David Fuller: Electrician accused of double murder ‘sexually assaulted dead bodies in mortuaries’, court hears

An electrician accused of murdering two women more than 30 years ago sexually assaulted dead bodies in the mortuaries of hospitals he worked at, a court has heard.

David Fuller is standing trial at Maidstone Crown Court in Kent accused of the murders of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in 1987.

Both women were found naked and had been struck on the head, asphyxiated and sexually assaulted after their deaths, the jury was told.

Fuller, 67, admits killing the women but denies murder, claiming he was suffering from “abnormality of mind” at the time, the court heard.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said Fuller had a “particular interest in the sexual assault of dead women”.

The defendant sexually assaulted corpses in the mortuaries of Kent and Sussex hospital and Tunbridge Wells hospital where he worked, the jury was told.

After his arrest in December, police uncovered hard drives and images hidden at his home which showed that over “an extended period of time” he used his access to the mortuary “to carry out acts of sexual penetration of female corpses”, the court heard.

The prosecutor said: “The defendant’s clear sexual interest in such bizarre and grossly repellent activity provides a unique and terrible link between him and the treatment of the bodies of those who were killed, and thus with Wendy and Caroline’s deaths.”

Fuller had previous convictions for burglary, and the prosecution suggested he used those skills to access the homes of 25-year-old Ms Knell and Ms Pierce, who was 20.

Mr Atkinson told the court: “There was no connection when they were alive between Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce – what links these two women is the circumstances and manner by which they died.”

Ms Knell was found dead in her apartment in Tunbridge Wells in June 1987, before Ms Pierce was killed in the same town in November that year.

Neighbours described hearing screams from Ms Pierce’s flat on the night of her death.

Her naked body was later discovered in a water-filled dyke at St Mary-in-the-Marsh, near New Romney in Kent, in December 1987.

DNA evidence from both women’s bodies linked Fuller to their deaths, the court heard.

Fuller initially denied that he had killed the women following his arrest but, after learning of the DNA evidence, he changed his plea to that of one of diminished responsibility, the jury was told.

“His account has now changed,” said Mr Atkinson.

“He now asserts he was suffering from an abnormality of mind.”

The court heard there were reports of “prowler activity” in the lead up to both killings, with local women reporting a voyeur looking through their windows.

Mr Atkinson said that the prosecution’s case is that Fuller killed and sexually assaulted Ms Knell and Ms Pierce to satisfy his desire.

Fuller’s claim that he was suffering an “abnormality of mind” when he killed both women was an example of “his attempts to avoid the consequences of his actions by any means”, the prosecutor added.

Mr Atkinson said there was no evidence of Fuller suffering from mental health problems until 2010, when the defendant complained of feeling depressed over pain in his legs.

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