Pictured just hours after murder: Chilling photo shows Russell Bishop joining in the search for the girls he had killed the day before
- Bishop evaded justice for killing Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway for 32 years
- But the 52-year-old was finally found guilty today following a month-long trial
- Remarkable picture from day after girls disappeared shows him at Wild Park
- Bodies of the girls were later found at the park near Brighton in October 1986
10:20 EST, 10 December 2018
14:04 EST, 10 December 2018
Dead-eyed and smoking a cigarette, this is Russell Bishop hours after he strangled two schoolgirls in a case that became known as the Babes in the Wood murders.
Bishop evaded justice for killing Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway for 32 years but was finally found guilty today following a month-long trial.
A remarkable picture from the day after the girls disappeared shows Bishop sitting in Wild Park near Brighton, where the girls’ bodies were later found. The two young friends had been sexually assaulted and strangled.
Russell Bishop was pictured in 1986, staring into space, as he took part in the search for Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, just hours after he murdered them
Russell Bishop, pictured (left) in prison and (right) around the time of the murders in 1986, was convicted today, 32 years after the girls were found dead
Bishop walked free from a court when he was cleared of the murders in a ‘shambles’ first trial – and went on to attack another young girl, who miraculously survived his onslaught.
In an extremely rare move, appeal judges allowed him to be retried for the murders of Nicola and Karen, after advances in DNA science meant a jumper he left at the scene ‘gave up it’s secrets’, in the words of the prosecutor.
The morning after the girls went missing, Bishop told police he had seen the girls playing around a tree and talking to the park keeper on his way home.
Bishop later took his dog ‘Misty’ out to join the search for the missing schoolgirls,
His move was branded a ‘cynical and deliberate attempt to divert attention away from himself’ by prosecutors at his latest trial.
Nicola Fellows (left) and Karen Hadaway (right) were found dead in woodland in 1986
His presence at the search became part of his undoing however, when he gave inconsistent accounts of having seen and touched the girls’ bodies.
He told police he had helped discover the bodies in the den and described their positions, with Karen lying at right angles to Nicola and her head resting in Nicola’s lap.
Bishop also told his friend Geoff Caswell he had gone up to the bodies and tried for a pulse on the necks of both girls before realising they were dead.
Years later, former detective Phil Swan, who had interviewed Bishop on his arrest, said: ‘I think he was scared he had left finger prints on them.’
The girls were found dead in this ‘den’ in undergrowth in Wild Park in Brighton (pictured in an undated handout photo from Sussex Police) after the going missing the previous night
Bishop also told officers he had noticed a bloody foam around Nicola’s mouth at the same time.
But in a second interview the following Wednesday police put it to him that Kevin Rowland and Matthew Marchant, who were the first to find the bodies, said they prevented Bishop from going closer than 15 feet from the bodies – a distance from which he would not have been able to make out that detail.
Confronted with this, Bishop later changed his story saying he had lied about what position the girls were lying in and the detail about bloody foam around Nicola’s mouth because he wanted to impress people.
However, his descriptions were completely accurate. Bishop also admitted he had gone home and washed his clothes because he had fallen in some dog mess.