Babes in the Wood killer has 'weeks to live' with brain cancer

Babes in the Wood killer Russell Bishop, 55, is told he has ‘weeks to live’ after being diagnosed with brain cancer in prison

  • Russell Bishop was diagnosed with bowel cancer which has spread to his brain
  • He is receiving palliative care at HMP Frankland where he is locked up
  • The child killer was finally jailed for the 1986 double murder in 2018 

Babes in the Wood murderer Russell Bishop is dying from brain cancer in his prison cell, aged 55.

Bishop, who brutally killed Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in 1986 when they were aged just nine years old, has been told he has weeks to live.

The child killer escaped justice for 32 years before he was jailed in 2018.

Babes in the Wood murderer Russell Bishop is dying from brain cancer in his prison cell, aged 55

Bishop brutally killed Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in 1986 when they were aged just nine years old

The paedophile was initially diagnosed with bowel cancer but it has now spread to his brain, The Sun on Sunday reports. 

Bishop underwent surgery in a bid to stop the cancerous growth but it was unsuccessful.

He is said to be ‘devastated’ by the diagnosis and is having palliative care at HMP Frankland in County Durham where he is being held.

A source said: ‘Bishop has weeks or, at most, months left and he is devastated by the diagnosis. 

Russell Bishop, pictured after his initial arrest for the 1986 Babes in the Wood murders

The girls were found dead in this ‘den’ in undergrowth in Wild Park, Brighton after he struck

‘His life is ebbing away and he is getting progressively weaker.   

‘Bishop has never shown much remorse for what he did so people feel justified in not feeling much sympathy towards him.’

Bishop lured the two best friends to a secluded den in Brighton’s Wild Park where he sexually assaulted and strangled them. 

The tragic discovery was made just half a mile from both of the girl’s family homes. 

Bishop was cleared of the Babes in the Wood murders in 1987 after a series of blunder by police, forensic experts and prosecutors.

Within three years he went on to kidnap, molest and throttle a seven-year-old girl at Devil’s Dyke.

While serving life for that crime, Bishop was ordered to face a fresh trial for Nicola and Karen’s murders in light of a DNA breakthrough.

In 2017 Bishop’s acquittals were quashed and the following year he was found guilty after a trial.  

Pictured: A blue Pinto sweatshirt, allegedly worn by Bishop and said to contain vital DNA evidence, which was found beside a path behind Moulsecoomb railway station 

Karen Hadaway’s mother, Michelle (pictured), claims Martin Bashir took her daughter’s clothes and then never saw him, or the items, again

The long road to justice

October 10, 1986 – Victims found in woods in Wild Park, Brighton.  

December 3, 1986 – Bishop charged with the murders. 

December 10, 1987 – After a four week trial, Bishop is acquitted of both murders and released. 

February 4, 1990 – Bishop arrested for kidnap, indecent assault and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl at Devil’s Dyke, East Sussex. 

January 19, 1991 – Bishop convicted of kidnap, indecent assault and attempted murder and sentenced to life with a minimum of 14 years. 

July 2002 – Babes in the Wood case subject to review and DNA profiling, but was not a success. 

April 2005 – Double jeopardy laws – on people being able to be tried twice for same offence twice – are changed.  

January 2006 – Forensic tests link Bishop and the Pinto sweatshirt. 

Autumn 2006 – Families of both victims informed there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a fresh case against Bishop. 

2011-2012 – Cold case review of the murders.  

November 3, 2013 – Full reinvestigation of forensics. 

May 10, 2016 – Russell Bishop rearrested. 

December 2017 – His acquittal was quashed. 

December 2018 – He is finally convicted of the murders.

This summer, Bishop’s girlfriend Jennifer Johnson, 55, was convicted for perverting the course of justice for lying in his first trial.

Johnson stunned police in the dock after suddenly claiming a blue jumper that linked him to the crimescene and killings was not his. She had previously told investigators it had been his garment. 

Johnson had admitted lying, but had pleaded not guilty to perjury and perverting the course of justice, on the basis that she was acting under duress.

But the jury at Lewes Crown Court decided she was lying again and had been ‘part of Team Bishop’, desperate to get him cleared of murder.

Love letters sent from Johnson to him during the Devils Dyke case and shown to these jurors, had laid bare the lengths she would go to for him.

They trilled: ‘I’m not going to leave you so don’t worry because I won’t. cos I love you very much and I will write every day because you’re special to me and you mean all the world too.

‘Don’t get worried when I’m not up with your mum as I can’t get a babysitter all the time but I’m still thinking of you love.

‘Can we get married quite soon and I will book the church OK? It is wonderful that you want to marry me. It’s not prison talk is it love? I haven’t got a lot to say so bye for now.’ 

The case was also brought to recent public attention after the mother of murdered Karen Hadaway accused journalist Martin Bashir of losing her daughter’s clothes.

Michelle Hadaway says the former BBC religion editor obtained the clothes for DNA testing for BBC Two’s Public Eye programme 30 years ago, but the investigation did not air and her calls to the broadcaster were ignored, she claimed.

Ms Hadaway previously said Mr Bashir approached her in 1991 and asked to have her daughter’s clothing DNA tested, saying that science had advanced in the five years since the murders, but never returned the clothes. 

She called him a ‘dishonest rogue’ and called for a criminal investigation after she claimed he delayed the killer’s capture.

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