Morgue monster David Fuller sentenced to life in prison

‘You have proved with your depravity that monsters are very real’: Families address David Fuller who raped the corpses of their loved ones as one widower warns ‘thank your lucky stars I’m not sharing a cell with you’

  • David Fuller admitted 1987 murders of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in Tunbridge Wells last month
  • Pervert sexually abused at least 102 victims aged between nine and 100, of which 82 have been identified
  • Police found 14 million images of sex offences during a search of his family home in Heathfield, East Sussex
  • Fuller also filmed himself committing sexual acts on corpses at hospitals, where he worked as electrician
  • Families of victims have been giving impact statements during sentencing hearing at Maidstone Crown Court 

Bedsit killer and depraved morgue monster David Fuller ‘proved with his depravity that monsters are very real’, a family of one of his hundreds of victims has said. 

The perverted murderer, 67, pleaded guilty to the murders of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, last month.

Fuller beat and strangled the women to death before sexually assaulting them in two separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1987. 

He also admitted a further 51 offences related to sexually abusing at least 102 victims, of which 82 have been identified, in the mortuaries of Kent and Sussex and Tunbridge Wells hospitals over more than a decade. 

His youngest victim was just nine, two were aged 16, and the oldest was 100. The identities of the remaining 20 victims may never be known.

Fuller filmed himself carrying out the attacks inside the hospitals, where he worked in electrical maintenance roles.

He stored records of his serial sex offending on computer folders with titles including ‘Necro Lord’, ‘Register’, ‘Deadly’, ‘Deadliest’ and ‘Best Yet’.

The folders contained names, numbers and dates, as well as images of a mortuary logbook used to create his own record of those he defiled.

A sentencing at Maidstone Crown Court has heard impact statements from a string of the victims’ family members.

The daughter of one of Fuller’s victims faced him in court, telling him: ‘You have proved in your depravity that monsters exist. You are the absolute worst of humanity, preying on those who could not fight back.’ 

David Fuller, the double murderer who sexually assaulted dozens of corpses in hospital mortuaries

‘Thank your lucky stars that I’m not sharing a cell with you’: Families of victims reveal disgust and heartache

Maidstone Crown Court heard impact statements from a string of the victim’s family members as part of the sentencing hearing.

Ms Knell’s mother, Pamela, told the court she had not been the same since her daughter’s body was found.

She said she cut down everything in her garden ‘because it shouldn’t be living’ and would often find herself crying outside at 3am with no knowledge of how she got there.

The court heard how friends would cross the road to avoid her and she had given up caring about how her house looked. 

She added she still said goodnight and good morning to a picture of Wendy.  

The mother of Fuller’s youngest victim, a nine-year-old girl, addressed him directly, saying: ‘David, you know who I am because you read the letter I wrote to my baby.’

She said she went to the mortuary to be with her daughter, who died of complications relating to the common cold, every day, including Christmas Day.

The mother said she would dress her and brush her hair and leave toys for her to play with, but when she left Fuller would enter the room and abuse her daughter.

She told the judge Fuller had tarnished those memories.

The mother told the court: ‘I can’t say much of what I want to say to you. You raped my baby. She couldn’t say no to the dirty 66-year-old man who was abusing her body. I feel guilty I left her there.

‘I will not enjoy my life again. Her death was unfair and heart breaking but it was a natural thing that I was starting to come to terms with. This unnatural sick pain I will never get over.’

The father of an 18-year-old victim said: ‘The only bit of comfort we held on to was how peaceful she looked when we said our goodbyes.

‘This was destroyed when we got a knock on the door by the police to say she had been violated by a man my wife had grown up in fear of.

‘Fuller has taken our little girl’s innocence and destroyed our souls. I am consumed with anger.’

The widower of another woman told him: ‘David, when you are serving your time behind bars, think carefully about what you have done and thank your lucky stars that I’m not sharing a cell with you.’  

Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, told the court Fuller was first employed within the NHS trust as an electrical maintenance craftsman from January 1989 before progressing to maintenance supervisor in March 2002 and then estate supervisor from May 2011.

He said: ‘While having access to the two hospital mortuaries, David Fuller systematically and repeatedly sexually abused the bodies of dead women and girls located there.

‘He was generally the last person present at the mortuary at the end of the day. He had access via a swipe card and the evidence suggests he spent time with his victim beyond the filmed abuse of them.

‘He used a personal digital camera to take pictures of and to film his activities. He then kept records of those activities on hard drives concealed in his home office. 

‘Police also found printed images of deceased women being sexually abused and it is possible to see it is the defendant abusing them.’

Mrs Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb also heard impact statements from a string of the victim’s family members as part of the sentencing hearing.

Ms Knell’s mother, Pamela, told the court she had not been the same since her daughter’s body was found.

She said she cut down everything in her garden ‘because it shouldn’t be living’ and would often find herself crying outside at 3am with no knowledge of how she got there.

The court heard how friends would cross the road to avoid her and she had given up caring about how her house looked. 

She added she still said goodnight and good morning to a picture of Wendy.  

The mother of Fuller’s youngest victim, a nine-year-old girl, addressed him directly, saying: ‘David, you know who I am because you read the letter I wrote to my baby.’

She said she went to the mortuary to be with her daughter, who died of complications relating to the common cold, every day, including Christmas Day.

The mother said she would dress her and brush her hair and leave toys for her to play with, but when she left Fuller would enter the room and abuse her daughter.

She told the judge Fuller had tarnished those memories.

The mother told the court: ‘I can’t say much of what I want to say to you. You raped my baby. She couldn’t say no to the dirty 66-year-old man who was abusing her body. I feel guilty I left her there.

‘I will not enjoy my life again. Her death was unfair and heart breaking but it was a natural thing that I was starting to come to terms with. This unnatural sick pain I will never get over.’

The father of an 18-year-old victim said: ‘The only bit of comfort we held on to was how peaceful she looked when we said our goodbyes.

‘This was destroyed when we got a knock on the door by the police to say she had been violated by a man my wife had grown up in fear of.

‘Fuller has taken our little girl’s innocence and destroyed our souls. I am consumed with anger.’

The widower of another woman told him: ‘David, when you are serving your time behind bars, think carefully about what you have done and thank your lucky stars that I’m not sharing a cell with you.’

Fuller was identified as the prime suspect in the murders of Ms Knell and Ms Pierce after a DNA breakthrough achieved by analysing genetic material found at the crime scenes and searching criminal databases for relatives.

The electrician was totally unknown to police but officers discovered a partial DNA match in one of his relatives after combing through a list of 1,000 people on the database who could be related to the killer.

After investigating Fuller, officers arrested him at his home in Heathfield, East Sussex, where he lived with his family, in the early hours of December 3 last year. 

Detectives said he did not look surprised, but he denied any involvement and said he had no knowledge of the case or the area where the women lived. 

During a search of his home, police found hard drives, floppy discs and CDs with 14 million images of sex offences – including filming himself committing the heinous acts. Images of him attacking corpses were also discovered.

Investigators have so far detected around 100 potential victims but admitted all their identities may never be known.  

Wendy Knell (pictured) was beaten and strangled by Fuller before being sexually assaulted in in Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Caroline Pierce, 20, was discovered in a water-filled dyke at St Mary-in-the-Marsh on December 15, 1987

Azra Kemal (pictured) was ‘violated’ at least three times while in the morgue at Tunbridge Wells Hospital

For having taken the lives of two young women in their prime, Fuller went on to commit further crimes of almost unimaginable evil – raping and sexually molesting the bodies of at least 100 women and girls in mortuaries to which he had access as a hospital electrician

The ‘Bedsit Killer’: The deaths of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce

The deaths of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce were dubbed the ‘Bedsit Murders’ and became one of the UK’s longest double homicide cases. 

Ms Knell was found dead in her apartment in Guildford Road on June 23, 1987, by her boyfriend. 

The bed, duvet and pillows were bloodstained, and her bloodstained head was resting on a towel.

Police could find no signs of forced entry, and neighbours heard nothing through the flat’s thin walls.

Ms Pierce was snatched five months later outside her home in Grosvenor Park, on November 24.  

Neighbours heard screams coming from the direction of the cemetery next to her flat at the time she is believed to have been abducted. 

Her body was found by a farm worker driving a tractor around the edge of a field on December 15, some 40 miles away in a water-filled dyke near St Mary in the Marsh, close to Romney Marsh. She was naked apart from a pair of tights.  

Both victims had suffered severe blunt force trauma to the head and both had injuries of compression of the neck by strangulation – either of which could have been the cause of death – and both victims had suffered similar injuries during sexual assaults.

Some victims were abused on multiple occasions and some both before and after post-mortem examinations.

Mr Atkinson continued: ‘When interviewed he said he wanted to admit the offences but didn’t want to talk about them. 

“He said he didn’t remember the first time it had happened. He agreed recording names and ages of those he assaulted but said he didn’t commit the offences to derive any sexual pleasure from them.

“He said the offences were not planned. He would get the names of people from the tags on their arms.

“He thought his oldest victim was ‘60/70’, the youngest ‘nine’. On eight occasions his Facebook account was linked to the victims.”

The court heard the hard drives also revealed research under the headings ‘rape’ and ‘murder’, with images of naked deceased women, of strangulation and slash wounds, and of apparently dead women being abused.

The prosecutor added: ‘That entire history is an aggravating feature in that it demonstrates a bizarre and deeply-held interest in rape, murder and abuse of dead women.

Ms Knell was found dead in her apartment in Guildford Road on June 23, 1987, by her boyfriend. 

The bed, duvet and pillows were bloodstained, and her bloodstained head was resting on a towel.

Police could find no signs of forced entry, and neighbours heard nothing through the flat’s thin walls.

Ms Pierce was snatched five months later outside her home in Grosvenor Park, on November 24.  

Neighbours heard screams coming from the direction of the cemetery next to her flat at the time she is believed to have been abducted. 

Her body was found by a farm worker driving a tractor around the edge of a field on December 15, some 40 miles away in a water-filled dyke near St Mary in the Marsh, close to Romney Marsh. She was naked apart from a pair of tights.  

Both victims had suffered severe blunt force trauma to the head and both had injuries of compression of the neck by strangulation – either of which could have been the cause of death – and both victims had suffered similar injuries during sexual assaults.

Fuller initially denied the murders on grounds of diminished responsibility, but later changed his plea mid-way through his trial in the wake of a report into his mental capacity..

He also admitted a further 51 other offences, including the sexual penetration of a corpse, possessing an extreme pornographic image involving sexual interference with a corpse and taking indecent images of children.

Fuller got away with his crimes for nearly 35 years by maintaining a front of middle-class domesticity and respectability.

To those who knew him, at least casually, he was a family man, a thrice-married father-of-four and a seemingly doting husband and father. 

Investigators believe he would have ‘undoubtedly’ carried on offending if he had not been identified.  

The mother of one of his victims – 24-year-old Azra Kemal, previously spoke of how her daughter was ‘violated’ at least three times while in the morgue at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Azra, who had worked as a researcher for Sky News, died after falling from a bridge as she fled a car that had burst into flames on the A21 last July.

Fuller raped her body three times while it was held in the Tunbridge Wells Hospital morgue – once not long after her mother visited to say her last goodbye.

Nevres Kemal told the court her focus was to increase the jail term from two years for necrophilia offences.

She called Fuller ‘insignificant’ as she addressed the judge.

Morgue rapist David Fuller: A timeline of the heinous offences 

1973: Fuller grew up in a terraced house in Angerstein Road, Portsmouth, and was living at the address when he was convicted of 26 counts of burglary. 

June 23, 1987: Ms Knell is found dead in her apartment in Guildford Road on by her boyfriend. The bed, duvet and pillows were bloodstained, and her bloodstained head was resting on a towel. Police could find no signs of forced entry, and neighbours heard nothing through the flat’s thin walls.

November 24, 1987: Ms Pierce, manager at a popular restaurant, is murdered by Fuller. However, it is not until three weeks later that her body – naked apart from a pair of tights – is found in a water-filled dyke of a remote field on Romney Marsh in Kent.

January 1989: Fuller begins working as an electrical maintenance craftsman at Kent and Sussex and Tunbridge Wells hospitals. 

2008: The first evidence of Fuller having filmed and photographed himself sexually abusing the bodies of dozens of women at the mortuaries.

2012: Kent Police reveals it has a full DNA profile of their prime suspect for the murders of Ms Knell and Ms Pierce.  

2015: Fuller has to undergo a criminal record check for the first time in the wake of revelations Jimmy Savile sexually assaulted patients. It emerges he had convictions for burglaries in the 1970s that he is understood to have previously lied about.

December 2020: Fuller is identified as the prime suspect in the murders after a DNA breakthrough achieved by analysing genetic material found at the crime scenes and searching criminal databases for relatives. Officers arrest him at his home in Heathfield, East Sussex, where he lived with his family, in the early hours of December 3. 

January 2021: Fuller admits responsibility for both killings at Maidstone Crown Court, but his barrister says he will deny murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He is later charged with additional offences relating to the sexual abuse of more than 100 victims.

November 4, 2021: After his trial gets underway, Fuller changes his plea to guilty. He also admits a further 51 offences related to sexually abusing at least 102 victims, of which 82 have been identified, in the mortuaries over more than a decade. 

December 15, 2021: Fuller appears for sentencing at Maidstone Crown Court.

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