Man accused of 1987 murders 'regularly cheated on wife', court hears 

Hospital electrician accused of 1987 violent murder of two women ‘had a roving eye and regularly cheated on his wife’, but former lover says he was ‘normal, loving man’ who treated her well, court hears

  • David Fuller accused of killing Wendy Knell, 25, and 20-year-old Caroline Pierce
  • He is accused of murdering them in separate attacks in Tunbridge Wells in 1987
  • Trial at Maidstone Crown Court heard today Fuller regularly cheated on his wife
  • WARNING: This article contains information some people may find distressing 
  • Hospital electrician David Fuller had ‘a roving eye’ and regularly cheated on his wife, a murder jury has heard today.

    The three-times married pensioner and unofficial photographer for 80s band Cutting Crew was said to have flirted with his sister-in-law not long after he married and had an affair with a colleague.

    Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, also heard the couple had a volatile relationship, and his then wife Sally was seen with bruising.

    But a former lover told police he was ‘a normal, loving man’ and never violent or kinky.

    Fuller, 67, is on trial for beating, asphyxiating and sexually assaulting two young women just five months apart in 1987.

    The court also previously heard police found evidence that he had defiled female corpses in a hospital morgue.

    The deaths of Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, were dubbed the ‘Bedsit Murders’ and became one of the UK’s longest unsolved double homicide cases.

    Both women lived alone in ground-floor flats just a mile apart in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and worked in the town but did not know each other.

    Miss Knell was found dead in her bloodstained bed on the morning of June 23, 1987, and Miss Pierce went missing after being dropped off by a taxi outside her home on November 24 that year.

    David Fuller is accused of murdering both Wendy Knell, 25, and 20-year-old Caroline Pierce

    David Fuller is accused of murdering both Wendy Knell, 25, and 20-year-old Caroline Pierce

    The court heard she had spent the evening with a colleague watching a video of the movie ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ before they went for a drink in the town.

    Her body, naked apart from a pair of tights, was found in a water-filled dyke of a field 38 miles away in St Mary-in-the-Marsh, Kent, three weeks later.

    Both Miss Knell and Miss Pierce had been battered to the head with a blunt, heavy object, asphyxiated by a ligature or armlock, and sexually assaulted at the point of death or afterwards.

    Fuller, a hospital electrician from Heathfield, East Sussex, was arrested and charged with their murders in December last year following a breakthrough in DNA evidence.

    The court heard that hidden in his loft was ‘a library of unimaginable sexual depravity’ of videos and images showing him sexually abusing female corpses of varying ages and over an extended period in the mortuaries at the Kent and Sussex Hospital and the Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

    He has admitted killing Miss Knell and Miss Pierce but denies their murders on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

    On day three of his trial, jurors heard Fuller followed Cutting Crew, whose greatest hit was Died in your Arms, around the country on tour with his then wife, Sally.

    They did not have children, said to be Fuller’s choice, but shared a passion for cycling, birdwatching and photography.

    Pictured: Wendy Knell was found dead at her bedsit in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in June 1987

     Pictured: Wendy Knell was found dead at her bedsit in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in June 1987

    But the jury heard how Mrs Fuller was ‘sick and tired’ of him looking at other women.

    On one occasion Mrs Fuller, described as ‘quite naive’, was seen with a black eye and bruising from where it was said her husband had kicked her.

    His sister-in-law, Julie Staples, also told the court that Fuller tried to flirt with her not long after he married and despite being a quiet person could be ‘verbally angry’.

    But a nurse he had an affair with from 1990, having met at a Kent and Sussex Hospital social club, told police he was ‘a normal, loving man’ neither kinky, violent or sexually demanding.

    In a statement read to the court, Susan Marjoram said: ‘I thought he was serious about us. We would meet at the social club and he would come back to my address and we were intimate.

    ‘He never stayed the night and although we had sex there was never anything kinky. 

    ‘He was a normal, loving man, he wasn’t violent, he wouldn’t shout at me, he was never sexually demanding.

    ‘He was a gentle man and treated me well.’

    Caroline Pierce (pictured) went missing outside her home in Grosvenor Park on November 24 of the same year and was found dead in a water-filled dyke of a field on Romney Marsh in Kent

    Caroline Pierce (pictured) went missing outside her home in Grosvenor Park on November 24 of the same year and was found dead in a water-filled dyke of a field on Romney Marsh in Kent

    Ms Marjoram said she and Fuller were together for a couple of years. She knew he was married to Sally Fuller, and tried to persuade him to leave her.

    She told police she also knew he had two children from a previous marriage, and had met his mother.

    Ms Marjoram added Fuller was kind and gentle, and she ‘never saw a different side to him’.

    Fuller eventually ‘dumped’ Ms Marjoram for another staff nurse at the hospital, the court heard.

    During the mid to late 80s, Fuller and his wife, who died in 2015, lived in a staff house at Broomhill Bank, a school for girls with learning difficulties.

    Mrs Fuller was a housemother and a former colleague told the court of the times they socialised together with their partner.

    In a statement read to the jury, Wendy Turland described Fuller as ‘reasonably quiet and boring’ unless the topic was something he was interested in ‘and then you couldn’t shut him up’.

    Of his photography, Ms Turland said: ‘David was an avid photographer and saw himself as the official ‘unofficial’ photographer for Cutting Crew, who were doing a lot of gigging at the time.

    ‘He would follow them and take hundreds of pictures of them…..They (Fuller and his wife) followed them everywhere and went to every gig. They must have spent hundreds.’

    However, Ms Turland said the couple had a volatile relationship.

    ‘Outwardly, it appeared Sally wore the trousers but I don’t think that was the case in reality,’ she told police.

    ‘She talked about divorcing him….I seem to recall he had a roving eye and Sally was sick and tired of it.

    ‘Sally was always the demonstrative one when out while David was standoffish. While out, David would be looking at others, not Sally.’

    Ms Turland also spoke of an occasion when Mrs Fuller asked her to mediate in a row with her husband.

    She said she arrived at their living quarters at the school, Mrs Fuller was very upset and crying while Fuller was initially angry.

    All their property had been labelled with Post-it notes saying ‘Yours’ and ‘Mine’, and in Mrs Fuller’s writing.

    Ms Turland also recalled another occasion when Mrs Fuller had a black eye.

    ‘I can’t recall her saying how she got it but there had obviously been a fight….I remember seeing bruises on her arms and on her legs and Sally telling me David had kicked her.’

    Mrs Fuller’s sister, Julie Staples, told the court the family did not know much about Fuller’s background when they met him.

    She said he was quiet but would lose his temper, although she never saw him being violent with her sister.

    However, Ms Staples said she was concerned Fuller was seeing other women.

    Recalling his flirtatious behaviour towards her, she said she was ‘absolutely not’ interested in him, adding: ‘I think given the opportunity David might have liked to speak to me further.

    ‘Albeit a quiet person, he had a way with him that I actually disliked and he was encouraging.’

    The trial continues.