THE family of one of the Babes in the Wood victims say they are relieved the killer "cannot harm another child again" following his death from cancer.

Ian Heffron, uncle of Nicola Fellows, spoke out after it was revealed that Russell Bishop had died.

He said: "We have got a form of closure, it won't bring the girls back but we can at least know that he will never ever attack another child.

"We're, in a way, angry that fate has not allowed him to serve the right sentence, he was only sentenced for 36 years back in 2018, so he has only done really three years of that.

The Argus: Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway were murdered aged 9Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway were murdered aged 9

"He was punished for what he did to the other girl, quite rightly, but fate has given him a release and I just wish he'd spent more time dwelling on what he did."

Bishop murdered Nicola and her best friend Karen Hadaway, both aged nine, in 1986 in Brighton's Wild Park.

He sexually assaulted the girls after luring them into the park before strangling them in what became known as the Babes in the Wood murders.

He escaped justice for 32 years following errors by police, forensic experts and prosecutors. He was eventually convicted of the murders in December 2018 due to advances in DNA technology.

The Argus: File photo dated 11/10/86 of forensic experts preparing to go into the wood where the bodies of Nicola and Karen were found File photo dated 11/10/86 of forensic experts preparing to go into the wood where the bodies of Nicola and Karen were found

In 1990, Bishop was jailed for the kidnapping, indecent assault and attempted murder of another young girl, aged seven. He left her at Devil's Dyke to die, but she survived.

Both the Heffron and the Hadaway families approached the parole board every two years after 2004 to ask them not to release Bishop, something Mr Heffron said took its toll on them all.

He said: "Not a day goes by that we don't miss the girls, we can never bring them back but he's no longer here, thankfully, he doesn't pose a threat - so there is relief.

"He will have met his maker and hopefully his maker will do the right thing and pull the trap door and drop him straight where he belongs, into hell.

"He was a vile, evil, predator paedophile."

The Argus: Ian HeffronIan Heffron

He said there is a sense of closure and the families can now rest without the fear than Bishop could leave prison.

"It's a huge relief that we don't have to worry about him any more, it's the final end to that chapter. An evil man is now gone, the relief is not just for us but for the community, they can know that he cannot harm another child again," he said.

Mr Heffron hopes the people of Brighton find comfort in the fact that at least a "vile paedophile is not around".

He thanked the community on behalf of the families, saying: "We are so grateful to Brighton for the support over the many years. For everything they did to help, thank you so much to the people of Brighton for their kindness."