Tunbridge Wells killer allegedly sexually assaulted victims and photographed bodies at morgues

Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce were found dead in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1987. Credit: Family handouts

A man accused of sexually assaulting two women after killing them in 1987 also allegedly took photos of dead bodies at two hospital mortuaries, a court has heard.

David Fuller, 67, is accused of murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in two separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

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

Her body showed signs of blunt force trauma to the head, asphyxiation to the neck, and sexual assault after her death, Maidstone Crown Court heard on Monday.

Ms Pierce was killed five months later outside her home in Grosvenor Park on November 24 of the same year.

Neighbours described hearing screams from Ms Pierce’s flat on the night in question, the court heard.

She was then reported missing, and there was no sign of her in her flat.

The trial is taking place at Maidstone Crown Court Credit: ITV News Meridian

Her naked body was later discovered in a water-filled dyke at St Mary-in-the-Marsh on December 15 1987.

DNA evidence from both women’s bodies link Fuller to their killing.

There were reports of “prowler activity” in the lead up to both women’s deaths, with local women reporting a voyeur looking through their windows.

Fuller admits to killing the two women but has pleaded not guilty to murder on grounds of diminished responsibility.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson said that Fuller had sexually assaulted both women after they had died.

He 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 told the court.

Fuller initially denied that he had killed the women when he was first arrested, the trial heard.

However, the court heard that after learning of the DNA evidence he has since changed his plea to diminished responsibility.

“His account has now changed,” said Mr Atkinson.

“He now asserts he was suffering from an abnormality of mind.

“If that is right then the defendant is guilty of manslaughter not murder.”

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.”

He added that there was no evidence of Fuller suffering from mental health problems until 2010, when Fuller complained of feeling depressed over pain in his legs.

The trial continues.