Documentary shows how Babes in the Wood murderer Russell Bishop was finally brought to justice

Posted On 21 Oct 2021 at 7:56 pm

A television documentary shows how the Babes in the Wood murderer Russell Bishop was finally brought to justice.

Murder victims Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway

Cold Case Killers was being broadcast at 9pm on 5 Star – Channel 5’s digital channel – tonight (Thursday 21 October).

The programme is the first in the series and is being screened just over 35 years after Bishop murdered nine-year-old best friends Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway.

Bishop was the prime suspect, having been seen in Wild Park, Moulsecoomb, where the girls’ bodies were found at about the time of their death.

After more circumstantial evidence was found, including a blue Pinto sweatshirt, Bishop was charged and went on trial a year later at Lewes Crown Court.

But a key witness, Bishop’s girlfriend Jenni Johnson, contradicted her statement to police when she gave her evidence – and the jury sensationally acquitted Bishop.

In 1990 Bishop struck again, snatching a seven-year-old girl as she played in the street in Whitehawk, bundling her into his car boot and driving to the Devil’s Dyke.

He sexually assaulted and strangled her, leaving her for dead, but miraculously she survived and her astonishing evidence put Bishop behind bars for life.

Detectives reviewed the murder of Nicola and Karen as their families kept up their long fight for justice.

And in 2018 Bishop went on trial again – this time at the Central Criminal Court, better known as the Old Bailey, in London.

Advances in forensic science and a change in the double jeopardy law – long campaigned for by the families of Nicola and Karen – made the crucial difference, along with a watertight prosecution case.

During cross-examination, Bishop left the witness box and refused to answer any more questions.

Russell Bishop

He refused to come out of his prison cell the next day and, in his absence, he was convicted unanimously by the jury. Bishop’s cowardice was condemned by the judge.

Bishop was once again jailed for life – and recently it was revealed that the 55-year-old was dying of cancer in Frankland Prison in County Durham.

The programme is part of a six-part series made by the production company Rare TV.

For more details and to watch Cold Case Killers, click here.

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