Inquiry into David Fuller’s abuse should be a full inquiry under the Inquiries Act, says lawyer
Human rights lawyer and inquiries specialist Emma Jones considers issues raised by the David Fuller mortuary abuse case.
Posted on 01 April 2022
As an abuse in healthcare settings claims specialist who also heads up a legal campaign on behalf of a number of families looking into deaths at Gosport Hospital , the issues raised by the David Fuller case are of particular interest.
Fuller was jailed for life for the murders of Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce in separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells in 1987. During the trial at Maidstone Crown Court it emerged that the former hospital electrician had committed horrific abuses of corpses in Kent morgues over a 12-year period for which crimes he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
An independent inquiry was launched into the mortuary abuse in November 2021 to understand how Fuller was able to carry out his crimes undetected, and to examine the "national implications" of his offences.
For the families who discovered that their loved ones had been subjected to such horrific abuse following their deaths, news of an inquiry that would hopefully find out how such crimes could have been committed in a hospital of all places would have been welcome.
Unfortunately it seems to me the inquiry that has been instigated is not sufficient for the task and I have seen reports that the families feel similarly.
The mechanics of the inquiry leave much to be desired. To really get to the bottom of how something appalling like this could have happened the inquiry should be a full inquiry under the Inquiries Act to ensure that lessons are learnt.
It has also become clear that initial proposals about compensation appear to relate to fixed sums for each individual concerned. The suggestion of a fixed figure is not ideal because what happened to these poor individuals happened to them on an individual basis and they suffered individual atrocities, which should be looked at on an individual basis.
Similarly, an inquiry will look at the overarching issues, but will probably not dig down into individual issues. To help families achieve closure or to feel some sense of justice, if that is possible, they deserve to have the facts of what happened to their loved one looked at on an individual basis.
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