Several MPs and a women’s charity have called for a public inquiry into how David Fuller was able to commit sex attacks against at least 78 victims in mortuaries over more than a decade.
Greg Clark MP for Tunbridge Wells where Fuller committed many of his mortuary crimes and two murders in 1987, told the PA news agency an investigation into whether national policy is “stringent enough” is “the very least” the Government needs to do to give grieving families closure.
The Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ), which has been supporting a mother whose daughter’s body was violated by Fuller at a mortuary, has spoken out about “the pain and the fury” of affected families as it joined calls for the inquiry.
Fuller, 67, pleaded guilty on Thursday to murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in two separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
He had previously admitted to 51 other offences, including 44 charges relating to 78 identified victims in mortuaries where he was working as an electrician.
An independent review at the trust where Fuller worked is under way, but MPs are calling for a wider national review about how he was able to carry out the attacks for so long, Mr Clark said.
He told PA: “It’s beyond the resources and capability of a local NHS trust.
“The questions that are raised include local ones about how this was allowed to happen.
“But there are also national ones as to whether national policy was good enough, was stringent enough, and whether it could have happened in other hospitals across the country.
“The scale of the inquiry, when you have over 100 victims, and very important evidence that needs to be taken from them and others, the local NHS trust doesn’t have the resources and the administration to mount such an inquiry.”
He added: “I think it’s very important for the families.
“While they will be relieved that Fuller is now in jail and is likely to remain so for the rest of his life, they still need answers to the questions of how it was able to happen to their loved ones.
“The very least that we need to do to satisfy them is that we can make sure it never happens again and that other families don’t need to go through what they went through.”
Mr Clark told PA that colleagues including Tom Tugendhat, Nus Ghani, Tracey Crouch, Helen Grant, Helen Whately, Laura Trott and Huw Merriman are also demanding a public inquiry, and No 10 did not rule the possibility out on Friday.
A spokesman for Boris Johnson said: “We’re not ruling it out, but we need to let the investigations that are already under way take place.
“It’s critical that we investigate this case thoroughly to see what lessons can be learned.
“The sickening nature of these crimes is very difficult to comprehend and, while words cannot describe the pain inflicted on these families, the Prime Minister has been profoundly moved by some of the experiences that have been shared.”
Nevres Kemal, whose daughter Azra was sexually assaulted in a mortuary by Fuller, said Fuller entered the morgue and post-mortem examination area thousands of times.
The social worker from north London told Sky News her daughter died after falling from a bridge in Kent in July 2020, and she slept with her body in the mortuary before knowing she had been targeted by Fuller.
She said: “I had spent two hours in the mortuary sleeping with her. And that gave me some sort of comfort.
“Little did I know that my daughter had been violated prior to that day and the evening of that day.
“So, whilst I’m stroking my daughter’s hair, sleeping on her hair, a man had crawled all over her skin. And there’s me kissing and cuddling and saying my last goodbyes.”
The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) said its experts have been “deeply shocked” by Fuller’s crimes, and they will advise the Government on whether changes need to be made to mortuary regulations.
Kent Police said they have received about 80 calls to a helpline set up for anyone with information about the investigation, after it emerged detectives may not have identified all mortuary victims. The contact number is 0800 051 5270.