A ROOFER will stand trial over the 1986 murders of Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway.

Russell Bishop is to face a trial at the Old Bailey over Brighton’s most notorious unsolved murder.

Appearing in court via video link yesterday, muscular Bishop, formerly of Hollingdean, Brighton, pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder dating back to October 9, 1986.

Balding Bishop, now 51, was dressed in a navy blue and white striped polo shirt and wore glasses. He spoke only to confirm his name during the hearing at London’s Central Criminal Court.

Judge Mr Justice Edis authorised some matters discussed during the hearing to be published.

At an earlier hearing on January 26, the senior judge set a trial at the Old Bailey for October 15.

The case prosecuted by Alison Morgan is expected to go on for six to eight weeks.

Bishop, who was represented by Nicholas Peacock, was remanded into custody.

A further pre-trial hearing is due to be held in early September on a date to be fixed.

Moulsecoomb neighbours Nicola and Karen were reported missing from their homes in Newick Road on October 9, 1986. More than 150 uniformed police, 30 detectives, relatives and friends joined the search.

Their bodies were discovered on October 10 in the undergrowth at Wild Park.

Nicola and Karen’s families have been fighting for justice for more than 30 years and hold a vigil at the tree nearest to where they were last seen alive to mark the anniversary every year.

Nicola’s father Barrie Fellows previously described their grief as “like someone wrenching my heart out and putting it back in the wrong way”.

Karen’s parents, Michelle Johnson and Lee Hadaway, were so distraught over their daughter’s death they decided they could no longer live in the house they had shared with their little girl, moving away to Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

Ms Johnson’s health suffered over the years as she tried to come to terms with what had happened.

Mr Hadaway died in September 1998. His family said he never got over the death of his daughter and died of a broken heart.

Karen’s mother told The Argus on the 25th anniversary of their deaths: “It will always be like it was yesterday. It will never be gone from my mind.”

Nicola’s parents Barrie Fellows and Susan Eismann were so devastated by their daughter’s death that their marriage did not survive.

Ms Eismann previously told The Argus: “It does not get any easier. People say that it does but it doesn’t.

“Every year, as the time comes nearer, it brings it all back again.”

A memorial bench near the spot where the girls died in Wild Park was vandalised in April 2016. At the time Nicola’s uncle Ian Heffron said: “It’s heartbreaking to think that someone could damage the memorial knowing its significance. It’s there to show how much we miss the girls.”

Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council replaced the bench.