Brighton double murder trial – defendant’s alibi comes unstuck

Posted On 05 Nov 2018 at 4:17 pm

The man accused of the “Babes in the Wood” murders came up with various alibis for the evening on which two girls were killed, a jury heard yesterday (Monday 5 November).

But Russell Bishop’s alibis did not stand up to scrutiny, prosecutor Alison Morgan said at the Central Criminal Court – better known as the Old Bailey – in London.

Bishop, 52, told police officers that he had bought some cannabis from a woman called Angie Cutting.

The former roofer said that he had rolled a joint in public toilets before making his way home to Stephens Road, in Hollingdean.

But she told the court that Bishop, then aged 20, had not been to see her on Thursday 9 October 1986 – the day when Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway were murdered.

While she admitted selling cannabis from her Moulsecoomb home to various people, including Bishop, they had fallen out over the sale of a stereo.

Bishop also told police that representatives of an insurance company would back up his story that he was not in Wild Park at 6.30pm on the day of the double murder.

But Reliance Mutual Assurance Company assistant manager Sydney Giles said that he had called at Bishop’s property at about 4.30pm and found no one home.

And Andrew Longford, who worked as an agent for Britannic Assurance Company, in Brighton, said that he could not have visited Bishop’s Hollingdean home when the defendant said.

While Mr Longford usually collected premiums from Bishop for an endowment policy for the defendant’s son Victor, on the day in question his car was in a garage being repaired.

Bishop’s attempts to deflect blame on to Barrie Fellows, the father of Nicola Fellows, were raised when pathologist Nathaniel Cary gave evidence this afternoon.

Dr Cary dismissed claims that she could have been sexually assaulted in the months before her death.

The injuries suffered by the two schoolgirls were sustained at about the time they were killed, not before, Dr Cary said.

Bishop is accused of strangling and sexually assaulting both girls but claimed that a few months before her death her father was complicit in her abuse.

Murder victims Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway

Brian Altman, prosecuting, said: “In the course of this trial, certain allegations are going to be made that Barrie Fellows, Nicola’s father, was observed two to three months before Nicola’s death watching a video in his front room of his own daughter engaged in sexual activities with the lodger who lived at the address at the time.”

But Dr Cary said that if Nicola had suffered earlier injuries from being sexually abused then he would have expected the evidence to have been visible when post-mortem tests were carried out.

He said that the evidence showed similarities with the nature and extent of injuries suffered by the seven-year-old girl who Bishop attacked in 1990 as well as with Karen Hadaway.

The jury was told that Dr Cary had reviewed the 1986 findings of the original pathologist Dr Iain West who has since died.

Earlier the jury heard retired detective Barry Evans deny being aggressive or violent when he interviewed Bishop about the murders in 1986.

Russell Bishop

The former detective constable was accused of being part of a soft cop, hard cop routine by Bishop’s barrister Joel Bennathan.

Mr Bennathan said: “Was there a stage he got up to leave and was pushed back in his chair?

Mr Evans said: “That’s not how it worked.”

Mr Bennathan asked whether Bishop was shown photographs of the dead girls.

He said: “I don’t think so.”

Mr Bennathan said: “He had two experienced detectives basically bullying a very young witness.”

Mr Evans said: “I do not accept that, no.”

Alison Morgan, prosecuting, said: “Did you ever use aggression and or violence when questioning someone?”

Mr Evans said: “I never used violence or aggression.”

Bishop denies two counts of murder.

The trial continues.

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