Families of victims yet to hear from Inquiry team raises concerns about “closed shop” investigation
Families of the victims of double murderer David Fuller, who also filmed himself violating bodies while working in mortuaries as an electrician, say they are concerned that the Department of Health’s Inquiry into what happened is being closed off from them.
David Fuller filmed himself carrying out a series of sexual attacks on dead bodies at mortuaries inside the now closed Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital. Ahead of his murder trial, he pleaded guilty to 51 other offences, including 44 charges relating to 78 identified victims in mortuaries while working as an electrician.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced an independent Inquiry in early November but law firm Irwin Mitchell which represents Nevres Kemal, whose daughter was one of Mr Fuller’s victims, say families are speaking out about the lack of contact with the Inquiry team and say they are concerned about having their voices heard, contrary to the pledge given by the Health Secretary.
Expert Opinion“The families affected by David Fuller’s crimes are simply devastated and disgusted at what has happened and his sentencing gives them little comfort. They want answers and accountability as to how these heinous crimes were able to go on undetected for so long and are worried about the direction the Inquiry is taking.
“The families that we’ve spoken to have yet to be contacted by the Inquiry team and are also worried about its independence as it has apparently been confirmed that it will not be a statutory Inquiry. They just want to make sure that their voice is heard and that any investigation gets to the truth of what happened and who is responsible.
“Sadly this case is reminiscent of the failures established in the Alder Hey Inquiry and its aftermath where it emerged that integral body parts from stillborn and neonatal deceased babies were removed and stored by NHS employees without the knowledge or consent of bereaved families who unwittingly buried their loved ones without vital organs and tissues. Subsequent enquiries established such practice was widespread and had been ongoing for many years.
“It is long overdue for proper respect to be shown for the dead and for the families who loved them and are grieving for them. The authorities have a duty to keep them safe, to fully inform families of any required procedures and the reasons for them and to treat them with respect.
“The families of victims of David Fuller deserve a full, open statutory Inquiry into the practices at the Trust which allowed Fuller to continue with his macabre abuse over so many years, and where in excess of 100 victims were affected. The Inquiry needs re-setting with input from the victims’ families, so that clear terms of reference are agreed with them and a timetable established to ensure that the investigation is open and transparent and capable of answering the many questions raised about how such practices were allowed to continue undetected for so long.”
Sallie Booth - Partner
At the sentencing, the court heard explicit and shocking details of his sexual attacks on dead bodies not previously disclosed.
Nevres Kemal’s daughter Azra died aged 24 after falling from a motorway bridge as she fled from a car that had burst into flames. While her body was held in the Tunbridge Wells Hospital morgue, it was raped on three occasions by hospital electrician Fuller.
Nevres said: “Our loved ones were violated while we were saying our goodbyes and trying to grieve – it’s just horrendous and there needs to be some accountability for what happened. I’m very concerned that the Inquiry will just be a closed shop and we won’t have any input, especially as we haven’t even been contacted yet. We just need answers as to how Fuller was able to get away with so much for so long.”
The Inquiry will be chaired by a former NHS chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael who was also chairing the NHS Trust’s Inquiry. He is expected to report interim findings early in 2022.