21 January 2022

Key dates in the Babes in the Wood case

21 January 2022

Babes in the Wood killer Russell Bishop has died in hospital, four years after being jailed for murdering two schoolgirls in the 1980s.

Here is how the case unfolded:

– October 9 1986: Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway go missing while out playing in Wild Park, Brighton, after school. Bishop is seen in the area shortly before.

– October 10 1986: Bishop and his dog Misty join the search, which ends when two 18-year-olds find their bodies in a woodland den.

– October 31: Bishop, who had already been spoken to by police, is formally arrested and interviewed under caution.

– December 3 1986: He is remanded in custody after being charged with the murders.

Russell Bishop has died in hospital, the Prison Service said (Sussex Police/PA) (PA Media)

– December 10 1987: Bishop is acquitted of the murders.

– February 4 1990: Bishop abducts a seven-year-old girl and sexually assaults and throttles her, leaving her for dead at Devil’s Dyke.

– December 13 1990: Bishop is convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to life.

– December 20 1993: A Pinto sweatshirt discarded on Bishop’s route home, and found as part of the 1986 investigation, is taken to Aldermaston to be examined by forensic scientists. DNA testing at this stage is unsuccessful.

– February 1994: Bishop serves an unsuccessful writ against Sussex Police and gives evidence at the High Court.

– 1998: Karen’s father, Lee Hadaway, dies without seeing his daughter’s killer brought to justice.

– July 23 2002: The Pinto sweatshirt is submitted to the Forensic Science Service to examine a bloodstained cuff, prompted by a Parole Board hearing.

– 2003: The law on double jeopardy is passed, paving the way for Bishop’s acquittal to be quashed if new evidence can be found.

– August 2003: Results of DNA testing on the Pinto sweatshirt indicate more than two contributors, but are considered unsuitable for comparison against the national DNA database.

– December 2005: More forensic work is carried out and fibres provide “very strong support” for the suggestion the Pinto sweatshirt was linked to Bishop’s home. Hairs from it are also linked to Bishop. But the CPS concluded the evidence is not yet strong enough for a retrial.

– 2011: A further forensic review is led by LGC Limited in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

– August 2012: Cold case specialist Roy Green, from LGC, receives boxes of retained material from the Forensic Archive, including tapings from the post-mortem examinations of the girls.

– November 2013: Detective Superintendent Jeff Riley is appointed senior investigating officer in the cold case. Mr Green informs police he has an almost complete DNA profile matching Bishop on the right cuff of the Pinto. Future forensic work is agreed, to look at fibres, paint, hair, and to deploy a new DNA-17 test as well as continuity of evidence.

– June 2015: Mr Green finds fibres and DNA linking Bishop and the victims to the Pinto sweatshirt. Bishop’s DNA was found on a swab from Karen’s left forearm. Dr Louisa Marsh connects the girls to the Pinto by paint flecks, also connected with Bishop’s paintwork.

– May 10 2016: Bishop is taken from Frankland prison and re-arrested for the murders.

– December 12 2017: Bishop is ordered to stand trial for the murders a second time, under double jeopardy rules, in light of “new and compelling evidence”.

– February 2018: Bishop makes his first appearance at the Old Bailey and denies the murders. The trial begins in October.

– December 10 2018: Bishop is convicted at the Old Bailey of the crimes, on the 31st anniversary of his acquittal in 1987.

– January 20 2022: Bishop, who was serving his sentence in HMP Frankland in County Durham and had cancer, dies in hospital.

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