A hospital electrician who murdered two women and sexually assaulted dozens of corpses for three decades has been jailed for life today – and will never be released.
David Fuller thought he had got away with his despicable crimes until cold-case detectives carried out a review of the national DNA database.
Last month the 67-year-old was convicted of what became known as the ‘Bedsit Murders’ after cold case detectives linked crime scene DNA to his brother.
Detectives found that his brother’s DNA partially matched samples taken in 1987 – this led them to Fuller himself, who was a billion to one match.
David Fuller admitted murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, both from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, midway through a trial.
Both had been beaten and fatally strangled.
Fuller also pleaded guilty to 51 other offences, including 44 charges relating to the 78 identified victims in mortuaries.
Shop manager Ms Knell was found dead at her flat in June 1987, while Ms Pierce’s naked body was found in a field three weeks later by a farm worker at Romney Marsh, 40 miles away.
The infamous case became known as the ‘Bedsit Murders’ because both women lived alone in flats.
A jury at Maidstone Crown Court heard that Fuller had “depraved sexual predilections” and had attacked corpses for an “extended period of time” at the hospitals where he worked.
Investigators say he abused 101 corpses – of which 82 have been identified.
His female victims aged from nine to 100 between 2008 and November 2020.
Fuller was an electrician at the Kent and Sussex Hospital from 1989, before moving to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital in 2010, the court heard.
This included 100,000 images and videos he had taken of himself abusing the corpses.
Azra Kemal, 24, was one of the twisted killers’ victims after she died in a fall in Kent.
Fuller had sex with her dead body three times and even researched her death online – reading tributes from her family and friends.
He got a job at the Kent and Sussex hospital when he failed to disclose his burglary convictions, sources said.
He again declared he had no convictions in 2002 but was finally exposed 13 years later while working as a contractor at the Tunbridge Wells hospital.
Fuller was forced to have a criminal record check for the first time in early 2015.
It emerged Fuller had convictions for a string of burglaries in the 1970s that he had previously lied about, a source said.
But he was allowed to continue working with an “access all areas” hospital swipe card.
Fuller’s family home in Heathfield, East Sussex, was raided in the early hours of December 3, 2020.
DS Ivan Beasley spoke about breaking news of the arrest to Wendy and Caroline’s families.
He added: “It was real, genuine shock. They had thought this day would never come.
“Clearly it has brought back a huge amount of emotion, trauma and grief.”
Arresting officer DI Garry Cook added: “I don’t think he was surprised, there was no obvious denial.”
Following Fuller’s arrest he was found to match a bloody fingerprint on a Millets bag found in Wendy’s bed.
Detectives also worked with Clarks footwear archivists to identify a footprint in blood as belonging to a ‘Sportstrek’ trainer.
Pictures in Fuller’s family album showed him wearing these shoes during the 70s and 80s.
Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, said that evidence found during a search of Fuller’s home showed that he had taken images of women’s corpses in the mortuaries of Kent and Sussex hospital and Tunbridge Wells hospital.
It showed that Fuller had a “particular interest” in the sexual assault of dead women.
Mr Atkinson QC said that the prosecution’s case is that Fuller killed and sexually assaulted the women to satisfy his desire.
“His desire for sexual gratification through the observation and identification of vulnerable women, gaining control of them, and then indulging his depraved sexual predilections in relation to them, all provides the explanation in relation to their murder.
“It follows that he is responsible for the killing of these young women and then sexually assaulting their bodies after their deaths.”
Police also said Fuller had often visited Romney March, Kent, where Caroline’s body was found dumped in a ditch.
He travelled to the area to spot birds and also with his cycling club.
Before he was sentence a victim impact statement from Ms Knell’s mother Pam was read out to the court.
It read: “Wendy was a caring thoughtful at times a bit scatty person who would do anything for anyone similar to me.
“Always smiling, tall and skinny when young, when playing netball she came home with scraped.
“As she got older she always worked hard went to college did her exams.
“She got a job and her employer asked her to look after children. She always wanted children. If she had children at least we would have had a part of her.
“I realised something went wrong, when I realised she never went to work that day.
“I never expected the reason would be she was dead.
“I rang my husband Bill who went to the flat and when he got there he told police his daughter lived inside and they told him there was a girl inside who was dad.
“You never expect to be told your daughter is dead.
“I went into autopilot I was in shock. I did practical things like telling the rest of the family.
“Jane, daughter, said she didn’t know it was murder. But it was all over the news. Police told me but I already saw it on telly.
“Since then I have never had a good night sleep.
“One lady who was older than me who I was friends with used to take me on the bus because I couldn’t go out alone.
“Even now I can’t go out alone.
“I get scared with strangers or if a man comes too close to me.
A victim statement from Katrina Frost, Caroline Pierce’s mum, was also read it court.
Mrs Frost said: “My daughter Caroline was a typical teenager, just coming out of her rebellious stage.
“We agreed to meet for lunch after months. But now it became the most horrific part of my life and a nightmare that continues to this day.
“I have had to endure 34 years of not know why anyone would do this. I never forgot racing across Kent having to identify the damaged body of my own flesh and blood.
“I can still recall the horror of seeing her body and what happened to her.
“She didn’t deserve what happened to her or being taken away from her family.
“She doesn’t deserve what this animal did to her.
“She must have been terrified when she died.
“Life has never been the same again. Christmas time no get-togethers, no grandchildren, Mother’s Days are a bitter reminder of when Caroline’s funeral was held.
“Anniversaries, her birthday, the day her body was found goes on the same every year.
“If I hear Abba playing I must leave for risk of breaking down in tears.
Her grandparents never had grandchildren. The happiness went out of their lives when “their daughter was murdered.”
The mum of Fuller’s youngest victim – who was just nine – read out a statement in court as Fuller was being sentenced.
“David I can’t believe I have put this words to paper but I have to because of what you did in the mortuary,” she said.
“I have not much to say that I can tell you. What I can say is my beautiful daughter was the kindest person I ever met and never met anyone else.
“In her short 9 years she laughed and was happy and grateful in life. Nothing you have done can never change that.
“My daughter died from a complication of the common cold. My life has been an existence and my sole purpose is to look after my son.
“I need you to understand the pain this has caused me and my family.”
She continued: “Out of the blue the police knocked on my door to tell me what had happened to her. She was my baby and couldn’t say no to a dirty old man who abused her body, but she would have.
“I was always vigilant about telling her about sexual abuse and she knew that there was disgusting people in the world and rape.
“It was rape and so disgusting it would never appear in anyone’s imagination.
“Every day I would go to that mortuary and real human beings and staff members helped me dress her and I would kiss her for weeks.
“But now that special time is ruined because that disgusting man there did what he did.
“He would move her toys and blankets and have sex with my baby. I can’t even touch them now because of what he did. It breaks my heart.
“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I feel sick. I think of her birthmark she hated but I loved.
“Her long blonde hair I brushed. But now I see that awful man touching her in that way.
“I don’t know how I will carry on with my life now. Most of all my pain and guilt because I left her there in that hospital that was supposed to be a safe place.
“And I can’t comfort and tell her ‘I’m sorry baby, I know what he’s done’.
“How will I make it up to her? How will I stand by her now? And how can I look after her body disrespected by him.
“You have to understand the pain I have through.
“Please remember this is my life forever. Yes, you will be upset for a while, but you go home to your families.
“Now I will go home and see the abuse done to my baby.
“I’m sorry you all have to go through such a horrible experience hearing about it.”
Last month Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced an independent inquiry into Fuller.
The probe will look into the “circumstances surrounding the offences committed at the hospital and the national implications”, Mr Javid told MPs.
Former NHS boss Sir Jonathan Michael will chair the inquiry, with an interim report expected early next year.
Mr Javid branded the attacks “shocking and depraved” and said support was in place for the families of the 100 victims.
He told the Commons: “Given the scale and the nature of these sexual offences, I believe that we must go further.
“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.”