Britain on Monday announced an independent inquiry into the how a hospital electrician, who has admitted murdering two women in 1987, was able to sexually violate dozens of corpses in mortuaries.
David Fuller admitted strangling 25-year-old Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce, 20, in two separate attacks months apart in Kent, southeast England, prosecutors said.
During court proceedings last week, it was revealed Fuller, 67, went on to desecrate the corpses of at least 99 women and girls in hospital mortuaries where he was working as an electrician.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs on Monday the he was replacing the local health trust probe with a national independent inquiry, calling the offences “shocking and depraved”.
“It will help us understand how these offences took place without detection in the past, identify any areas where early action by this trust was necessary and then consider wider national issues, including for the NHS,” he said.
“We have a responsibility to everyone affected by these shocking crimes to do right by those we’ve lost and those still left behind in their shock and their grief.”
Jonathan Michael, an experienced chief executive in the state-run National Health Service (NHS) and fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, will lead the inquiry.
Fuller’s victims included three children under the age of 18 and others older than 85, between 2008 and 2020.
Police who searched his home last year found he had filmed himself carrying out the attacks at the two mortuaries where he had worked in electrical maintenance roles since 1989.
Officers only discovered his crimes after Fuller was arrested for the 1987 murders following a DNA breakthrough.
Ahead of trial for the twin killings, Fuller admitted 51 other offences, including 44 charges relating to 78 identified victims in mortuaries, according to the Crown Prosecution Service, which brings prosecutions in England and Wales.
Investigators have so far detected 99 potential victims, of which they know the names of 78.
The offences include the sexual penetration of a corpse, possessing an extreme pornographic image involving sexual interference with a corpse, and taking indecent images of children.
The evidence found dates back to 2008 – when digital camera devices were becoming more widespread – but police believe the true scale of his offending may never be known.
Senior CPS prosecutor Libby Clark said the extent of his necrophilia crimes appeared unprecedented.
“I have never come across anything like it – the numbers, the nature of offending – and I don’t know anybody who has, be they police or other prosecutors,” she said.