Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by the David Fuller case publishes Phase 1 Report – 28 November 2023
On 28 November 2023, Sir Jonathan Michael, Chair of the Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by the actions of David Fuller, published the Phase 1 Report. This phase of the Inquiry has been to establish what happened in the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to allow Fuller to commit such awful crimes and to understand how his offending remained undetected for so long.
The Report makes 17 recommendations with the aim of preventing anything similar happening again in the Trust.
The Report can be accessed here and on gov.uk.
Read the Press Release here.
Read the media statement here.
Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by the David Fuller case launches Phase 2 – 11 July 2023
Statement from Sir Jonathan Michael, Chair of the Inquiry:
“We are making good progress with the first phase of our Inquiry, and so today we are announcing the beginning of the second phase. We have received a wealth of evidence, during the first phase of the Inquiry, which relates specifically to the crimes committed by David Fuller in the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. We are grateful to all the witnesses who have come forward to assist with this stage of the Inquiry, particularly the brave families who have shared their stories.”
“The Inquiry team are keen to keep moving at pace whilst remaining thorough in our work, therefore we are now beginning to look at the broader national picture to understand the procedures and practices across the country which are in place to protect the deceased. For this first module of the second phase of the Inquiry, we want to hear from funeral directors, and people who work in private mortuaries and private ambulances. We are encouraging people who work in these sectors across the country to get in touch with us, to share their experiences and help us to understand what more can be done to prevent these atrocious crimes from ever happening again.”
People working in the traditional and direct funeral sector, private mortuaries and private ambulances, are invited to complete a response form available here by 4pm on Friday 11 August 2023, and returning it to email@example.com or by post to PO Box 910, Leeds, LS1 9WH.
The Inquiry can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0207 972 1444.
Call to action in respect of new information – 15 June 2023
Statement from Sir Jonathan Michael, Chair of the Inquiry:
“Last month, the Inquiry issued an update about investigations we are undertaking, having received new information about allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the mortuary at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in the late 1990s.
To support our ongoing investigations, today I am calling on people to come forward so we can identify staff who worked at the Kent and Sussex Hospital or the old Pembury Hospital from the mid-1990s onwards who may have information that will help us. We would particularly like to speak to people whose job brought them into contact with the mortuary and body stores at the Hospitals, to better understand about workplace conditions and practices at the Hospitals during the mid to late 1990s.
The Inquiry is very appreciative of the many people who have already come forward to support its work, including the families of David Fuller’s victims, and our sincere thanks go to them. We ask that anyone with relevant information comes forward and helps the Inquiry further understand and identify what went wrong and make recommendations to prevent anything similar happening again. This is part of our commitment to leave no stone unturned in our investigation”.
You can contact the Inquiry by emailing email@example.com or by calling 0207 972 1444.
An update on the Inquiry’s progress and the timing of its report on matters relating to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust – 10 May 2023
A spokesperson for the Independent Inquiry said:
“Sir Jonathan Michael, Chair of the Independent Inquiry, has written to all families the Inquiry is in touch with to let them know of new information that has been provided to the Inquiry and referred to Kent Police, in line with the Inquiry’s terms of reference.
Kent Police have completed their enquiries regarding the new information provided to them and have told the Inquiry that they found no evidence of any further criminal offences.
The new information suggests that there may have been inappropriate behaviour in the mortuary at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in the late 1990s. Now that Kent Police have concluded their enquiries, the Inquiry will be investigating this matter further, in line with our terms of reference. These include the assessment of the Trust’s management of the mortuary, including security and access, in order to safeguard the bodies of the deceased. This further investigation means that the Inquiry will now be unable to publish its Phase 1 report before the Autumn.
Fully investigating this new information will help the Inquiry to further understand and identify what went wrong and make recommendations to prevent anything similar happening again.
The Inquiry remains committed to conducting its work in a robust and sensitive manner and continues its work on producing a thorough report to be published as soon as we are able. We will issue further updates in due course.”
Further Charges Relating to Alleged Offences Committed in Mortuaries at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust – 4 October 2022
Statement from Sir Jonathan Michael, Chair of the Inquiry:
“My team and I are aware of the further charges relating to alleged offences committed in mortuaries at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, that have been brought against David Fuller today.
Our investigative and our evidence gathering work is continuing as planned and, as I informed families of the victims recently, we expect to publish our report on matters relating to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in the first half of next year.
The additional charges brought by Kent Police and the Crown Prosecution Service are not currently expected to alter the timeline of our work.”
An update on the Inquiry’s progress and the timing of its report on matters relating to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust – 3 October 2022
Sir Jonathan Michael, Chair of the Independent Inquiry, has written to all families the Inquiry is in touch with, to update them on the Inquiry’s progress so far.
The volume of evidence the Inquiry has and continues to receive, and the number of witnesses to interview, is far greater than anticipated.
In order to ensure all evidence is considered and analysed thoroughly, the Inquiry will therefore require more time than originally planned. Sir Jonathan Michael and his team are committed to being thorough and will balance that with working at pace.
This means that the Inquiry’s initial report on matters relating to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, will now be published in the first half of 2023.
The Inquiry Publishes a progress update 19 May 2022
Today the 19th May 2022, the Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by the David Fuller case has published a progress update.
The Inquiry Publishes its Terms of Reference 23rd February 2022
Today the 23rd February 2022, the Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by the David Fuller case has published its terms of reference.
The Inquiry team sought the views of families affected by the case on a draft of the terms of reference and the final version published today reflects their comments.
Sir Jonathan Michael, Chair of the Inquiry, said:
“On my appointment as Chair, I made the commitment that I would seek the views of the families affected by Fuller’s actions on the Inquiry’s draft terms of reference, to ensure they remain at the heart of this investigation.
All the families who gave consent via Kent Police to be contacted by the Inquiry, or who approached the Inquiry directly to give their consent, were contacted and invited to share their views on our draft terms of reference. I would like to extend my gratitude to families for the considered responses that we received.
Now that the terms of reference have been published, we can begin our work to collect evidence and information both from those who have been affected, and from the organisations involved. We are already in contact with many of them. But I urge anyone else affected by, or with information about, the issues involved in our Inquiry to contact us as soon as possible – your views, experiences and knowledge could be vital to our work.
My team and I are focused on pressing ahead so that families can receive the answers they need and deserve, and changes are made to prevent a recurrence of the atrocities committed by David Fuller.”
Any families who have been affected by the actions of David Fuller and would like to contact the Inquiry can do so via its website www.fuller.independent-inquiry.uk, by email on Contact@fuller.independent-inquiry.uk or by phone on 0207 972 1444. Similarly, the Inquiry asks any former colleagues of Fuller to share with it any information they believe might be helpful to the Inquiry.
Chair’s Opening Statement on 18th January 2022
On 8 November last year, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced an independent inquiry into the issues raised by the actions of David Fuller, the maintenance supervisor who committed sexual offences in the mortuary of the Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital. I accepted the Secretary of State’s invitation to Chair the Inquiry and lead this vital piece of work.
David Fuller was sentenced for his crimes on 15 December 2021 and will, rightly, spend the rest of his life in prison. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb in her sentencing of Fuller remarked that the families of his victims were nauseated and heart-broken by the immorality of his abhorrent acts. She went on to comment that his violations go against everything right and humane and described his crimes as incomprehensible. I commend the courage and dignity of the families of his victims who spoke of the dreadful impact of Fuller’s crimes at his trial.
The Inquiry will be in two parts. The first stage will focus on Fuller’s activities in the Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital. The second part will be to look at the implications of Fuller’s activities and the issues identified in part one, for the country as a whole in order to safeguard the deceased and ensure that Fuller’s horrendous activity cannot be repeated elsewhere.
No-one reading of David Fuller’s acts and the fact that they happened in an NHS Trust’s mortuary can fail to be horrified and distressed by them. Understanding how these offences took place in hospital settings without detection over such a long period of time, will require a focused and detailed approach. I am determined that my team and I will be objective and thorough in all our work. I am equally determined that we will provide an opportunity for those families and staff who have been directly affected by the actions of David Fuller, to share their experiences and information with the Inquiry in ways that are sensitive and supportive. This will be at the heart of how we approach the Inquiry.
We have spent the last few weeks working hard to put foundations in place for the Inquiry. I am pleased to say that those foundations are now in place. On my appointment as Chair, I made the commitment that I would seek the views of the families affected by Fuller’s actions on the Inquiry’s draft terms of reference. Kent Police have now written to the families involved, asking for permission to pass their contact details to the Inquiry, so that we may get in touch to seek their views. I want to assure families that the Inquiry will protect the privacy and the dignity of their loved ones throughout our work.
Any families who have been affected by the actions of David Fuller who want to get in touch with us can do so via our website www.fuller.independent-inquiry.uk, by email on Contact@fuller.independent-inquiry.uk or by phone on 0207 9721444. Similarly, any past or present colleagues of Fuller are encouraged to share any information they think might be helpful to the Inquiry. The information shared with us will help us in our work.
The task my team and I face is challenging but vitally important We are committed to conducting our work with determination and with sensitivity and compassion for all those so horrendously affected.
From tomorrow, I will be writing directly to families who have given their consent to be contacted, and to others who are relevant to our Inquiry. I will be seeking their views on our Terms of Reference.