David Fuller morgue victims’ families legal action against government is rejected

David Fuller
David Fuller preyed on girls' and women's bodies in hospital mortuaries.

An attempt to take legal action against the government over its response to serial killer and morgue predator David Fuller has been rejected.

Judicial Review proceedings were issued by Amanda Miah, whose mother Sonia was abused by Fuller in Tunbridge Wells Hospital's mortuary.

The bid was also backed by three law firms representing dozens of families affected.

Ms Miah began the proceedings on behalf of several families whose loved ones' bodies were abused by David Fuller, who were also unhappy with the official inquiry ordered by ministers.

However the application for judicial review was refused by the High Court, ITV News Meridian has been told by lawyers involved. They were informed of the decision in writing yesterday (5 April).

Fuller was jailed for life in December 2021, for beating and strangling Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, to death before sexually assaulting them in two separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1987.

  • Amanda Miah, speaking in February, was leading the judicial review bid. 

67-year-old Fuller, formerly from Heathfield, East Sussex, was also given concurrent sentences totalling 12 years, over the abuse of women's and girls' bodies in mortuary settings at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital and the former Kent and Sussex Hospital.

His mortuary victims included a nine-year-old girl, two 16-year-olds and a woman aged 100.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that he would assemble an “independent inquiry” to investigate the wider circumstances of Fuller's offending at the end of last year.

Speaking in the House of Commons last November, Mr 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.”

Sonia Miah, pictured on her wedding day and in later life with her daughter Amanda, died in 2018. Credit: Family handout

But many of the families of Fuller's victims were extremely unhappy with how the independent inquiry had progressed to date, and the fact the chairman, Sir Jonathan Michael, is a former NHS manager. 

Amanda Miah was among those who was calling for a full judge-led statutory public inquiry, with the power to call witnesses and with evidence sessions held in public.

The failed attempt in the courts to force ministers to give the inquiry more powers means the likelihood of any change to its legal footing is now slim.

The ongoing independent inquiry is due to publish its first report into exactly how David Fuller was able to get away with his appalling crimes at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, later this year.

A spokesperson for the inquiry said they had 'no comment' to make on the latest legal developments.