Babes in the Wood double murder trial – Bishop accused of playing the victim

Posted On 26 Nov 2018 at 12:46 pm

At the Babes in the Wood double murder trial, Russell Bishop was accused of playing the victim.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court – better known as the Old Bailey – also heard Bishop, 52, admit lying on oath previously when protesting his innocence in another case.

At one point Bishop, formerly of Stephens Road, Hollingdean, even appealed to the judge during cross-examination by the barrister for the prosecution Brian Altman.

Bishop, a former roofer, is on trial for the murder of Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, both nine, who were sexually assaulted, strangled and killed in Wild Park, Moulsecoomb, in October 1986.

He denies the charges.

But he was asked about a girl who he kidnapped, strangled and sexually assaulted in February 1990.

Bishop had denied the offences on oath when he was tried 28 years ago.

But he told the jury in the current trial that he had bundled her into the boot of his red Ford Cortina after “losing it” while mentally unbalanced.

He said that he lost it because of a three-year hate campaign against him during which his home had been firebombed, his car set on fire and the brake pipes had also been cut on his car.

He even contemplated killing himself and his children, he said, driving to Beachy Head with the intention of taking his life.

But as Mr Altman asked Bishop about his differing accounts of events, the defendant said: “What am I on trial for? Excuse me, your honour, is this legal? Is this correct?”

The judge, Sir Nigel Sweeney, known as Mr Justice Sweeney, said: “Yes it is. And if it isn’t then I’ll stop it.”

Murder victims Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway

Mr Altman said: “There are very good reasons for what I also suggest are obvious and striking similarities between the two offences – because the killer of those two girls in October 1986 was the same person who attacked (the seven-year-old girl) in 1990. And that man is you.”

Mr Altman also read excerpts of letters sent by Bishop to a 13-year-old girl.

The defendant said that he hadn’t known that she was just 13 when he wrote to her in a sexually suggestive way.

But then Mr Altman read out a line from Bishop demonstrating that he knew exactly how old she was, despite claiming that he thought she was almost 16.

They had lived in the same bed and breakfast in St George’s Terrace, in Kemp Town, in 1984 when the girls was just 11.

Mr Altman said: “What you are trying to do is blame her for the content of the letters that you are writing.”

Bishop said: “I’m not blaming her. I’m responding to certain comments what she had written.”

Earlier, when asking about the 1990 abduction, Mr Altman said: “It was all about sexual gratification. You’re a paedophile.”

Russell Bishop

Bishop said: “No. You need to understand what that word means before you start bandying it about.

“A paedophile is someone who believes he is not doing any wrong and doesn’t believe there’s any harm in what he’s doing.

Bishop denies two counts of murder.

The trial continues.

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