£1.5M Babes Murder Blunder (13.12.87)

The People, 13th December 1987

People131287a People131287b

“In 1990 he was convicted of the attempted murder, kidnap and indecent assault of a girl from Whitehawk, Brighton, at Devil’s Dyke. In court in 1990 police said they felt Bishop, then 33 and from Brighton, had been wrongly acquitted of the Wild Park murders. Now the families of the strangled girls hope to present a petition to the Home Secretary calling for Bishop never to be released.” The Argus 05.09.13

“The child sex attacker who was the prime suspect in the notorious ‘Babes in the Wood’ murders in 1986 could soon walk free from jail. Tragic Nicola Fellows, 10, and Karen Hadaway, nine, went missing 28 years ago today and their bodies were later found in a park in Brighton, East Sussex. Russell Bishop, then 19, was found not guilty of the killings a year later but was jailed for life for the attempted murder and rape of another young girl in 1991.” Daily Mail 10.10.14

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1 comment
  1. Kate MacDonald said:

    Transcript:

    £1.5M BABES MURDER BLUNDER (The People, 13th December 1987)

    Police made an amazing series of blunders in preparing their case against Babes In The Wood murder suspect Russell Bishop, we can reveal today.
    A police source has disclosed that Bishop was charged while some detectives were doubtful they had enough evidence to make the prosecution stick.
    Their fears were confirmed at Lewes Crown Court last week when the flimsy forensic evidence on which the whole £1 1/2 million case was built foundered and Bishop was acquitted after the jury had deliberated for just two hours.
    In the biggest inquiry Sussex police had ever mounted, we can now reveal that detectives:
    FAILED to analyse blood on victim Karen Hadaway’s underwear.
    FAILED to identify three hairs found on the private parts of the other nine-year-old victim Nicola Fellows.
    FAILED to run forensic tests on two anoraks, a knife and used contraceptives found near the murder spot.
    FAILED to run tests on clothing of eight other suspects.
    FAILED to try to lift fingerprints from the throats of the strangled girls.
    FAILED to protect their key exhibit—a sweatshirt—and allowed it to be handled by at least four officers before it was examined by forensic experts.
    They also allowed junior detectives to conduct vital interviews of Bishop.
    Now Bishop’s legal adviser, top criminal lawyer Ralph Haeems, has called for a searching inquiry into the way police handled the case.
    Haeems said: “It was obvious once the case started how flimsy their evidence was.
    “It should never have been brought to court. Russell Bishop should never have been charged.
    “The police grasped at straws in their bid to seek a conviction.
    “Now despite their inadequacies, they are trying to make a nonsense of the jury system by ignoring the verdict which has gone against them and saying the case is closed.
    “By doing that they are condemning Bishop even though he is innocent.
    “The cost of the four-week trial and the earlier dozen remands totalled more than £1million.”
    The police inquiry, which the judge was told was even bigger than the Brighton bomb case, cost an estimated £1/2million.
    A Sussex police spokesman last night denied any incompetence.
    He said: “We don’t care what anyone says.
    “Everything that needed to be done was done.”

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