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How did David Fuller get away with his terrible crimes?

A low-lit hospital reception at night
Image: Unsplash Images

It’s been a touch over 10 years since Jimmy Savile died. Accusations of his offending had bubbled under the surface throughout his career, following his death they erupted into a roar as victims of his heinous crimes lined up to provide graphic accounts of his atrocities: within a year his four grand headstone had been chucked in a landfill leaving Savile to rot into the dirt in an unmarked grave.

How was he able to get away with his crimes for so long, the nation collectively asked? Slowly we began to understand that the answer lay somewhere within a perfect storm of privilege and access, allowing the predator to hide in plain sight, and in the case of David Fuller, it would seem that nothing has been learned.

In December 2020, Fuller, 66, was arrested for the horrific, sexually aggravated, murder of two young women in 1987. The cold case had been solved due to advancements in DNA, and while the families of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce could, finally, begin to grieve for the loss of their loved ones, the police discovered a hidden box behind Fuller’s desk that contained millions of self-shot images and videos, recorded over twelve years, of Fuller molesting female corpses. If that isn’t troubling enough, the fact remains that if it wasn’t for Fuller’s own damning evidence, he never would have been convicted for these unthinkable crimes.

David Fuller was a hospital maintenance supervisor at Tunbridge Wells Hospitals, Kent, England. He had been entrusted a swipe card which allowed him into the post-mortem area which was free of CCTV cameras - somewhat ironically, most hospitals follow a similar policy in order to respect the dignity of the deceased- and the Tunbridge Wells post-mortem area is laid out in such a fashion that a person could gain access to the fridges, in which the bodies were stored. Once inside, he could abuse with impunity and without CCTV evidence there was no record of the frequency of his visits to the post-mortem area, but there were, of course, staff in the area.

The fact he had unchallenged access to this area is another question entirely. According to an HHS Spokesperson, Fuller was highly regarded, he was popular with the staff and always on hand to help, besides, no one would think it strange that a technician was entering an area that contained fridges that required maintenance. And who would have guessed the real shocking reason, this likeable man was spending so much time in the mortuary. Similarly, with the Jimmy Savile case, no one took the suggestion that this highly regarded, charity obsessed celebrity -with connections to the houses of Winsor and parliament no less- was one of the most prodigious sexual predators of our modern age. Sadly, the analogy doesn’t end there either, Savile, like Fuller, had free access to the mortuary at Leeds general infirmary. Unlike Fuller, however, the lewd acts Savile himself claimed to have committed were never consigned to photographs or, at least, none that are known of.

It seems strange to speak of a person such as Fuller as ‘charismatic’ but when you pit that aspect of his personality against almost inconceivable, extreme criminal behaviour, plus the simple act of his profession affording access to hidden areas, may explain why he was able to get away with what he did for so long. Having said that, we’ve heard this story before. Perhaps this time we’ll listen to it properly.