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tv   Cold Case  BBC News  January 8, 2022 9:30pm-10:01pm GMT

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at least 21 people have died in north—eastern pakistan after heavy snowfall trapped them in their vehicles. nasa's james web space telescope has unfolded its final mirror panel after launching on christmas day. the golden primary mirror will allow the telescope to be properly focused — helping scientists to better study the universe. now on bbc news, it's our documentary cold case: the tunbridge wells murders. and a warning that viewers may find some of the details distressing. this is the story of two young women. people were thinking this is a serial killer. their murders in a quiet
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town in the 1980s. there was quite a lot of blood around wendy's head, around the bedding. it became apparent that caroline hadn't simplyjust disappeared. and the extraordinary investigation which brought the killer to justice. in 2019, we had a breakthrough. bingo. it looks like he's got some hard drives in there, i would say. an investigation which uncovered the darkest secrets... looking at this — excuse me. ..of man who picked his victims from among the dead. listen to what i'm going to say. yes. every single one of us has that same wish for someone we have lost, and that's that they rest in peace. back in the 1980s,
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you were very lucky if you saw the inside of a police car. you were walking various beats in the town centre. ian pointon still remembers the events of 1987 in tunbridge wells, his home beat. it was still a fairly affluent town. i mean, it had it's areas of poverty, but there was also a sense, i would suggest, of faded glory — there were lots of the big houses that were no longer big houses anymore, they'd been split up into flats or into bedsits. it was home to two young women just starting out in life. wendy knell was 25, working in the cafe of the department store. i was the supervisor, and wendy worked with a lot of other girls and some of the students from schools locally. she wanted to get married, she wanted children — desperately wanted to have children — but i learnt later that she'd got divorced, because i'd left the coffee
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shop by then, but she didn't run back to mum and dad, she struck out on her own, got a differentjob, worked in tunbridge wells — looking forward to the next phase in her life. moving to her own flat — to which police were called onjune 23, following a horrifying discovery. officers went into the flat and they found wendy laying on the bed. she was naked, she was laying on her right—hand side and a duvet that had been placed over her had been pulled back. there was quite a lot of blood around wendy's head, around the bedding, and on the bed sheets. at 12 o'clock, bbc radio kent news with michael bath. police today issued a fresh appeal for witnesses following a murder of the tunbridge wells manageress, wendy knell, earlier this week. caroline pierce was 20,
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a manager at this popular tunbridge wells restaurant, the centre of a close set of colleagues and friends — young people who worked and socialised together — until the 2a november, 1987, when caroline�*s neighbours heard screams from her flat. she was never seen alive again. it was originally thought that maybe she had disappeared, but, as time went on, of course, it became apparent that she hadn'tjust simply disappeared. we've got the second murder, just five months later, of caroline. it was the talk of the pubs, it was the talk of people that you bumped into in the street — they wanted to know, you know, what was happening. i'd got no answers as to how the investigation was going, all you could do was try to reassure them. three weeks later, her body was found a0 miles away in the water—filled
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ditch that was adjacent to the farmer's field. she was laying on her side, submerged in the water, and the only clothing that she had on was a pair of tights. she'd been found in romney marshes, a flat expanse of farms and wetlands. there were lots of officers brought in to help with the fingertip search around the area. we were looking for items of caroline�*s personal possessions to try and find any evidence that might help us understand what had happened to caroline, and who was responsible. people were thinking this is a serial killer. once you'd had the second murder, people were waiting for the third murder. in 1987, the opportunities to gather evidence would have been quite different to what we can do nowadays. there would have been quite a lot of emphasis on what witnesses had seen, what witnesses had heard.
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we had uniform officers drafted in, doing the house—to—house inquiries — you know, it was huge. it was wendy's flat which contained some critical clues. wendy's white blouse that she'd been wearing — last known to have been wearing — that was bloodstained. and on the sleeve cuff of that blouse, there was a partial shoeprint in blood. there was also other dna found on that bed sheet and the duvet cover. for caroline�*s murder, there was no forensic leads. and back in 1987, there was very limited work that could be done around dna, for example. caroline�*s tights did have a trace from the killer. when the dna database was introduced in the 1990s, detectives were hopeful. it was compared to all of the people that had dna held on that national database, but there was no match. the first of this month's reconstructions tells the story
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of a 25—year—old woman who lived alone in a bedsit at tunbridge wells in kent. and tunbridge wells. the team tried asking for help on the bbc�*s crimewatch programme, which was to feature the tunbridge wells murders twice over the years. we had samples from the scene. we had the offender's dna from the scene. they'd been kept. over the years. that had — that had been kept. so we recovered them from the scene and they're always kept in undetected cases in — for new developments in forensic science. the months turned into years. a huge murder investigation into a cold case. at kent police, it was clear that the leads had run out. we scaled down the inquiry, but one thing that we've never done is close the inquiry. the old kent police headquarters would soon be earmarked for closure, but in 2019, the tunbridge wells case came back to life.
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we had a breakthrough. we developed the tights that caroline was wearing when she was found in order to be able to get, for the first time ever, a dna sample that we believed is from the suspect who had killed caroline in 1987. but back then, there was nothing to compare it with. the police were not taking dna from people, because we didn't have the power — we didn't even though the technology was going to be there. dna profiles are a bit like car number plates. one plate, one car. there has been a register of plates since 190a. the database of police dna profiles only began in 1985, profiles only began in 1995, and wendy's killer wasn't on it. but part of another plate can tell you where and when a car was registered.
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and now part of a dna profile can tell you the family the sample likely comes from. you can imagine over 65 million people in the uk, there are around 6.5 million profiles on the national dna data base. through science, through algorithms, through brilliant individuals, they will narrow that profile down to a population of around 90 people. 90 people who'd given the police their dna and might be related to the tunbridge wells killer. detectives visited and questioned them about their family members. and one family member stood out. and that person was david fuller. we knocked on the door. david fuller answered the door. hello. morning. david, it's the police. we need to come in and speak to you. oh, yes, come in. he invited us in. the uniformed police officers explained to him the reason that we were attending. and he was very calm.
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david, if you listen to what i'm going to say... yes. we're from kent police and we're investigating the murders of wendy knell and caroline pierce in 1987, 0k? as part of that investigation, you've been linked as a suspect both geographically and forensically, ok? if you listen to what my colleague's going to say to you. alright, david, you're under arrest on suspicion of the murders of wendy knell and caroline pierce in 1987. do you understand ? yes. you do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on... i had a very strong suspicion that he was involved from the information that was available to me — that he lived in the area at the time. i knew some information around his criminal history and the method of his crime, back in the 1970s, when he was a convicted burglar. convicted but neverjailed.
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by 2020, he was an electrician on his third marriage, trying to give the impression he was mr normal. did you know either of these women? no. he didn't know their addresses, where they lived, that there - really was no reason _ that his dna would be at either of those scenes. david, did you murder wendy knell? no. did you murder caroline pierce? no. he would make almost a threat to say if you continue along - this path i'm going to stop answering your questions, and i guess that's another - element of control that we see, where he thinks that he can . control the interview process. can you describe anything else about wendy's flat for me? no. as he faced questions, his small house in heathfield, east sussex was full of police officers. there was a lot of things in the house. i describe david fuller as a hoarder. we found that he was a keen photographer, and we found thousands — in fact, about 50,000 hardcopy
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photographs in his collection. a member of staff found the photograph of david fuller in his garden in the sun. the way he was lying allowed police to focus on the distinctive pattern on the soles of his shoes. remember the white blouse that we found where wendy had been killed ? on the cuff of one of the sleeves of the blouse was a shoeprint in blood. that trainer was the same as left the mark on wendy's cuff in blood. a golden nugget piece of evidence. bingo. we found a note in a diary that he'd visited buster browns, which is where caroline pierce was manageress. we also found items from supasnaps, where wendy worked. it is clear to me that he knew wendy knell, or who she was, he knew caroline —
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he has targeted them for death. by having that really good current understanding of his life history, we were able to prove that he was lying. take a seat. we were able to get a dna sample from him, and that was an exact match from the offender profile that we'd found that the scene of wendy, and a match to what we now knew from the forensic link to caroline. at that point, we thought, here, we've done it. we now knew david fuller was the offender. but then we found something else. he's identified the victims. in 1989, david fuller secured a job at the kent and sussex hospital. that friday evening, we were just sort of tidying everything up, ready for him to go to court the following morning. and we get the camera. he was an electrician by trade and he was a maintenance man.
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there's some stuff stuck on the back of that - one as well. and then i got a call. they had found some pictures. he looks like he's got some hard drives in there, - i would say. he had access to all areas of the hospital, carrying out essential maintenance wherever it was needed. but we found he had a particular interest in the mortuary. here's a sandisk one i that i can read there — on the front, so that's the hard drive. - on opening the hard drives, i'm looking at a mortuary and i'm looking at a man sexually abusing what are clearly dead people. and he had filmed it. photographed it. every second. these are his pictures. a lot of the time he sets up the camera, and you can watch everything that he does. there is a real similarity between what he was doing
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with the victims in the mortuary to what we've seen from the evidence in the scenes of caroline, and also of wendy. my role in this investigation from the outset is to be the eyewitness for what is happening to these women and children. no—one else is going to speak for what happened if no—one else is going to look at that material, and that happened to be me. i have seen some horrible, horrible stuff in my career. that people really shouldn't have to see. and then, looking at this... excuse me. david, it's fine, we can stop if you want. no, i'm fine. it's just... it's just a reminder ofjust how horrible the world can be out there.
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and it's utterly, utterly, utterly... i felt sadness, i felt anger, i felt so many different emotions. fuller had killed two women and he had sexually abused the bodies of 98 more, including one 100 years old, and three children. part of me is trying to understand what must be going through his head. i can only conclude that there's an element of control going on. that's all i can imagine. control over women in particular. echoes of another notorious criminal, harold shipman. dr richard badcock, a forensic psychiatrist, advised police about shipman, but what's his view of david fuller? the psychopathology
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at work here is very definitely one of sadomasochism. which, in essence, is not being able to deal with your own issues except by manipulating the behaviour of other people. although you're doing extreme things, you don't feel alive, most of the time. you might only feel alive in the moment of the offence. necrophilia, that's it. there's nowhere else to go after that. after he had offended and he had recorded, he would take it home, download it to his computers, and he had quite a sophisticated system of files and subfolders, where the material would be placed. and he had a little black book where he logged details of his mortuary victims. date of birth, date of death...
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it's like a library that he can look back over. it is perhaps the ultimate of control. because those poor people have got absolutely no say — there's no resistance in any way, shape or form, to what's going on. what he was doing, and in such a volume, was completely unprecedented. we did research, we spoke to many people in the country, even looked at what was happening internationally to try and understand if there were any other investigations that could assist us to see if we could take advice and guidance. we found nothing. he was a man with a trusted job in a modern, secure hospital. how did he get away with it? his job gave him the cover, didn't it, for going into the mortuary? and i think, personally, perhaps his rather unassuming nature enabled him to get away with it.
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david fuller had manipulated himself in a position where he was a maintenance supervisor. he had a swipe card that allowed him to access anywhere in the hospital. he changed his shifts to work a later shift rather than a normal day shift. the set—up at the mortuary was in two halves. bodies that would be brought into the mortuary would be put into fridges and freezers on one side of the mortuary, all covered by cctv. the second part of the mortuary, which is not covered by cctv, where david fuller went and was able to lock himself in that area, had no cameras, but from the other side of those fridges, he could get access to the bodies and take them out of the fridges. there's a moment during one of the videos where there's a noise from outside the mortuary. i'm not completely sure what it is, but his response is to just turn the light off.
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and i anticipated, while i'm listening, that he's putting the body back or doing something to hide, and then about five minutes later the light comes back on and he's still standing there. just as he was before. and you must have been praying that he would be caught at that stage? that would have been so much betterfor so many more people, had he been caught at any time. but who had he abused? police had to find out. they searched hospital records and they scrutinised fuller's horrific videos. looking for parts of the body, whether it's tags or medical devices, anything that could be used, facial imagery, age, build, absolutely everything that would be able to be passed on to my colleagues so that when they are looking at a list of people, they are able to say, "well, it's not that person because of this reason,
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it's not that person because of this reason," and we narrow it down to just one person. once identified, liaison officers were sent to visit the victims' families. you know that these families have been given a horrific message, and you know there's nothing you can say or do that's going to make that any better or make it go away. so all you can do is be there for them and try to help them in any way that you can, which is exactly what we do as family liaison officers. in 2014, the akande family came to the uk from france for a short break. after they left the ferry, a lorry hit their car on the motorway. mary akande, her sister helen and stepfather were killed. and six years later, their family was one of dozens visited by the police investigating fuller.
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mary and helen, 16 and 22. their bodies lying in the mortuary had been among fuller's many abuse victims. among the 80 who police have identified. soon, a public enquiry will examine what more should be done to make hospital mortuaries secure places of rest. good afternoon. i want to say on behalf
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of the trust how shocked and appalled i am by the criminal activity by david fuller in our hospital mortuary that has been revealed in court this week. most importantly, i want to apologise to the families of the victims of these terrible crimes. they were so many different reactions to it. some people wished that they'd never heard, they were really angry by the news, feel that they couldn't fathom the thought that a human being could do this, they thought of him as a monster. some people feel that the person that was affected by these offences was no longer their loved one, in that body. other people have kind of taken the news, and taken it in their stride and just accepted it. but i think the main reaction has been, how can someone do this and get away with this for so long? it's just unheard of. we went to trial because fuller was saying, in his defence,
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that he had diminished responsibility. that he was not of sound mind when he killed wendy and caroline. on the fourth day of the trial, he changed his plea, and he confessed to murdering wendy and caroline. that was a massive moment. after all these years, suddenly it's happened. wendy's mother told the court the murder had ruined her life. fuller's crimes have caused decades of hurt. i don't think about him as a person. the pain that he's caused these families, the torment he's caused them, you know, the despair for not only the families but also the officers who have had to see this material and help these families through such an awful time, is horrendous. he has completely shattered so many people's lives because of it.
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he's betrayed the nhs, he's betrayed his colleagues, he's betrayed his profession, but we have all — every single one of us — has that same wish for someone that we've lost, and that's that they rest in peace. and he's betrayed that wish, for all of us.
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good evening. it was a miserable start of the weekend, lots of rain around first thing, accompanied by squally winds. however, as the day went on, it certainly got better for most of us. the heavy rain easing east, and then behind we still had some blustery winds, plenty of squally showers — but also for some, some sunshine, so it meant brighter skies for county down at times this afternoon. some of those showers though were quite heavy with hail and thunder. and they will turn increasingly wintry as we go through the evening and overnight, and the temperatures fall away. as skies continue to clear, it is going to be quite a chilly night to come, as well. in rural areas,
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we could actually see loosing the figures. so there will be further snow flurries was showers into the far northwest, i see stretches first thing, a touch of sheltered frost as well. but sunday will certainly be a better start of the day, lots of sunshine to greet us first thing, and for many it'll stay like that for the rest of the day. those showers to the far north and west will gradually drift out of scotland, over the peaks in the pennines, but elsewhere it stays dry and sunny. a little bit cooler with brisket northwesterly winds slowly easing, temperatures widely between five and eight celsius. perhaps slightly milder conditions into the west because of a weather front that will arrive. so on monday that'll bring strong winds to the north and west of scotland and northern ireland. quite a lot out towards the west, the best of brighter weather in sheltered eastern areas. here we will see temperatures between 7—8 degrees, milder than where we have the rain and cloudy. high pressure set to build from tuesday onwards and it will stay with us for the rest of the week. that will quiet the weather story
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down, meaning it will be largely fine and dry. high—pressure this time of year can come with the risk of this. yes, morning fog could be an issue, some of it dense in places and some of it may well lift to low cloud. so don't expect too much and a way of sunshine if that happens. but in comparison to the weather we've seen so far this january, it will be largely dry, there will be some sunshine but the fog could have an impact — and if that happens, it could be chilly at times. take care.
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this is bbc news. more than 150,000 people in the uk have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test — since the pandemic began. lawyers for novak djokavic claim he was given a vaccine exemption to enter australia, because he'd had a recent covid infection. thousands more flat—owners will be spared the expense of replacing unsafe cladding — under new government plans to make developers offer four—billion pounds towards the costs. nasa says the james webb space telescope has fully deployed in space, after unfolding its final mirror panels.


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