and the new 500-bed Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury, which replaced it in 2011.

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has launched an independent investigation into his crimes at the hospital to find out why he was not detected.

His work as an electrician and maintenance engineer gave him access to all areas of the buildings.

He had a magnetic card to enter the morgue, where staff would check in three hours before the end of their regular shift.

A CCTV image showed him in part of the morgue looking at refrigerators where the bodies were stored. The room where the autopsies were performed did not have a security camera, in order to preserve the dignity of the bodies.

Stored images only date back to 2008, but since Fuller had worked at the hospital since 1989, detectives believe there could be hundreds more victims.

David Fuller had a magnetic card for the morgue because he sometimes had to do maintenance work there
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The hospital room where the autopsies were performed did not have a security camera

Fuller, who had previously been convicted of burglary, will learn of his fate at a later date.

He faces a mandatory life sentence, but because he killed two victims, sexually assaulted them and tried to cover up his crimes, he could be jailed for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.

Interior Minister Priti Patel: “This is a shocking case and my deepest condolences go to the families of all those who may have been affected.

“The sickening nature of the crimes committed will naturally cause public repulsion and concern.

“As Kent Police made clear, anyone potentially affected was contacted directly by specialist agents. “

Libby Clark, Crown Prosecution Service, said: “David Fuller’s deeply distressing crimes are unlike any other I have encountered in my career and unprecedented in British legal history.

“This very dangerous man has inflicted unimaginable suffering on countless families and he only admitted his long-held secrets when faced with overwhelming evidence. “

She added: “No UK court has ever seen abuse on this scale against the dead before and I have no doubt that it would still be offensive to this day without this careful investigation and prosecution. ”

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