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'Evil monster' Russell Bishop who killed two girls in 1986 must serve a minimum 36 years

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Paedophile: Bishop in 1986

Paedophile: Bishop in 1986

PA

Paedophile: Bishop in 1986

Babes in the wood "monster" Russell Bishop is likely to die in prison for the murders of two schoolgirls 32 years ago.

The 52-year-old convicted paedophile was found guilty of killing nine-year-olds Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, ending two families' long fight for justice.

Bishop was 20 years old when he sexually assaulted and strangled the girls in a woodland den in Brighton in October 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, near Brighton.

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

A sweatshirt discarded on Bishop's route home was linked to him 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 tailored his evidence to counter the new forensic evidence, claiming 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 lies and convict Bishop on the "overwhelming" evidence on the 31st anniversary of his acquittal.

Bishop refused to attend court for his sentencing at the Old Bailey yesterday.

But all the jurors who convicted him returned and embraced family members outside court.

In the defendant's absence Mr Justice Sweeney handed Bishop a life sentence, with a minimum term of 36 years.

The judge said: "I have no doubt that you were a predatory paedophile.

"The terror that each girl must have suffered in their final moments is unimaginable."

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

Karen's mother Michelle Hadaway said Bishop was an "evil monster".

In a victim impact statement she said: "Finally justice has been done and Bishop has been seen as the evil monster he really is.

"Bishop should never be allowed the freedom to inflict this pain or suffering on any other child or family.

Sue Eismann, Nicola's mother, told how her world "turned upside down" after the death of her daughter.

On her feelings about Bishop, she said: "I have lived with the pain, the loss and sheer hate towards him for what he had done for the last 32 years."

Belfast Telegraph


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