The dad of one of the Babes in the Wood murder victims has told how his nightmare goes on despite seeing his girl’s killer finally sentenced this week.
Barrie Fellows, 71, angrily blames two of paedophile Russell Bishop’s former girlfriends for helping him escape justice for 32 years.
Barrie, whose daughter Nicola and her pal Karen Hadaway, both aged nine, were murdered by Bishop, said: “He destroyed my family and I believe these women helped him.”
Today the devastated dad points the finger of blame at…
Marion Stevenson : She claimed after the original trial in 1987 that she had seen Barrie watching a porn video featuring his daughter and a lodger.
Despite a police investigation which cleared the dad, Ms Stevenson repeated the slurs at this month’s re-trial.
Jenny Johnson : She told police a blue sweatshirt found near the murder scene belonged to Bishop but changed her story at the original trial to say it was not his. New DNA evidence at the retrial proved the shirt DID belong to the murderous pervert.
Now Barrie is threatening to take private legal action against the two women unless police act.
He said: “These women helped him take my family away, piece by piece, over the last 30 years.
“In some respects they are just as bad as him. They are going to pay too, if we have our way.”
Barrie’s daughter and Karen went missing in Brighton after going out to play on the evening of October 9, 1986.
They were strangled and sexually assaulted before their bodies were found in woods nearby next afternoon.
The case against Bishop fell apart after Jenny Johnson retracted a signed statement in which she said she gave him a jumper found discarded nearby.
The garment would later prove crucial as a one-in-a-billion DNA match on it tied Bishop to the scene.
Barrie said: “It sickens me that she knew the sweatshirt belonged to the perverted killer of two innocent children. She hadn’t been mistaken.
“She realised that what she had said would probably put him away for life. She went on to have another baby with him after he was acquitted.”
After his acquittal Bishop’s other girlfriend Marion Stevenson accused Barrie of watching a porn film featuring his own daughter and a lodger.
As Barrie and Nicola’s mum Susan grieved their lost child, they were forced to leave their Brighton home to get away from the vile slurs.
They later divorced under the strain, before Barrie moved to Cheshire to try to start a new life.
Barrie said: “I knew Marion to say ‘hello’ to but not much more. But somehow she developed a deep dislike towards me.
“That’s all I can assume to explain what she did to me after Bishop was cleared.”
He added: “It had a terrible effect on me and my family.
“Enough people believed there was no smoke without fire and eventually it got so bad we were virtually driven out back to London.
“My marriage to Sue didn’t survive. Bishop was laughing his socks off. He was off the hook and his victim’s father was in the frame.”
Barrie was arrested in 2009 after Marion made a formal complaint to police, but cleared for a second time by officers who found no case to answer.
He said: “I still can’t understand how she could do that to a man who never stops missing his daughter. So people will understand my hatred of her.
“‘Why me?’ I thought. ‘What have I done?’ All I have done is lost my little girl.”
During Bishop’s retrial at the Old Bailey this month his defence team again raised the slurs, pointing the finger at grieving Barrie.
Prosecutors slammed the tactic, insisting “There is not a shred of evidence against Barrie Fellows.” Barrie, who had to walk out of the court, said: “I thought I’d escaped their lies.
“I thought the new evidence would nail him once and for all.
“But he was desperate to try and smear me again. It’s like he wanted to take me down with him.”
Barrie recalled the moment in 1986 when volunteer searchers – including Bishop – found the girls’ bodies.
After excited yells another volunteer told the dad: “I’m afraid they’re dead.”
Barrie said: “That’s when I lost it big time. I swung without thinking at the nearest copper and went completely off my head. Everyone jumped on me. But I was like a madman. It took a lot of them to pin me down. It was like one of my worst epileptic fits.”
The following year Bishop was cleared at Lewes crown court.
Three years later, in a chilling repeat attempt, he snatched a seven-year-old girl off a Brighton street, bundled her into the boot of his car and drove 14 miles to beauty spot.
He raped the girl and tried to murder her but was caught and jailed for life.
Ancient double jeopardy laws prevented him from being tried twice over the Babes in the Wood killings until the rule was scrapped in 2005.
But the family faced a further 13-year wait until new evidence and advanced DNA testing tied him to the scene.
Jenny Johnson could now be investigated for perjury over allegations she lied about Bishop’s sweatshirt during the original trial. Det Supt Jeff Riley of Sussex Police said: “At the time she was called as a prosecution witness.
“She turned into a hostile witness during the first trial, denied that the sweatshirt was his and said that the police had faked her signature.
“The law has now changed.”
Nigel Pilkington, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said the result of the 1987 trial could have been “wholly different” if Miss Johnson had not changed her story.
Mr Pilkington added: “Obviously if somebody has not told the truth in a case which has been a miscarriage of justice for 32 years, that’s a serious matter, if it turns out to be so. But we will wait to see if police make a decision to investigate.”
Barrie and his brother Nigel say they will launch private prosecutions against Ms Johnson and Marion Stevenson if police do not act. Barrie added: “The police should investigate Marion Stevenson for perjury over the lies she has told about me.
“She thinks she has got away with adding to my misery over Nicky’s death. She’s wrong.”
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