An independent inquiry into how convicted killer and necrophiliac David Fuller was able to carry out his appalling crimes will analyse the use of swipe cards to gain access to hospital mortuaries and the monitoring of CCTV cameras.
Fuller was jailed for life in December after being convicted of killing two women in 1987 and preying upon the bodies of at least 102 women and girls aged between nine and 100 in hospital morgues.
The 67-year-old, formerly from Heathfield, worked as a maintenance supervisor at the Kent and Sussex Hospital until it closed, then at Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury.
He abused the dead bodies of women and girls for more than a decade.
Today (23 February) the Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by the case set out its terms of reference, and confirmed it will examine what access David Fuller was given to the mortuary and other areas of the Trust.
It will also look at whether appropriate supervision was given and at analysis of swipe card activity within hospital settings.
Chair of the inquiry, Sir Jonathan Michael, said families of the victims have been asked for their views on the terms of reference.
Sir Jonathan Michael said: “On my appointment as Chair, I made the commitment that I would seek the views of the families affected by Fuller’s actions on the inquiry’s draft terms of reference, to ensure they remain at the heart of this investigation.
"All the families who gave consent via Kent Police to be contacted by the inquiry, or who approached the inquiry directly to give their consent, were contacted and invited to share their views on our draft terms of reference.
"I would like to extend my gratitude to families for the considered responses that we received.
He added, "Now that the terms of reference have been published, we can begin our work to collect evidence and information both from those who have been affected, and from the organisations involved.
"We are already in contact with many of them.
"But I urge anyone else affected by, or with information about, the issues involved in our inquiry to contact us as soon as possible – your views, experiences and knowledge could be vital to our work.
"My team and I are focused on pressing ahead so that families can receive the answers they need and deserve, and changes are made to prevent a recurrence of the atrocities committed by David Fuller.”
Phase one of the inquiry, which is due to be completed by the middle of this year, will also review any evidence of complaints, concerns or incidents concerning Fuller's behaviour at the Trust, and how they were addressed by the Trust and his private sector employers.
It will also examine the way mortuary access and security was managed to protect the bodies of the deceased, and whether the way post mortem examinations were arranged was satisfactory.
Phase 2 will look at wider lessons for the NHS and other organisations nationally - it will report back by the middle of 2023.It will look at the role of regulators and also how bodies are kept safe by private funeral homes, the ambulance service, medical schools and hospices.
Announcing the “independent inquiry” on 8 November 2021, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Today I can announce that I am replacing the trust investigation with an independent inquiry.
“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.”
Today's release of details of the inquiry come just weeks after solicitors representing dozens of families whose loved ones were victims announced they are taking the government to court over the tragedy.
Three law firms have jointly begun Judicial Review proceedings calling for a full judge-led inquiry, with sessions held in public and the power to call witnesses.
They say it’s the only way to see that justice is done and begin to restore public confidence in the health service.
Any families who have been affected by the actions of David Fuller and would like to contact the Inquiry can do so via its website www.fuller.independent-inquiry.uk, by email on Contact@fuller.independent-inquiry.uk or by phone on 0207 972 1444.