05 November 2021

Calls grow for public inquiry into David Fuller’s serial sex attacks on corpses in mortuaries across a decade

05 November 2021

Several MPs and a women’s charity have called for a public inquiry into how David Fuller was able to commit sex attacks against at least 78 victims in mortuaries over more than a decade.

Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, where Fuller committed many of his mortuary crimes and two murders in 1987, told the PA news agency an investigation into whether national policy was “stringent enough” is “the very least” the Government needs to do to give grieving families closure.

The Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ), which has been supporting a mother whose daughter’s body was violated by Fuller at a mortuary, has spoken out about “the pain and the fury” of affected families as it joined calls for the inquiry.

Fuller, 67, pleaded guilty on Thursday to murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in two separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Wendy Knell was killed in 1987 (CPS) (PA Media)

He had previously admitted to 51 other offences, including 44 charges relating to 78 identified victims in mortuaries where he was working as an electrician.

An independent review at the trust where Fuller worked is under way, but MPs are calling for a wider national review about how he was able to carry out the attacks for so long, Mr Clark said.

He said: “It’s beyond the resources and capability of a local NHS trust.

“The questions that are raised include local ones about how this was allowed to happen.

“But there are also national ones as to whether national policy was good enough, was stringent enough, and whether it could have happened in other hospitals across the country.

Twenty-year-old Caroline Pierce was also murdered by Fuller (CPS) (PA Media)

“The scale of the inquiry, when you have over 100 victims, and very important evidence that needs to be taken from them and others, the local NHS trust doesn’t have the resources and the administration to mount such an inquiry.”

He added: “I think it’s very important for the families.

“While they will be relieved that Fuller is now in jail and is likely to remain so for the rest of his life, they still need answers to the questions of how it was able to happen to their loved ones.

“The very least that we need to do to satisfy them, is that we can make sure it never happens again and that other families don’t need to go through what they went through.”

Mr Clark told PA that colleagues including Tom Tugendhat, Nus Ghani, Tracey Crouch, Helen Grant, Helen Whately, Laura Trott and Huw Merriman are also demanding a public inquiry.

The CWJ said it has been working with Nevres Kemal, whose daughter Azra was sexually assaulted in a mortuary by Fuller, to set up an internship programme in her memory.

It is clear that women and girls are never safe from male violence, even in death

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Azra was an inspiring and much-loved young woman and we are incredibly grateful that her mother chose CWJ to help memorialise her daughter’s life.

“The internship project had been commenced before Nevres received the horrifying further news of her daughter’s desecration.

“The team at CWJ are shocked and angered to hear of how Azra had been violated following her death by David Fuller… the pain and the fury that all the families of his victims must be feeling cannot be imagined.

“Those actions were a crime of violence not only to the bodies of the dead, but to their bereaved loved ones.

“It is clear that women and girls are never safe from male violence, even in death.

“A proper inquiry must now take place to explore how Fuller was able to continue perpetrating these appalling acts over such a long period of time.”

The CWJ called for an “open dialogue, however shocking” about the offence of necrophilia, which is penetration of a corpse and carries a maximum jail sentence of “just two years”.

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