The defendant in the Babes in the Wood double murder trial has refused to give any more evidence, bringing his cross-examination to a premature end.
Russell Bishop, 52, formerly of Stephens Road, Hollingdean, is on trial for the murder of two nine-year-old girls at the Central Criminal Court – better known as the Old Bailey – in London.
He denies killing Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, both of Newick Road, Moulsecoomb, in nearby Wild Park in October 1986.
He was acquitted by a jury at Lewes Crown Court in 1987 in a case known as the Babes in the Wood murders.
But a change to the law on double jeopardy, scientific advances in DNA technology and the resulting fresh forensic evidence have led to Bishop facing a second trial.
Bishop went into the witness box at the end of last week where he was questioned by his barrister Joel Bennathan.
But this morning (Monday 26 November) the former roofer took offence at the way he was cross-examined by Brian Altman, the barrister for the prosecution.
At one point Bishop asked the judge, Sir Nigel Sweeney, also known as Mr Justice Sweeney, whether the prosecutor’s approach was legal.
Mr Altman had been asking Bishop about his conviction for the kidnap, sexual assault and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl from Whitehawk.
Bishop left the girl for dead at the Devil’s Dyke, just north of Brighton, in February 1990.
He admitted lying on oath to the jury at his trial.
The prosecutor 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.”
After less than 90 minutes the jury left court.
When they returned, after lunch, Mr Justice Sweeney said to the jury: “You will observe immediately, of course, that Mr Bishop is in the dock, not the witness box.
“That is because he has declined to give any further evidence.
“As you may have gathered, I have given him time to consider that, but that is ultimately his position.
“I will give you directions in due course as to how you should approach that.
“The practical effect of that he is can be asked no more questions in cross-examination and his evidence to you is at an end.”
The judge told the jury that a further defence witness would be called tomorrow (Tuesday 27 November) 11.30am.
Bishop denies two counts of murder.
The trial continues.
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