Family members able to apply for compensation after hospital worker abused more than 100 corpses

The family members of the victims of a hospital worker who abused more than 100 corpses will be able to apply for compensation of up to £32,500.

David Fuller, 68, was handed a whole life sentence in 2021 for the murders of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1987.

The electrician also filmed himself abusing corpses, including a nine-year-old girl and a 100-year-old woman, in hospital morgues over 12 years before his arrest in December 2020, a court heard.

Fuller had pleaded guilty to sexual offences against 78 deceased females at mortuaries in Tunbridge Wells Hospital and at the former Kent and Sussex Hospital between 2008 and 2020.

In November this year, Fuller admitted sexually abusing another 23 women’s corpses in hospital mortuaries, bringing the total to 101.

Close family members related to Fuller’s victims are now able to claim for psychiatric trauma and any financial losses caused by his actions.

The scheme will be administered by NHS Resolution on behalf of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

More than 90 claimants have already come forward but all eligible family members can apply.

The scheme operates on a tiered approach, with three levels of compensation available to the family members of the victims.

All qualifying members will receive at least £7,500 with the ability to claim an additional £5,000 to £25,000 for psychiatric trauma.

The third tier relates to financial losses, the department of health and social care has said.

An independent inquiry, announced in November 2021 and led by Sir Jonathan Michael, aims to understand how Fuller was able to operate undetected, examine the national implications of his actions and, to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

The inquiry is ongoing with a report on the trust expected to be published next year.

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David Fuller: The murderer and the mortuary

Senior Chartered Legal Executive Ben Davey, who represents the families, said: “It is a national scandal that David Fuller was able to perpetuate his offences on NHS property over such a long period of time. The families of each of the victims have had a difficult enough time as it is grieving for the death of a loved one.

“They have then had the additional trauma on top of this of learning that their family member’s corpse was abused whilst under the care of the NHS.

“I am pleased that this compensation scheme that has been agreed recognises that payments must be made to the family members, and makes appropriate provision for psychological treatment where it is reasonably required.”

Maria Caulfield, the minister for women, added: “My sincerest sympathies are with the families of all the victims of David Fuller. These were horrific events and the independent inquiry we have launched will help ensure this never happens again.

“Today is an important step and families will benefit from what has been announced today.

“Thank you to NHS Resolution, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and the families’ representatives for your collaboration in developing this compensation scheme.”

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