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Convicted paedophile sentenced to life in prison for double murder of 9 year-old girls in 1986

Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows went missing after going out to play on the evening of 9 October 1986.

Photographs of Nicola Fellows (top) and Karen Hadaway near their memorial tree in Wild Park in Brighton, East Sussex, where their bodies where found together following their murders in 1986
Photographs of Nicola Fellows (top) and Karen Hadaway near their memorial tree in Wild Park in Brighton, East Sussex, where their bodies where found together following their murders in 1986
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

A CONVICTED PAEDOPHILE has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of two schoolgirls in the UK in 1986.

Russell Bishop was found guilty of murdering Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows near Brighton, 31 years after being acquitted of the crimes, at the Court of Appeal yesterday.

The pair went missing from their home after going out to play on the evening of 9 October 1986.

Their bodies were found in a secluded woods nearby the following afternoon.

Bishop arrested soon after, but he was acquitted of their murders at a trial in 1987, in a case that became known as the ‘Babes in the Wood’.

However, the conviction was brought after a fresh investigation by Sussex Police, which led the Crown Prosecution Service to apply to the Court of Appeal to quash the original acquittal of Bishop under the ‘double jeopardy’ law.

Russell Bishop court case A file photo of Russell Bishop Source: PA Wire/PA Images

After a retrial, the 52-year-old was convicted of both murders. The prosecution showed the jury how Bishop sought to conceal his crimes through his lies.

DNA evidence was also used, which showed a one-in-a-billion DNA match to a sweatshirt Bishop was wearing and which was at the scene of the murders.

In a victim impact statement today, Karen Hadaway’s mother described Bishop as an “evil monster” and the second trial was “traumatic and heartbreaking”, according to The Guardian.

Nigel Pilkington from the CPS added that yesterday’s verdicts marked the end of a 32-year fight for justice for the families of both girls.

With additional reporting from Ceimin Burke.

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