David Fuller: How killer morgue predator managed to hide from cameras as he secretly abused bodies

ITV Meridian's Sarah Saunders investigates how David Fuller was able to carry out his depraved crimes undetected in a mortuary full of CCTV cameras.

David Fuller secretly abused the dead bodies of women and girls in hospital mortuaries for more than a decade - totally undetected.

Hospital authorities are under the microscope as he is sentenced today, as questions linger over just how the double-murderer and serial necrophiliac managed to get away with his crimes for so long.

The electrician worked as a maintenance supervisor at the Kent and Sussex Hospital until it closed, then at Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury.

Fuller was seen as a quiet but helpful member of staff, who no-one suspected in the years before his crimes were sensationally laid bare.

A court heard the morgues where he carried out depraved acts contained cameras, and the rooms would have been being used by unsuspecting hospital staff as Fuller surreptitiously abused bodies in security blind-spots.

As Fuller is sentenced over his crimes today, ITV Meridian investigates how he was able to exploit morgue layouts to carry out his predatory behaviour.

NHS Trusts up and down the country are scrutinising their mortuary security under government orders, after Fuller cut his trial short to admit to two murder and preying on bodies at hospitals.

An inquiry is being launched, as concerns are raised about security and access to hospitals' sensitive areas.

Fuller's job meant he had an had an 'access all areas' pass - with a swipe card he could use to go anywhere, including the mortuary.

David Fuller did routine maintenance tasks in the part of the mortuary covered by CCTV

CCTV images show him doing routine maintenance tasks with the refrigerator doors behind him.

But behind this veil of deception, Fuller was using his access to film and photograph himself assaulting the dead bodies of at least one hundred women and girls.

The 67-year-old’s victims included three children under the age of 18 and others older than 85 between 2008 and November 2020.

Fuller worked the night shift and avoided portering staff and CCTV cameras

Fuller generally worked the night shift, from 11pm to 7am. He was often alone in the mortuary after staff left from their day shifts and would disappear into areas not covered by the CCTV cameras, detectives said.

Hospital porters could have come down to the mortuary at any time. They would have entered through a receiving room, covered by CCTV cameras.

Fuller realised he could access the post-mortem room on the other side.

On this side there was no CCTV at the time and the fridge doors were unlocked, meaning he would not be seen by other staff members and had unlimited access to the bodies.

The configuration of the rooms meant Fuller could come and go as he pleased, unnoticed even if a porter did enter the mortuary on the other side of the fridges.

Hospital plans shows how David Fuller accessed the mortuary

NHS accredited Security Specialist Richard Ross warns institutions against danger from the enemy within.

Mr Ross explained how hospitals may have swipe cards, CCTV and intruder detection systems.

But if those systems aren't monitored for suspicious activity, perpetrators can get away with things for a considerable time before they are detected.

He said: "Hospitals are notoriously difficult to completely protect, because they are active all the time, but they need to feel like safe open environments. That's why it's so important they have experienced security professionals who have an understanding of the whole picture.

"The protection of the staff and users is at the forefront, along with the assets there as well.

  • NHS accredited Security Specialist Richard Ross

He added, "Ultimately insiders are legitimate people within the organisation.

"They often have authorised access to areas, and therefore there needs to be a holistic approach to how we can try and mitigate the threat from malicious actions.

"Understanding the demographics of an insider, and what motivates an insider, and why they would become motivated, once you understand that, organisations can carry out risk assessments to mitigate that.

"Insiders tend to be created once they are within an organisation. They don't often go into an organisation to be an insider, as a general rule. That can come from a variety of different reasons and motivating factors, but either way the same mitigation measures need to apply.

For example background checks on individuals before they come into an organisation, and maintaining those background checks whilst they are there is vital.

"The good thing about the NHS is they have a good relationship with local police forces."

In the days after David Fuller pled guilty to his offences Health Secretary Sajid Javid launched an independent Inquiry.

What will the inquiry probe?

  • It is set to help understand how these offences took place without detection in the trust;

  • Identify any areas where early action by the trust was necessary;

  • And consider the "national implications" of the offences, including for the NHS.

The inquiry will be split into two parts, an interim report to be published early in the new year and a second final report looking at the broader national picture and wider lessons for the NHS.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has also said that sentences for necrophilia must “match the level of outrage and trauma” the crime causes.

But families of Fuller's victims have called for a full public inquiry. This would have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence and the families feel, give them a greater voice in the proceedings.

Lawyer Ben Davey, of Brighton firm Dean Wilson, says the families of the victims deserve to have a central voice in any investigation.

He has also called on the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to fund the families legal fees.

  • Ben Davey, Dean Wilson Solicitors:

He continued, "The families are in this position through no choice of their own, they are all blameless parties here.

"They need some legal representation to help them through this inquiry and their position is they believe the NHS should pay for their costs of being represented."

What did Fuller reveal about how how he carried out his crimes?

Fuller worked at two Kent hospitals, first at the Kent and Sussex Hospital from 1989 until it closed in September 2011. Then at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury, where the offences continued until his arrest in 2020.

Kent Police have released footage from Fuller’s police interview regarding the mortuary offences.

Admitting the sexual assault of corpses in the mortuary, Fuller told police: “I want to admit…I am admitting the offences but I don’t really want to go into detail.”

  • Watch Kent Police confront and arrest David Fuller at his home:

Fuller, sitting at a table wearing a blue jumper, dark face mask and glasses, was asked what offences he was admitting and he said: “As you’ve just described to me.”

The interviewer replied: “In terms of the sexual penetration of corpses.”

Fuller replies “yes” in the middle of the response.

The predator's shocking crimes were only discovered after he was arrested for the 1987 “bedsit murders” of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in December last year following a DNA breakthrough.

Investigators have so far detected around 100 potential victims, of which they know the names of 78.

Fuller said in police interview that he did not know how many times it happened.

He was asked if he had recorded himself sexually penetrating corpses and he replied: “I admit the offences.”

Wendy Knell

Asked what he retained the recordings for, Fuller said “I don’t know”, and asked if it was for “further sexual pleasure”, he said “no”.

Fuller was asked if he knew why he started, and he said “no”, and said he could not remember the first time.

Caroline Pierce

He said he recorded the names and ages of his victims, and asked why he recorded what was going on, Fuller said: “I don’t know why.”

Fuller was asked where he stored the images and video from the mortuary offences and he said: “On the storage device that you found.”

Asked to be more specific, Fuller said on an “external drive”.

Police officers discovered hard drives containing video and photographs of Fullers abuse of female bodies

Hard drives that were attached to the back of a chest of drawers in Fuller’s office were discovered during the search of his home.

The CPS said Fuller had four million images of sexual abuse.

While most of these were downloaded from the internet, they revealed Fuller had also recorded himself abusing bodies over the course of his employment at the hospitals.