David Fuller inquiry investigates funeral directors and private mortuaries

Fuller sexually abused the bodies of 101 women and girls in Kent hospital mortuaries. Credit: Kent Police / library picture

Funeral directors and private mortuaries are to be investigated by the independent inquiry launched in the wake of the abuse of dead bodies by hospital worker David Fuller.

Inquiry chairman Sir Jonathan Michael said: "We want to hear from funeral directors, and people who work in funeral parlours, private mortuaries and private ambulances.

"We are encouraging people who work in these sectors from across the country to get in touch with us, to share their experiences and help us to understand the current arrangements for the care and protection of the deceased.

"We would also like to hear what more people think should be done to prevent the atrocious crimes that took place in Kent, from ever happening again."

Sir Jonathan was speaking at a press conference this morning to formally mark the beginning of the second phase of the inquiry, which is to run alongside the first phase, due to conclude later this year.

The inquiry has so far focused on Fuller's crimes at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, where he worked for a private contractor in maintenance roles.

WATCH: Inquiry Chairman Sir Jonathan Michael wants to hear from those working in funeral homes, private mortuaries and private ambulance services.

Last month, there was a fresh call for witnesses to come forward who had worked at the old Pembury Hospital, in Tunbridge Wells, and the former Kent and Sussex Hospital from the late 1990s.

Sir Jonathan said that "a number of witnesses" had come forward since that call to action, and that his investigation into these issues is ongoing.

The inquiry’s second phase will look at the broader national picture and the implications for the NHS and for other settings. This work will look at how other sectors currently safeguard the security and dignity of the deceased.

People working for private funeral homes, mortuaries and ambulance services are asked to get in touch with the inquiry team. Credit: Library picture

The National Association of Funeral Directors welcomed the start of Phase Two of the Fuller Inquiry. A spokesperson told ITV News: “We have long been concerned about the lack of oversight of funeral businesses and other organisations which look after or transport deceased people but currently have no scrutiny of standards of care, along with those organisations.

“For this reason, the NAFD particularly welcomes the inquiry's focus on the care of deceased people by direct cremation firms, as well as in local community funeral homes, and hopes this will increase public awareness and understanding.”

David Fuller’s mortuary crimes at Tunbridge Wells Hospital were only discovered when Kent Police detectives identified him as the perpetrator of the murders of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in the town in 1987.

Officers found computer hard drives full of evidence at his home in Heathfield, East Sussex. An examination revealed thousands of images and videos of his abuse of corpses.

Fuller is currently serving two whole-life tariffs for the murders and offences relating to the abuse of 101 corpses in mortuaries between 2005 and 2020.

In November 2021, the then Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced an independent inquiry into the issues raised by the actions of David Fuller. Some victims’ families had called for a judge-led statutory public inquiry, a request refused by the government.

Last December, it was announced that family members whose loved ones were defiled by Fuller will receive compensation of up to £25,000. That scheme has now closed for new applicants.

The David Fuller Inquiry can be contacted via email at contact@fuller.independent-inquiry.uk or telephone on 020 7972 1444.

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