Babes in the Wood killer Russell Bishop dies from cancer aged 55

·2-min read
Babes in the Wood killer Russell Bishop dies from cancer aged 55

The Babes in the Wood killer Russell Bishop, who murdered two schoolgirls in Brighton in the 1980s, has died.

Bishop, who had been suffering from cancer, was rushed to hospital from HMP Frankland in Country Durham.

The 55-year-old was found guilty of murdering two nine-year-old girls, Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows.

Schoolgirls Karen Hadaway (left) and Nicola Fellows were killed by Bishop in 1986. (PA)
Schoolgirls Karen Hadaway (left) and Nicola Fellows were killed by Bishop in 1986. (PA)

He was jailed in 2018 after a breakthrough in DNA technology which showed him to be a “one-in-a-billion match” to a sample at the crime scene.

Bishop was 20-years-old when he attacked Nicola and Karen in a woodland den in Brighton in 1986.

He was cleared of their murders on December 10, 1987 - but within three years went on to kidnap, molest and throttle a seven-year-old girl, leaving her for dead at Devil’s Dyke.

While serving life for attempted murder, Bishop was ordered to face a fresh trial in 2018 under the double jeopardy law amid a DNA breakthrough.

A Pinto sweatshirt discarded on Bishop’s route home was linked to the defendant by DNA while fibre, paint and ivy transfers placed it at the scene.

Tests on a sample from Karen’s left forearm also revealed a “one in a billion” DNA match to Bishop.

Bishop responded by trying to cast suspicion on Nicola’s devastated father Barrie.

He claimed to have touched the bodies to feel for a pulse after they were found by two 18-year-olds.

But jurors took just two and a half hours to see through the web of lies and convict Bishop on the 31st anniversary of his acquittal.

Members of the girls’ families wept and hugged each other after the verdict.

Karen’s mother Michelle Hadaway called Bishop an “evil monster”.

She said: “After 32 years of fighting, we finally have justice for Karen and Nicola.

“Time stood still for us in 1986. To us them beautiful girls will always be nine years old. They will never grow up.”

“What people like Bishop inflict on the families of their victims is a living death.”

The case, dubbed Babes in the Woods, shocked the nation in 1986 and blighted the tight-knit community of Moulsecoomb, on the edges of the South Downs in Brighton.

It is believed to be the oldest double jeopardy case and Sussex Police’s longest-running murder inquiry.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting