Father of David Fuller’s first victim ‘tried to cope’ before dying without justice

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It has taken more than three decades to snare evil bedsit killer David Fuller, but sadly his first victim’s dad died without seeing justice.

The 67-year-old monster was on the fourth day of his trial when he dramatically changed his plea and admitted the murder of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce.

Wendy, 25, was murdered on or about June 22, 1987, and Caroline, 20, died on or about November 24, 1987.

After Fuller pleaded guilty it emerged that the necrophiliac double killer sexually abused at least 98 dead women and girls in hospitals where he worked as an electrician.

Bill Knell, the dad of Fuller’s victim Wendy, sadly died from cancer in 2017, meaning he never got to see justice.

The heartbroken dad gave an exclusive interview to The Mirror in 2012 where he spoke about the devastation of losing his middle child.

He spoke out ahead of the 25th anniversary of Wendy’s death, saying the tragedy had driven a wedge between him and his wife Pam as they struggled to come to terms with their loss.

Mr Knell, who also has a daughter and son, told The Mirror: “It’s driven us apart as man and wife.

“My wife can’t bear me near her. She’s afraid of anything physical.

“If I put my arm round her, she’ll say, ‘Don’t do that’.

“Before we had the perfect life but from that day it’s just a stressful life. You just go from day to day and try to cope.”

He also revealed Mrs Knell had become afraid and anxious when out in public.

“I had just turned 50 when we lost Wendy and everybody told me my life was going to begin – but it ended,” he said.

Saying that he felt renewed hope his daughter’s killer would be caught, he added: “Things wouldn’t get a lot easier but we could sleep easy because of where he is, hopefully locked up for life.”

At the time of the interview Caroline’s parents were living in Spain.

They were supportive of the work being done to find their daughter’s killer but did not want to take part in any media publicity because of their family’s anguish.

Fuller had battered both his victims around the head, asphyxiated and sexually assaulted them in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

The following year he got a job at the Kent and Sussex hospital when he failed to disclose his burglary convictions, sources said.

He again declared he had no convictions in 2002, but was finally exposed 13 years later, while working as a contractor at the Tunbridge Wells hospital.

Fuller was forced to have a criminal record check for the first time in early 2015 following revelations Jimmy Savile had sexually assaulted patients for decades across the NHS.

It emerged Fuller had convictions for a string of burglaries in the 1970s that he had previously lied about, a source said.

But he was allowed to continue working with an “access all areas” hospital swipe card.

He was arrested for the murders after detectives looked into the cases again.

Thanks to DNA advances, Fuller’s brother was found to be a partial match.

During a dawn raid at the home the hoarder shared with his wife in Heathfield, Sussex, detectives found a box of hard drives containing a “library of unimaginable sexual depravity”.

This included 100,000 images and videos he had taken of himself abusing the corpses.

The known offences took place between 2008 and November 2020 at the Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Chief Supt Paul Fotheringham, of Kent Police, said: “What we found were some really distressing images of David Fuller carrying out offences in a mortuary.

“We genuinely believe that it’s unprecedented in the UK, there’s nothing we have ever seen like this.”

Wendy Knell outside Maidstone Crown Court
Senior Crown Prosecutor Libby Clark said: “The case of David Fuller is the most disturbing and challenging case personally that I have ever been involved with.

“As well as the horrific abuse of trust, you have heard of his employment and his prolific offending against dead women on a scale that we have never seen before.

“I do find it almost unbelievable to be perfectly honest that we have a case of this nature.”

The dad-of-three faces a whole-life term when he is sentenced.