How Bedsit killer was caught – and chilling coincidence that led to his arrest

How Bedsit killer was caught – and chilling coincidence that led to his arrest

A hospital electrician who thought he had got away with two murders and the sexual assault of dozens of corpses for three decades was caught after a chilling coincidence.

David Fuller got away with his despicable crimes until cold-case detectives carried out a review of the national DNA database.

He was convicted of what became known as the ‘Bedsit Murders’ after police linked crime scene DNA to his brother.

Detectives found that his brother’s DNA partially matched samples taken in 1987 – this led them to Fuller himself, who was a billion to one match.

David Fuller will now spend the rest of his life in jail after admitting both killings midway through a trial.

Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, both from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, were both beaten and fatally strangled.

Shop manager Ms Knell was found dead at her flat in June 1987, while Ms Pierce’s naked body was found in a field three weeks later by a farm worker at Romney Marsh, 40 miles away.

The infamous case became known as the ‘Bedsit Murders’ because both women lived alone in flats.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court last week heard that Fuller had “depraved sexual predilections” and had attacked corpses for an “extended period of time” at the hospitals where he worked.

He was an electrician at the Kent and Sussex Hospital from 1989, before moving to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital in 2010, the court heard.

Fuller’s family home in Heathfield, East Sussex, was raided in the early hours of December 3, 2020.

DS Ivan Beasley spoke about breaking news of the arrest to Wendy and Caroline’s families.

He added: “It was real, genuine shock. They had thought this day would never come.

“Clearly it has brought back a huge amount of emotion, trauma and grief.”

Arresting officer DI Garry Cook added: “I don’t think he was surprised, there was no obvious denial.”

Following Fuller’s arrest he was found to match a bloody fingerprint on a Millets bag found in Wendy’s bed.

Detectives also worked with Clarks footwear archivists to identify a footprint in blood as belonging to a ‘Sportstrek’ trainer.

Pictures in Fuller’s family album showed him wearing these shoes during the 70s and 80s.

Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, said that evidence found during a search of Fuller’s home showed that he had taken images of women’s corpses in the mortuaries of Kent and Sussex hospital and Tunbridge Wells hospital.

It showed that Fuller had a “particular interest” in the sexual assault of dead women.

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

“His desire for sexual gratification through the observation and identification of vulnerable women, gaining control of them, and then indulging his depraved sexual predilections in relation to them, all provides the explanation in relation to their murder.

“It follows that he is responsible for the killing of these young women and then sexually assaulting their bodies after their deaths.”

Police also said Fuller had often visited Romney March, Kent, where Caroline’s body was found dumped in a ditch.

He travelled to the area to spot birds and also with his cycling club.

Sentencing for the two murders and sexual offences at two hospital mortuaries will take place at a later date.

MPs in areas where hospital electrician David Fuller carried out sex attacks on corpses in mortuaries are calling for a public inquiry, according to Greg Clark, the Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells.

Mr Clark told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that an NHS investigation is “not sufficient”.

“There’s never been a case in Britain in which the number and the scale of the abuse of dead bodies has been revealed in this way and it raises such important questions as to the security of mortuaries for every hospital in the country,” he said.

“I do think it’s now necessary, as well as obviously seeing Fuller go to jail for what I hope will be the rest of his life, that we move on to ask serious questions as to how this could have happened and we establish that it can never happen again.”

Mr Clark said that he, along with neighbouring MPs, has written to the Health Secretary and Home Secretary to ask that an inquiry be set up “without delay”.

Fuller admitted murdering and then sexually assaulting two women decades before carrying out dozens of attacks in mortuaries.