A PATHOLOGIST has rejected an allegation that one of the Babes in the Wood murder victims was sexually assaulted months before her death.

Convicted sex predator Russell Bishop has denied murdering Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, putting forward one of their fathers as a suspect instead.

It has been claimed Barrie Fellows was seen watching a video of Nicola in bed with a lodger two to three months before her death.

Nicola and Karen, both aged nine, were found sexually assaulted and strangled the day after they went missing in Wild Park in Brighton on October 9 1986.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Dr Nathaniel Cary confirmed the cause of death for each girl was compression of the neck and outlined evidence of sexual abuse.

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC asked him about any physical evidence to support the defence claim against Mr Fellows.

Mr Altman said: “In the course of this trial, certain allegations are going to be made that Barrie Fellows, Nicola’s father, was observed two to three months before Nicola’s death watching a video in his front room of his own daughter engaged in sexual activities with the lodger who lived at the address at the time.

“You have been asked to consider that in light of the pathological findings.”

The pathologist said the injuries Nicola suffered were inflicted around the time of her death.

If Nicola was subjected to penetrative sex, he would expect to see evidence of it two to three months later, jurors were told.

The jury has been told that the Fellows had a lodger named Dougie Judd.

Bishop is on trial for the second time, having been acquitted of the girls’ murders following a trial in 1987.

Within three years, he was convicted of the kidnap, sexual assault and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl at Devils Dyke on the South Downs.

Dr Cary told jurors that the younger girl could have been attacked in a similar way to the two other girls. Last week Russell Bishop’s legal team said Mr Fellows is responsible for the death of the two schoolgirls.

Joel Bennathan QC, defending, said the police and prosecution have “spent 32 years building a case against the wrong man”.

He said: “Is there another suspect you need to keep an eye on in this case? Only one person is on trial here sitting in the dock, Russell Bishop.

“But the law allows a defendant like him to point out facts and ask questions to the jury that might suggest the possibility that another person exists who may have carried out these awful attacks.

“We will ask questions of witnesses to show that when the girls went missing there was someone very close to them who has no alibi. That someone has a guilty secret. That he has been complicit in the sexual abuse of Nicola Fellows, which shows an interest in paedophilic sex.

“In the end it might mean he could not let Nicola Fellows tell the world what has been happening. “That person is her father, Barrie Fellows.”

Bishop, now 52, formerly from Brighton, denies two counts of murder.