THE uncle of a victim in the Babes in the Wood murders has spoken out after a tribute bench in their memory was damaged by a barbecue.

The bench with a plaque to Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in Wild Park has been left charred and melted after the “disgusting” act.

Nicola’s uncle Nigel Heffron said: “The woman who did this barbecue has got to be ashamed of what’s she’s done. Fully ashamed. 

“The bench is being repaired and will be put back in again. A company has come forward to repair it and the family is fully, fully grateful.”

The Argus:

A witness said the damage was caused by “an Irish woman with her kids” on Sunday.
Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed it will be replacing or repairing the bench, depending on the wishes of the families.

A spokesman said: “We are very sad to hear that this memorial bench has been damaged.

“We would be happy to repair or replace the bench.

“But above all we want to make sure the wishes of the families are respected.

“So we will be working with the police to contact them and discuss their wishes before deciding anything.

“We would appeal to all our residents and visitors to use disposable barbecues respectfully and dispose of them safely.”

Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway were murdered by Russell Bishop in 1986.

Bishop was 20 years old when he sexually assaulted and strangled the nine-year-olds in a woodland den.

The damage caused by the barbecue has been branded “disgusting” and “stupid” by residents.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “We can currently find no record of this having been previously reported to the police.

“However, we will investigate and anyone with information can contact Sussex Police either online at or by calling 101, quoting serial 955 of 08/06.”

The bench was co-funded by Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex Police five years ago.

Last month, The Argus reported that the BBC agreed to speak with Karen’s mother to discuss how her murdered daughter’s clothing was lost.

The grieving mum said BBC reporter Martin Bashir took away her clothing for DNA testing in 1991 but never returned it.

Michelle Hadaway said Mr Bashir in 1991 signed a note to say he was taking clothes.

Ms Hadaway called for an investigation similar to the Lord Dyson report into Mr Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana and claimed she was considering the prospect of taking legal action.