After arresting Englishman David Fuller in 2020 for a pair of 1987 murders, police were shocked to find evidence that he had been using his job at a hospital to sexually abuse corpses for years.
Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions and/or images of violent, disturbing, or otherwise potentially distressing events.
In 1987, the English town of Tunbridge Wells, Kent was shaken by two horrific murders that occurred just months apart. An unknown assailant had attacked two young women at their studio apartments, strangled and bludgeoned them to death, and sexually assaulted them. For decades, investigators were baffled by who might’ve committed the “Bedsit murders” — until 2020, when DNA analysis finally led them to David Fuller.
Those who knew Fuller were stunned to learn he was the man behind these brutal murders. At the age of 67, David Fuller was living a quiet life in a quaint cul-de-sac in Heathfield, East Sussex. A father of four who dabbled in innocent hobbies like bird watching and cycling, Fuller was described as a friendly and helpful employee at the hospital where he worked as an electrician.
But that wasn’t the only shocking revelation in the case. Soon, police searching David Fuller’s Sussex home came across a hoard of disturbing images that showed Fuller sexually abusing the corpses of 100 women and children at the hospitals where he worked.
This is the story of David Fuller, the depraved killer who became known as the “Morgue Monster.”
Who Was David Fuller?
David Fuller was born September 4, 1954, and grew up in Portsmouth on the south coast of England. As an adult, he worked as an electrician at multiple different hospitals around Kent and Sussex, was married three times, and had four children from his different marriages.
Known as a hard worker and friendly staff member at the hospitals he worked at, Fuller seemed to be an ordinary man living a quiet life, enjoying innocent hobbies like cycling, birdwatching, and photography.
But there were early hints that something darker was brewing beneath the surface. In 1973 and 1977, Fuller was convicted of a series of home burglaries referred to as “creeper burglaries” in which he broke into houses through rear windows. But he never served jail time.
The “Bedsit Murders” Of Wendy Knell And Caroline Pierce
In 1987, 25-year-old Wendy Knell was living alone in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The BBC reports she had recently moved there after a failed marriage. Knell was independent, hardworking, and hoped to have children someday. She first crossed paths with David Fuller while working as manager of a SupaSnaps photo store, where Fuller, an avid photographer, often took his photos in to be developed, according to the Evening Standard.
Then, on June 23, 1987, Knell was found dead in her bed, naked and covered in blood. Detectives determined she had been sexually assaulted — possibly after she was already dead.
Just a few months later, Kent was rocked by another terrifying murder.
Caroline Pierce, 20, had also lived alone in Tunbridge Wells. She worked at Buster Browns, a local restaurant — and later, entries in Fuller’s diary would reveal Fuller had visited that exact restaurant a number of times.
On Nov. 24, 1987, neighbors reported hearing screams just outside the front door of Pierce’s apartment building. She was found dead in a ditch three weeks later, nearly 40 miles from her home, wearing only a pair of tights. Her injuries were similar to Knell’s, leading police to suspect a double homicide by the same perpetrator.
Because both women had lived in “bedsits,” or studio apartments in Tunbridge Wells, the crimes were soon dubbed the “Bedsit Murders.” For years, the perpetrator got away with it — but DNA he left behind would be his downfall decades later.
A Crucial Breakthrough In The “Morgue Monster” Case
In 2007, detectives reached a breakthrough in the Bedsit Murders case, thanks to improvements in DNA technology. After reviewing DNA found at both crime scenes, they were able to create a DNA profile for the perpetrator, making it easier to narrow down suspects.
“One day someone’s going to ring that door and say: ‘We’ve caught him,'” Wendy Knell’s father told the BBC at the time, “and there will be a celebration, by God there will be, especially if he goes down for a very, very long time.”
In the years that followed, further developments in technology made it easier for detectives to not only extract DNA, but to match it using “familial DNA,” which allows investigators to determine whether someone else in their database is related to an individual whose DNA was extracted from a crime scene.
In 2020, detectives found someone whose DNA was a close partial match to the Bedsit Murderer’s and lived near where the crimes took place: one of David Fuller’s siblings.
Police had closed in on David Fuller at last. On December 3, 2020, LBC reports, police arrived at the quiet cul-de-sac in Heathfield, East Sussex, where Fuller was living with his third wife and a teenage son, and arrested him for the murders of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce.
Kent police sampled Fuller’s DNA — and it matched DNA from semen extracted from Pierce’s tights.
They also searched his Sussex home and found even more evidence implicating him in the crimes, including diary entries and SupaSnaps photo sleeves connecting him to the murdered women, and a photo of Fuller in which the soles of his shoes match a print left at the scene of Knell’s murder.
More than 30 years after Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce were murdered, it seemed their killer would finally see justice.
But that wasn’t all police found in Fuller’s home.
The Horrific Crimes Of David Fuller
After Fuller’s arrest, the detectives came across “a library of unimaginable sexual depravity,” in the form of a hoard of printed photographs and thousands of USBs and floppy discs, all full of photos and videos depicting sexual abuse, including child pornography. Police found a whopping 4 million disturbing images of this kind. Most had come from the internet. But then, detectives came across a collection of horrifying images Fuller had taken himself.
“Are these ones he’s taken?” one officer asked at the time, as reported by LBC.
“Why do they look… dead?” another officer said.
The images showed Fuller sexually abusing the corpses of dozens of women and girls at the hospitals Fuller had worked at from 1989 until his 2020 arrest.
Police soon found that as an electrician, Fuller had key card access to the hospitals’ morgues, where he could let himself in after the other hospital staff had gone home. Fuller also knew where security cameras were, and could perform these acts out of their line of sight — but fatefully recorded them on his own camera.
The police also found a black book in which they said he wrote down his victims’ names. Some victims, it appeared, he visited repeatedly. Soon, this shocking evidence, paired with the evidence Fuller had committed the Bedsit crimes, painted a picture of a man obsessed with abuse, rape, murder, and necrophilia.
“I’m not insane,” Fuller told officers during interview. “I may have some sort of residual personality problems, which you know I’ve gone a completely almost Christian life and a deadliest life altogether at the same time with no crossovers… It’s just two different personalities.”
David Fuller, “The Monster In The Morgue,” Finally Faces Justice
Initially, David Fuller denied that he was responsible for the Bedsit Murders, claiming “diminished responsibility” due to an unstable mental state. On the fourth day of his trial, however, he switched to plead guilty as the evidence against him stacked up.
In December 2021, Fuller was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murders of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce. He was given an additional 12 years for the mortuary crimes.
After the conviction, investigators managed to identify at least 101 mortuary victims, ranging in age from children below 18 to women up to 100 years old.
During his sentencing hearing, the mother of one of these victims, a nine-year-old girl, addressed Fuller directly.
“You raped my baby,” she said, according to the Daily Mail. “She couldn’t say no to the dirty 66-year-old man who was abusing her body. I feel guilty I left her there. I will not enjoy my life again. This unnatural sick pain I will never get over.”
The judge had similarly harsh words for David Fuller, the “Monster in the Morgue.”
“You became a vulture,” she said, “picking your victims from among the dead within the hidden world of hospital mortuaries which you were free to inhabit simply because you had a swipe card… The depravity of what you did reveals your conscience is seared.”
After reading about David Fuller, the “Morgue Monster,” read about Sada Abe, the woman who murdered her lover and took his “tool” as a keepsake. Then, read about deranged murderer Ed Kemper, the “Co-Ed-Killer” who raped the corpses of his victims.