Evil kid-killer brazenly joined search for victims but it led to him being caged

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Double murderer Russell Bishop died this year in the same notorious prison that caged other child-killing monsters like Ian Huntley and Levi Bellfield.

His death from cancer at HMP Frankland in Durham was welcomed by many who remembered the chilling murders of two little girls in 1986.

Russell Bishop was 20 when he sexually assaulted and strangled little pals Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in a woodland park their parents had warned them to stay away from. The day after, the twisted killer joined the search for his young victims.

He told police his dog Misty was a trained tracker and was so skilled it had been insured for £17,000.

Two 18-year-old lads found the girls' bodies but Bishop would later describe details of the scene which only the killer could have known, including foam around the mouth of one of the girls.

The case, dubbed Babes in the Woods, shocked the nation and cast a lasting shadow over the tight-knit community of Moulsecoomb, on the edge of the South Downs.

And it would be another 30 years before Bishop was found guilty of the horrific crimes and finally brought to justice.

Bishop had spotted the girls playing in the park near their home on October 9, 1986, and seized his opportunity. They were sexually assaulted and strangled before being dumped in undergrowth on a steep embankment.

Bishop was already known for his twisted interest in little girls and there were rumours that he encouraged local teens to appear in homemade pornographic films that were passed around to men on the estate.

Bishop was charged with the girls' murders shortly after. But his lies at the infamous 1987 trial, along with errors made by the investigating officers, saw the killer acquitted.

And within three years, he went on to kidnap, molest and throttle a seven-year-old girl, leaving her for dead at Devils Dyke on the edge of the Sussex seaside city.

It was while serving life for this horrific attempted murder that a DNA breakthrough led to a fresh murder trial under the double jeopardy law.

A sweatshirt discarded on Bishop's route home was linked to the defendant by DNA while fibre, paint and ivy transfers placed it at the scene of the murder.

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Tests on a sample from Karen's left forearm also revealed a "one in a billion" DNA match to Bishop.

Bishop tailored his defence to the new forensic evidence, claiming he touched the girls to feel for a pulse when the bodies were found, even though the teenagers who made the grim discovery insisted he never got near.

He was finally convicted of the killings of Karen and Nicola in 2018, and jailed for life to serve a minimum term of 36 years.


Karen's heartbroken father Lee Hadaway had sadly died without seeing his daughter's killer brought to justice.

Last year, Jennifer Johnson, the former girlfriend of Bishop, was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Mother-of-four Johnson lied about the crucial sweatshirt in the original trial, despite admitting it was Johnson’s in an earlier interview.

She was accused of having lied “prolifically” and significantly undermining Bishop’s original trial, resulting in the monster being acquitted of the brutal murders.

  • Serial Killers
  • Murder
  • Crime

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