Relatives of mortuary monster David Fuller’s victims will get up to six-figure payouts from NHS after he sexually violated more than 100 of their dead bodies

  • Depraved David Fuller, 68, murdered Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in 1987 
  • He then became a hospital electrician and defiled the bodies of over 100 women
  • At least one distraught relative took their own life after learning about the rapes 
  • Fuller, of Heathfield, East Sussex, was jailed for life last December for his crimes
  • Families are now suing his employer Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
  • Solicitors believe the average claim would be around £25,000 to 30,000

Health chiefs have agreed to a compensation scheme for families of loved ones whose bodies were violated in a mortuary by depraved killer David Fuller. 

Fuller, 68, was jailed for life last December for the murders of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in 1987 as well as defiling the bodies of more than 100 women kept in the mortuary at the hospital where he worked.

At least one distraught relative took their own life after learning of the rapes.

Now, bosses at the NHS trust where the horrific crimes took place have agreed to a compensation scheme for grieving families. The youngest of Fuller’s mortuary victims was aged just nine. The oldest had reached 100 when she died.

David Fuller, 67, escaped justice for over 30 years after murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in Tunbridge Wells in 1987. In December 2020, DNA advances at last led police to Fuller’s home in Heathfield, East Sussex, where they found horrific evidence he had raped over 100 women’s corpses in two hospital mortuaries he worked

25-year-old Wendy Knell’s bludgeoned body was discovered in the bed of her home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent,  on June 23, 1987

Caroline Pierce, 20, was attacked just feet from her front door in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, on November 24, 1987, was found three weeks later on December 15 wearing just a pair of tights, in a field 38 miles away in Romney, Kent

Lawyers say a number of family members of Fuller’s mortuary victims have suffered psychological injury as a result of learning of their relatives abuse.

In a statement released today, Dean Wilson Solicitors – which currently represent 80 relatives of Fuller’s mortuary victims – said they have begun claims against Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust for violations of Article 3 (torture and degrading treatment) and Article 8 (right to private life) of the Human Rights Act 1998.

In the statement they said: ‘The Trust has agreed to put in place a voluntary compensation scheme.

‘The Trust does not admit that it is legally liable to pay damages to close family members of the deceased victims of Fuller.

‘However, the Trust recognises that close family members of the deceased victims have arguable claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 against the Defendant, and the Protocol is intended to deal with the compensation of those arguable claims.

VICTIM’S MOTHER: ‘I GRABBED A KNIFE AND WENT OUT TO PLUNGE IT IN HIS HEART’ 

Azra Kemal, 24, died after falling from a motorway bridge in July 2020. Her body was raped by Fuller in the morgue of Tunbridge Wells Hospital

One of Fuller’s victims, 24-year-old Azra Kemal, died after slipping through a 10ft wide void between two carriageways on a road bridge of the A21 between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge on July 16, 2020.

Her body was taken to the morgue at Tunbridge Wells Hospital and was later identified as among those raped by Fuller. 

Upon learning the horrific news, Azra’s mother Nevres described how she grabbed a knife from her kitchen and went straight to Colindale Police Station where she believed he was.

‘The rage . . .’ she said. ‘My only thought was, “He is not going to get away this.” I’d just been told he’d raped her in hospital when she was dead. It was incomprehensible. I felt I had to take things into my own hands — find him, punish him. I’m her mother.

‘If I’d found him, I’m 99.99 per cent sure I’d have put that knife straight through his heart because he’d put a knife through mine. The thought of him violating her — of touching her hair, touching her skin…

‘But as I walked towards the police station, all hell broke loose. Police officers seemed to spring from everywhere. I was handcuffed and thrown to the floor by eight or nine of them.

Nevres Kemal (pictured) was ‘consumed by rage’ upon learning what Fuller had done to her daughter’s body

‘The two officers who had come to the house had telephoned in and said I was running around with a knife. But the police who arrested me didn’t know what had happened. 

‘I was crying: ‘My daughter was raped in hospital and she’s dead.’ They were looking at me, going, ‘Does this woman need psychiatric help?’

‘They read me my rights but I had this rage. I was shouting, ‘What are you doing? I need to put an end to this. No one is violating my child. I am her mother. I’m here because I’m looking for Dave. He needs to be punished.’

As it was, Ms Kemal herself was thrown into a cell and kept there for 34 hours.

‘The Defendant recognises that Fuller’s actions have caused distress and in some cases may have caused psychiatric injury to close family members and – without admission of liability – wishes to pay compensation to close family members without reference to any third parties for the purpose of this Protocol.’

Solicitors believe the average claim would be around £25,000 to 30,000 although a small number could get six-figure sums.

Ben Davey Senior Chartered Legal Executive representing the families, said: ‘It is a national scandal that David Fuller was able to perpetuate his offences on NHS property over such a long period of time.

‘The families of each of the victims have had a difficult enough time as it is grieving for the death of a loved one. They have then had the additional trauma on top of this of learning that their family member’s corpse was abused whilst under the care of the NHS.

‘I am pleased that this compensation scheme that has been agreed recognises that payments must be made to the family members, and makes appropriate provision for psychological treatment where it is reasonably required.’

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said in a statement today/yesterday (THURS): ‘The Trust is pleased that a compensation scheme has now been agreed and approved by the Department of Health and Social Care for the families of the victims of David Fuller’s mortuary crimes. The Trust is grateful to the families for the input they have provided into the design of the scheme.

‘The Trust wishes to apologise once again for the hurt Fuller’s horrendous crimes have caused the families and understands that no amount of compensation can lessen the pain they have suffered as a result of his actions.

‘The Trust hopes that the agreed compensation scheme will provide a fair and swift process for victims’ families and ensure family members are able to access any additional support they may need.’

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.

But detectives only realised the true extent of his crimes when they uncovered what was described by prosecutor Duncan Atkinson KC as ‘a library of unimaginable sexual depravity’ concealed in a hide at his home.

Stored on hard drives were videos and photos Fuller had recorded of himself abusing dozens of women and girls over a 13-year period in mortuaries of the hospitals, where he worked as a technical supervisor.

Married Fuller, who had been employed by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust since 1989, would wait for mortuary staff to finish their shifts before accessing fridges where the bodies were stored.

The victims, some of whom the 68-year-old violated more than once, included three who were under 18 at the time of death. Several others were said to be over 85 years old.

He then used mortuary records to log their details in his own notebooks, and even looked up some of his victims on Facebook.

He was still working for the NHS trust when arrested and had had access to all areas in both hospitals via a swipeable identity card.

Also on the hard drives were a staggering four million indecent images of children – mostly downloaded from the internet.

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.

The latest charges are connected to the 23 remaining victims – all deceased adult females – whose corpses were abused between 2007 and 2020.

An extensive and complex identification process led officers to formally identify 13 of these 23 further victims.

Police were unable to establish the identities of the other 10 victims, however the charges reflect offending against all of them.

No evidence has been found of any further victims. 

  • Any of the families want to speak to the Trust or access the victim support services which have been put in place, should contact Victim Support online at: www.victimsupport.org.uk or by calling the Supportline: 0808 1689111.

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