'Law change needed' following David Fuller's mortuary crimes, says Kent MP

David Fuller was jailed in 2021 for two murders and more than 100 crimes in hospital mortuaries. Credit: Kent Police / library picture

The law against sexually abusing dead bodies is “shockingly inadequate” and needs strengthening, a Kent MP has told the House of Commons.

Conservative former minister and Tunbridge Wells MP, Greg Clark, called for changes to be made following the abuse of bodies by former hospital worker David Fuller.

Mr Clark said the current legislation only covers certain types of sexual assault of dead bodies. A minister at the Ministry of Justice said it is reviewing the maximum penalty and the scope of the law.

Fuller worked in maintenance roles at the former Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital, in Pembury, from 1989. He sexually abused the bodies of 101 women and girls in the hospital mortuaries between 2005 to 2020.

The 69-year-old, from Heathfield in East Sussex, was also convicted in 2021 for the murder of two women in separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells in 1987.

  • Watch: Greg Clark MP told ITV News that "the law is very inadequate"

Mr Clark told the Commons on 21 November: “The current legislation is shockingly inadequate when it comes to the abuse of dead bodies. It covers only penetrative sexual assault, and other acts of sexual assault on dead bodies are not covered by the legislation.

“So will the minister meet with me and [Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford Tracey Crouch] and other colleagues to discuss how we can rectify this in the Criminal Justice Bill that comes before the House?”

Justice minister Laura Farris said in response: “The David Fuller case is appalling and I send my deepest sympathies to the families of his victims.”

She added: “...the offence that he’s referring to is Section 70 of the Sexual Offences Act, and as a result of the David Fuller case, the Ministry of Justice is now reviewing both the maximum penalty and indeed the scope of the law to ensure that what he describes is adequately captured.”

Ms Farris agreed to meet with Kent MPs to discuss the issue.

After the exchanges in Parliament, Mr Clark told ITV News Meridian: “The law is very inadequate. So, with a criminal justice bill before Parliament, starting next week, we want to make sure every one of the depraved acts that Fuller carried out against the bodies of these women and girls is, as it should be and always should have been, a very grave and serious criminal offence.”

The independent inquiry into the issues raised by the David Fuller case is due to publish its first report before the end of the year.

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