The jury in the Brighton double murder trial at the Old Bailey has been told about another attack on a young girl which led to the defendant – Russell Bishop – being convicted.
Bishop, 52, denies murdering two nine-year-old girls – Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway – both from Moulsecoomb.
He is being tried for the double murder at the Central Criminal Court – better known as the Old Bailey – in London.
Brian Altman, prosecuting, said that the later attack had striking similarities with the 1986 murders.
Mr Altman said: “Three years after his acquittal in December 1987, on 13 December 1990, at Lewes Crown Court, the defendant was convicted of offences of attempted murder, kidnapping and indecent assault.
“The victim was seven years old at the time that she was attacked by the defendant on Sunday 4 February 1990.
“Shortly before 4pm that day, she left her home address on roller skates to go to a nearby shop in the Whitehawk area of Brighton.
“At about the same time, a red Ford Cortina, which was a stolen car bearing false plates, was seen in the area (and) was attributed to the defendant and which he accepted driving that day.
“At about 4pm, the car was seen parked and with the boot open. The girl also noticed the car.
“As she passed, the defendant grabbed her and lifted her into the boot, telling her to be quiet and threatening her that he would kill her if she was not quiet.
“He drove the car, with the girl in the boot, 14 miles to an area known as the Devil’s Dyke.
“When the car arrived at the Devil’s Dyke, the defendant parked on a path running through the woods.
“He took the girl from the boot and forced her into the back seat of the car, telling her to keep quiet.
“He put his hand over her nose and mouth. He then put his hands around her throat and strangled her with his thumbs at the front.
“She fell unconscious and while unconscious he stripped her naked and then he sexually assaulted her.
“Shortly after 4.30pm, a couple walking in the woods noticed the red Ford Cortina car. They saw that the windows were steamed up and so they could not see inside.
“They could make out shapes moving up and down on the back seat but they did not look closely inside.
“There was a sign on the rear window which read ‘For sale £750 ONO’. This sign would later be recovered from the car.
“After sexually assaulting her, the defendant took the girl’s unconscious naked body from the car and dumped her in dense, gorse bushes in the woods, where he left her for dead.
“He threw the roller blades she had with her into the woods before driving away from the scene at 4.45pm.
“Despite her injuries, the girl survived. She regained consciousness and managed to struggle out of the gorse bushes where she was found by some passers-by.
“The girl told them what had happened to her and she provided a description of her attacker. They called the police who attended the scene and the girl repeated her account to them. She said that the man who attacked her was wearing black trousers.
“As for the defendant, he drove to his parents’ address at 46 Coldean Lane where he was seen carrying a bucket to his car.
“Forensic evidence would later indicate that the boot lid and the inside panels of the car had been wiped clean with a wet cloth.
“The next day, a taxi driver found a pair of black tracksuit trousers bearing white piping abandoned in Mill Lane about 100 yards from Devil’s Dyke Road.
“A near neighbour of the defendant described him wearing a similar pair of trousers on the day of the attack.
“The defendant was spoken to by the police and asked to account for his movements on the day of the attack.
“He said that he had tried to visit his brother but that he had not been in. He said that as he drove away from his brother’s house he realised that he had a puncture.
“He said he changed his wheel in the road, just around the corner. This was in the area where the girl was grabbed from the street. He then said that he drove to his father’s house in Coldean Lane, arriving at 4.15pm.
“He was arrested and interviewed. At that stage he declined to answer any questions asked of him.
“Three days following her attack, on Wednesday 7 February 1990, the girl identified the defendant as her attacker at a formal identification procedure.
“Fragments of paint found on the girl’s clothing were compared against control samples of the paint used to respray the red Ford Cortina by its previous owners.
“A forensic scientist concluded that paint on the girl’s clothing originated from the boot of the Ford Cortina and, given that three different paint systems were found on both, the possibility of it originating from another vehicle was so immeasurably small that it could be discounted.
“Semen was found on the girl’s vest, which could have originated from the defendant, with the chances of the DNA having originated from a man other than the defendant being 1 in 19,000.
“This evidence is not before you to prejudice you against this defendant into convicting him of these murders simply because he was found guilty of subsequent like offences but because the evidence of his guilt of this other attack on seven-year-old the girl and the facts underlying it help to identify him as the killer of Karen and Nicola as well as reveal his disposition to behave in a certain way.
“Indeed, we say that the similarities between these offences and the 1986 murders are so striking and obvious that they, in combination with all the other evidence going in support of the prosecution case against this man, point to him and only him as their killer.
“What do we say those similarities are? First of all, the three victims were prepubescent girls – Karen and Nicola were nine years old. The girl was seven.
“They were targeted when they were out and in the Brighton area, shortly before dusk – Karen and Nicola in Moulsecoomb in Brighton, the girl in Whitehawk in Brighton.
“All the offences involved manual strangulation, leading to unconsciousness, followed by sexual assault.
“Two of the victims were left wholly or semi-naked. Karen was found no longer wearing her green top and knickers and the girl had been stripped naked.
“Nicola’s knickers were found to be in place but inside out. Did Nicola put them on that way or did her killer remove them and then put them back on, albeit inside out?
“The offences involved the girls being hidden or remaining hidden in densely wooded or overgrown areas – Karen and Nicola in dense woods at Wild Park, the girl in gorse bushes in the woods at the Devil’s Dyke.
“The offences involved incriminating items of clothing being discarded nearby – in 1986 the Pinto sweatshirt, in 1990 a pair of tracksuit trousers.
“The offences were followed by attempts to clean himself, his clothing or his car. In 1986 he washed his clothes and had a bath when he returned home. In 1990 he cleaned the car used to kidnap the girl showing forensic awareness.”
The trial continues.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.