Hospital Electrician Committed Offences At Kent And Sussex Hospital And Tunbridge Wells Hospital
Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are representing families of victims whose bodies were abused by hospital electrician David Fuller.
On 5 November 2021, Fuller pleaded guilty to the murder of two women in the 1980s, and guilty to necrophilia offences in mortuaries at the Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital. On 15 November 2021, he was sentenced to a whole life jail term for murder and a further 12 years for mortuary offences.
It’s been established that during the course of his employment as a hospital electrician, between 2008 and 2020, Fuller sexually assaulted up to 100 female bodies in hospital mortuaries controlled by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. Fuller’s offences relate to children and adults between the ages of 9 and 100 years old.
Initially, the Trust set up its own internal investigation into how Fuller had been able to commit such crimes in their mortuary. However, on 8 November 2021, the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced in the House of Commons that there would be a full, independent Inquiry into the mortuary crimes.
Sallie Booth and Katie Thumwood, specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, are representing families of the victims of David Fuller’s mortuary offences.
Expert Opinion“Whilst it is reassuring that the Health Secretary has replaced the Trust’s internal investigation with the pledge of an independent Inquiry, it remains to be seen whether the current proposals will in fact satisfy the assurances given to the families of Fuller’s victims and whether they will receive the answers and the acknowledgement of accountability they deserve. It is apparent that the intention of the Health Secretary is that the “new and independent Inquiry” is proposed to be a continuation of the Trust’s own internal Inquiry, to be chaired by Sir Johnathan Michael, who has worked for the NHS for a number of years, including as chief executive for three NHS Trusts. Sir Johnathan Michael had been appointed as Chair of the Trust’s internal investigation prior to the Health Secretary’s announcement. It is understandable therefore that our clients are questioning the reality of the “independence“ of the Inquiry.
In his announcement, the Health Secretary advised that families of Fuller’s victims would be involved in the considering the terms of reference of the Inquiry. Sadly, two months on from the announcement, our clients have not been approached by Sir Michael for their input on this crucial question. There has been no formal announcement as to whether or not the Inquiry will be a statutory Inquiry with powers to compel witnesses to give evidence, or what evidence will be available to the Inquiry. Our clients are understandably concerned during this distressing time. We have written to the Department of Health on behalf of our clients to express their concerns and await a response."
Sallie Booth - Partner
Nevres Kemal, the mother of one of Fuller’s victims, Azra Kemal, said: “The Health Secretary has made a pledge to the families and we will hold him to that pledge. The families are already distressed, but the proposed Chair of the Inquiry has yet to get in touch with any of those most affected by this scandal. They are Fuller’s victims too. In spite of the assurances given, we haven’t even got to first base yet, after two further months of distress, waiting and wondering. It is not good enough.
“What is a “National” Inquiry if it isn’t a statutory Inquiry? The families need to be considered first and foremost. Having the Trust effectively marking its own homework behind closed doors will singularly fail to achieve that, or indeed fulfil any other purpose.”
An interim report regarding Fuller’s mortuary crimes is expected to be published by the Health Secretary in early 2022.
If you have been affected by the crimes of David Fuller and would like to speak to a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, please contact Sallie Booth (Sallie.Booth@IrwinMitchell.com) or Katie Thumwood (Katie.Thumwood@IrwinMitchell.com) directly. We are committed to supporting our clients through these difficult times.