A DETECTIVE in the Babes in the Wood investigation has been accused of “gaslighting” the girlfriend of the killer, a court heard.

Jennifer Johnson is accused of perverting the course of justice to allow killer Russell Bishop to evade justice over the murder of two nine-year-old girls in Wild Park, Brighton.

Bishop was acquitted of the 1986 murders of Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway at a trial at Lewes Crown Court in 1987, but was convicted in 2018 and jailed for life.

Johnson, 55, is on trial in connection with evidence given about a blue Pinto sweatshirt, which linked Bishop to the crime scene.

At Lewes Crown Court it was revealed how she was quizzed by police about her relationship with Bishop, with whom she had three children, and his relationship to then teenager Marion Stevenson.

It is claimed a detective “gaslighted” her, a term which means they used emotional abuse to manipulate Johnson.

Johnson now admits she lied in court at his first trial but says she was put under pressure by the Bishop family and police.

Chris Henley, QC for the defence, asked a former Sussex Police officer if he thought his behaviour was bullying when he questioned Ms Johnson about Bishop and his relationship with 16-year-old Marion Stevenson.

Police had gone to the flat she shared with Bishop in Brighton to show Ms Johnson the blue sweatshirt which could have linked him to the murder scene.

Mr Henley told former PC David ‘Spud’ Edwards his account of the conversation on October 31, 1986 was nonsense.

“You press on,” Mr Henley said. “You challenged her. You thought that was appropriate?”

Ms Johnson told the officer Bishop was not seeing Marion Stevenson any longer.

“But that wasn’t good enough for you,” Mr Henley told the jury. “You asked her ‘How do you know he doesn’t see her when he goes out at night’.

“Why on Earth did you ask that? It’s absolutely none of your business. You’re gaslighting her.”

Mr Edwards said: “I thought it was the next right question to ask. She didn’t ask me to stop asking the questions.”

Earlier the court heard Johnson will say she was terrorised by her former partner and his family and she had no faith in the police to protect her.

Bishop’s mother Sylvia arrived at the flat and “tore into” her after she gave police a statement, Mr Edwards said.

Alison Morgan QC for the prosecution asked the former detective Mr Edwards if anything suggested Jennifer Johnson was vulnerable.

“No, not at all,” he said.

She asked the former policeman if he had any concerns about the conduct of Mrs Bishop towards Jennifer Johnson before the officer left the house.

“No, I did not,” he said.

The court heard Jennifer Johnson accused her former partner of committing the Babes in the Wood murders before lying in court to help him get away with it.

Ms Johnson told police she would have shopped him if she believed he had committed the murders.

She told police she was suspicious after something Bishop said to her and confronted him, accusing him and Marion Stevenson of killing the two nine-year-old girls.

In a statement read to the court by Alison Morgan, Mr Edwards noted: “She said: ‘Well, a couple of days ago he said something to me and I said you and that f****** slag done it’.

“You meant the two little girls, and she said: ‘Yes’.

“You said why did you say that then?

“She said I can’t remember.”

Jennifer Johnson, of Saunders Park View, Brighton, denies perverting the course of justice and perjury.

The trial at Lewes Crown Court continues.

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