The Babes in the Wood murder case is to be explored in a BBC television documentary this evening (Monday 7 January).
The hour-long documentary – The Babes in the Wood Murders: The Prosecutors – is due to be broadcast on BBC 2 at 9pm.
It follows the case of double child killer Russell Bishop, who was convicted last month of the Wild Park murders in October 1986.
As well as looking at the work of lawyers, detectives and forensic scientists, the programme makers heard from the families of the two young victims.
Bishop, now 52, was jailed for life by an Old Bailey judge for strangling the two nine-year-olds – Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway – both of Newick Road, in Moulsecoomb.
He was 20 years old when he took their lives. A year later, in 1987, he was tried by a jury at Lewes Crown Court and found not guilty.
Gold Star Productions, the independent production company that made tonight’s programme, said: “Police had no other suspects when Russell Bishop was acquitted.
“Thirty years later, this exclusive documentary follows the families’ last chance for justice.
“(It) follows the culmination of a 32-year fight for justice in a notorious unsolved double child murder.
“On (Thursday) 9 October 1986, nine-year-old friends Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows went out to play and didn’t come home.
“The whole estate turned out to look for the two girls only to have their hopes dashed when they were found lying dead in undergrowth in Wild Park, on the outskirts of Brighton. Both had been strangled and sexually assaulted.
“For their families it was the start of a living hell. Police arrested a man the girls liked and trusted, 20-year-old Russell Bishop and in 1987 he was put on trial. But the jury took less than two hours to acquit him of the murders.
“Under the law at the time, Bishop could not be retried even if new evidence were to be found.
“The families of the murdered girls had to endure years of agony, without any prospect of justice for their lost children – until 2005 when the double jeopardy law was abolished, rekindling the hopes of the families.”
The programme followed police and scientists as they used cutting edge methods to uncover new evidence which they hoped would be enough for the Crown Prosecution Service to bring a fresh prosecution.
Gold Star said: “Following the reinvestigation and proceedings from an early stage, and sharing the experience of the children’s families, this film charts the last chance at finally finding justice for Karen and Nicola.”