HOW did Britain’s most depraved man go 34 years without getting caught?

Described as "boring" by former colleagues, David Fuller, 67, seemed to live a relatively normal life.


But this week the pensioner, from Heathfield, East Sussex, pleaded guilty to the murders of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, as well as abusing 99 dead bodies in Kent morgues. 

The bedsit murders were Britain’s longest cold case until DNA evidence linked depraved Fuller to the killings. 

Both Knell and Pierce had been beaten, strangled and then sexually assaulted after they had died months apart in 1987. 

When searching his house police found images and videos of Fuller abusing bodies in hospital morgues from 2008 to 2020. 

The evil deeds took place in Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells, which closed in September 2011, and the replacement Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Senior CPS prosecutor Libby Clark, who dealt with the Babes in the Woods murders, said: “This is the most disturbed and challenging case I have ever been involved with.”

But the question remains how did Fuller go undiscovered for so long?

From delays in DNA evidence to his charming hospital staff, we investigate. 

‘Groomed staff’

Fuller was able to charm hospital staff and manipulate morgue rules to his advantage to commit his shocking acts. 

Nevres Kemal – mother of victim Azra, 24, who died last year – told Sky News Fuller had groomed hospital employees.

Sick Fuller violated Azra on three occasions as she lay in a morgue after she died in a car accident. 

She was one of 100 dead women and children who Fuller defiled at the hospitals.

Social worker Nevres told Sky News: "I'm told he was the man to go to. He always made himself available to the mortuary staff. 

"They thought he was a great guy and basically, he groomed them. They became compliant and they never questioned him.

"How could they not have records that are automatically exposed to managerial people at the NHS trust?

"No one checked. It was so simple. He would actually abuse women while porters were bringing in bodies."

As well as grooming staff, the morgues of Kent and Sussex Hospital and the new Tunbridge Wells hospital didn't have security cameras.

As an electrician, his swipe card afforded him access through the hospital. 

Working an 11am to 7pm shift, he was often on his own after staff had gone home but he also stayed late to commit the vile acts.

As a result, the NHS has asked health trusts mortuary access and post-mortem activities to be reviewed, according to health secretary Sajid Javid.

Fights and affairs

Despite Fuller’s perverse sexual preferences, he managed to maintain a series of seemingly normal relationships.

He reportedly had two children with his first wife Gillian in 1972, but the marriage ended when she had an affair. 

He then moved to Tonbridge, Kent from Portsmouth where he married second wife Sally in 1982. 

Although Sally described the marriage as "long-lasting, in-depth and nice”, others remember fights and infidelity. 

He worked alongside Wendy Turland in the 80s at a home for girls with learning disabilities.

She said she witnessed fights between Sally and Fuller and once saw Sally with a black eye. 

She said: "I can't recall her saying how she got it but there had obviously been a fight… I remember seeing bruises on her arms and on her legs and Sally telling me David had kicked her."

Sally’s sister Julie Staples told the court how her brother-in-law would flirt with her. 

She said: “I think given the opportunity David might have liked to speak to me further.

"Albeit a quiet person, he had a way with him that I actually disliked."

Left for a member of his cycling club

He started an affair with nurse Susan Marjoram in 1990.

She said in a statement to the court she found him to be a “gentle man”.

She said: "I thought he was serious about us. We would meet at the social club and he would come back to my address and we were intimate.

"He never stayed the night and although we had sex there was never anything kinky. He was a normal, loving man, he wasn't violent, he wouldn't shout at me, he was never sexually demanding.

"He was a gentle man and treated me well." 

His second marriage only ended after Sally, who died in 2015, left him for a member of the West Kent Cycling Touring Club. 

Fuller said: "I was shocked and upset. I didn't know what was going on. It was with someone we both knew. I can't remember his name."

"It was a sad time. We were in a cycling club and she had an affair with one of them."

He married his third wife Mala in 1999 in Barbados and they have a child. 

In court, he denied he had ever been unfaithful in his current relationship.

Fuller said: "It's been wonderful. We have been married for 20 years and we have been very happy. 

“It is pretty perfect and we are caring towards each other."

DNA delays

When police recovered forensic evidence at the separate scenes of the 1980s murders, DNA profiling was in its infancy.

A sample from Wendy’s body was enhanced in 1999 but police were still unable to match the DNA to a killer. 

Then a breakthrough came in 2019 when scientists enhanced a sample from Caroline’s tights – and for the first time police were able to link the two murders through DNA.

Police found 1,000 names on the National DNA Database which could belong to relatives of the sample and whittled this list down to 90 priority names. 

Fuller, then 66, who was living in East Sussex, was singled out by police as a suspect. 

Fuller DNA matched Pierce’s tights as well as a duvet, a pillowcase and a towel in Knell’s home. 

The CPS said the DNA on the towel made it one billion times more likely that Fuller was the killer.

As well as forensic evidence linking Fuller to the two murders, when police searched his home they made a disturbing discovery. 

He had four million images of sexual abuse in his possession.

Most were downloaded onto hard drives from the internet onto but police also found footage he had filmed of himself carrying out attacks inside the hospitals where he had worked since 1989.

During the original investigation a shoe print found on a blouse at Knell's house was a central piece of evidence.

The soles of the shoes matched a Clarks Sportstrek trainer.

Police found in Fuller's home pictures of him wearing similar trainers.

‘Boring’ hobbies

The pensioner flew under the radar due to his run of the mill personal life.

He led a fairly active life in the 80s when he committed the bedsit murders and was a keen cyclist.. 

Fuller was unofficial photographer for 80s band Cutting Crew who sang Died In Your Arms.

He and second wife Sally would tour the country following the band while they gigged. 

Of his photography, Wendy Turland said: "David was an avid photographer and saw himself as the official 'unofficial' photographer for Cutting Crew, who were doing a lot of gigging at the time.

"He would follow them and take hundreds of pictures of them…. They (Fuller and his wife) followed them everywhere and went to every gig. They must have spent hundreds."

He and Sally also shared a passion for birdwatching according to court reports.

Ms Turland added in her statement that Fuller as "reasonably quiet and boring" unless the topic was something he was interested in "and then you couldn't shut him up".





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