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New evidence in Brighton Babes in the Wood murder case
The families of the Babes in the Wood victims have discovered new evidence they hope could lead to the retrial of the man cleared of Sussex’s most notorious unsolved murders.
Prime suspect Russell Bishop was charged with the murders of nine-year-olds Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows but was later cleared by the courts.
The girls’ families say they have now obtained new evidence not presented to the original jury, Bishop could next year be freed from jail despite serving a life sentence for the attempted murder, abduction and molestation of a seven-year-old girl in Brighton.
Karen and Nicola’s families are calling for Bishop to be kept behind bars for the rest of his life, and continue to seek justice for the deaths of the young friends.
Nicola and Karen were found dead in Wild Park on October 10, 1986, after going missing the previous day.
Nicola’s uncle, Ian Heffron, told The Argus that they believe there are six witnesses whose evidence could have helped convict Bishop of the girls’ murders.
The families believe the witnesses can link Bishop to a sweatshirt containing the girls’ DNA found near the scene of the murders.
Retired police officer Mr Heffron said: “We want Bishop’s acquittal to be quashed or for there to be a retrial.
“There is an undisclosed bundle of evidence that was never put before the jury.
“In order to get a retrial Sussex Police need to put the case to the director of public prosecutions.
"Our first priority is to keep him in jail for the rest of his life, but we also need justice for Nicky and Karen.
“The probation service has been in touch with us asking where we would not want Bishop to live if he was released at a parole hearing in August, 2014.
“Whilst that seems a long way away it is something that stops Nicky and Karen’s families from being able to get on with their lives even after this long.
“Every two years we have to go through this. We need him to be locked up for life and to get justice for Nicky and Karen to ever get any closure.”
Mr Heffron is calling on the Sussex Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to work with the Government to amend the double jeopardy law so Bishop can face a retrial.
Detective Chief Inspector Carwyn Hughes, of Sussex Police’s Crime Review Team, said: “The investigation into the deaths of Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway is important to Sussex Police and is constantly under review.
“We continue to explore forensic technology advances and should this provide significant leads we will review them in the context of the whole of the investigation.
"If appropriate we will consult with the CPS to consider the evidence. It is for them to consider legislation re double jeopardy.
“My team maintain contact with the victims’ families so they are aware of our activities as we try to seek justice for the two girls. This is an unresolved case and we will always consider any further information or evidence.”
Appeal for help
Anyone with information they think could help the police reopen a case can contact the cold case team in confidence by calling 101 quoting Operation Salop.
To sign Mr Heffron’s petition visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/45892.
Almost 1,000 people have signed a second petition calling for the Home Secretary to refuse Bishop’s application for parole next year.
To support the campaign visit www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/russell-bishop-should-spend-the-rest-of-his-life-in-prison.
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