‘He destroyed my family and I believe these women helped him’: Babes in the Wood victim’s father, 71, threatens to take legal action against paedophile killer’s ex-girlfriends
- Barrie Fellows, daughter of murdered Nicola, played cricket with Russell Bishop
- He attended 52-year-old Bishop’s trial only to be cross-examined himself
- Mr Fellows denied any involvement and left court after weeping in witness box
- The 71-year-old blames blames two of Bishops former girlfriends for helping him evade justice 32 years ago
The father of a Babes in the Wood victim has revealed his 32 years of torment after murderer Russell Bishop attempted to frame him.
Barrie Fellows, 71, has pointed the finger of blame at two of Bishop’s ex-girlfriend’s, claiming they helped the sadistic Bishop escape justice.
Bishop 52, killed Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in Brighton in 1986 but was cleared of murder a year later.
Mr Fellows claims Marion Stevenson and Jenny Johnson helped Bishop evade justice in the original trial.
Barrie Fellows (pictured, left at the Old Bailey last month and, right, at the time of the murders in 1986) broke down and had to leave court after he was accused of killing his own daughter
Stevenson told police she saw Mr Fellows watching a film of his own daughter having sex, and Johnson originally said a blue sweatshirt at the scene belonged to Bishop.
But told the court in 1987 that the jumper at the scene did not belong to Bishop.
Mr Fellows told the Sunday People: ‘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.’
Mr Fellows is now considering legal action against the pair.
Russell Bishop, pictured (left) in prison in recent years and (right) after his initial arrest for the 1986 Babes in the Wood murders, was convicted today, 32 years after the girls were killed
The bodies of nine year olds Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway were found huddled together in a den in Wild Park in Brighton in 1986. They had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death.
Bishop, who played cricket with Nicola’s father, was charged with murder in 1986 but cleared a year later following a trial branded a ‘shambles’ by one of the lawyers involved.
A key aspect of the case was Johnson changing her story at the trial to claim a blue jumper was not Bishop’s- with DNA evidence at the new trial linking it directly to Bishop.
Mr Fellows added: ‘It sickens me, the sweatshirt belonged to the perverted killer of two innocent children. She hadn’t been mistaken.’
Bishop went on trial for a second time after a blue jumper he discarded near the scene ‘gave up its secrets’ under inspection using modern DNA techniques
The 71-year-old was questioned by police following his daughter’s death, and was forced to move from the area due to suspicions about his involvement.
At Bishop’s trial he was cross-examined and had to leave the court after weeping in the witness box as he was accused of killing the girls.
Bishop’s barrister Joel Bennathan QC had told jurors ‘that the police and prosecution have spent 32 years building a case against the wrong man’.
Prosecutor Brian Altman QC slammed the defence case, saying: ‘What you have seen unfolding before your eyes is the creation by the defendant of a smokescreen in the hope, quite literally, that he gets away with murder for the second time.’
Nicola Fellows (left) and Karen Hadaway (right) were found dead in woodland near Brighton in 1986. The case, known as the Babes in the Wood, went unsolved for more than 30 years
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Meanwhile, Bishop’s ex-girlfriend Stevenson previously said she could never forgive herself for not being able to save the girls.
She told The Sun: ‘I am just so, so sorry that I didn’t see him for the predator he is and I couldn’t keep those little girls safe.’
Stevenson added she was certain of Bishop’s guilt after he was cleared.
After being cleared in 1987, 52-year-old Bishop went on to attack another girl just three years later in 1990, molesting and strangling the youngster before leaving her for dead, a crime for which he was later jailed for life.
He was finally hauled back before court over the original Babes in the Woods murders of Nicola and Karen this year, after advances in DNA science meant a jumper he left near the victims linked him to the crime scene.
His conviction marked the end of the girls’ families’ 32 year wait for justice – and will raise questions over how he was ever allowed to walk free to attack again.
Bishop, who was jailed for life last week for a minimum of 36 years, will likely die in jail following his latest conviction.
How Russell Bishop’s defence was ‘strikingly similar’ to fellow lifer Levi Bellfield
Levi Bellfield, a fellow HMP Frankland lifer
Russell Bishop deployed a ‘cowardly’ defence seemingly straight from the playbook of Milly Dowler killer Levi Bellfield.
The 52-year-old cast suspicion on the father of one of his victims as a smokescreen for the overwhelming forensic evidence against him.
Seven years before, Bellfield, a fellow HMP Frankland lifer, had used a similar ploy, heaping further distress on 13-year-old Milly’s family.
After Milly’s father was grilled in cross-examination, Brian Altman QC, who coincidentally prosecuted both men, was moved to tell jurors: ‘The grieving parents are not on trial here.’
In his defence, Bishop pointed the finger at his nine-year-old victim Nicola Fellows’s father Barrie, a man who campaigned to keep the investigation going.
It was claimed Mr Fellows was violent towards his daughter, threatening to chop her hands off for stealing.
Bishop’s vulnerable ex-girlfriend was brought to court to stand by unsubstantiated claims she had made in a News of the World interview in 1987.
In her evidence, Marion Stevenson, 48, told jurors she had seen Mr Fellows watching a video of Nicola having sex with the lodger Dougie Judd a couple of months before her death. Both men denied it.
Under cross-examination, Ms Stevenson sobbed: ‘I lied, OK? I didn’t lie. I will tell you I lied because that’s what you want.’
In earlier legal argument in the absence of the jury, the prosecution opposed the move to allow her evidence, arguing it was not credible.
The court heard of 12 reasons why police had rejected her claims, not least the fact Nicola was a virgin when she died.
Ms Stevenson never mentioned the story to Bishop, lawyers or police after the girls were murdered and claimed to have been the only person who saw the video.
She told investigators she did ‘not know what I was saying’ in her interview after the News of the World plied her with champagne at a hotel.
Mr Justice Sweeney allowed her evidence, while issuing a warning to defence barrister Joel Bennathan QC.
The senior judge reminded him that to suggest Mr Fellows was ‘guilty of the gravest crime in the calendar’, he must ‘back it up with evidence’.
Nigel Pilkington, of the Crown Prosecution Service South East, said there were ‘striking similarities’ with what Bishop and Bellfield said in court.
He said: ‘It is the last refuge of these appalling criminals where they have nowhere to go.
‘Because of their cowardly nature they will cast around for essentially creating the most havoc they can.
‘That is what Russell Bishop has done. There is not a shred of evidence against Barrie Fellows, not realistically at all.’
Mr Pilkington said Bishop was intent on causing ‘more misery and tragedy for the family’.
He said: ‘I have seen this before and it will happen again.’
Detective Superintendent Jeff Riley, of Sussex Police, added: ‘I think it’s desperate measures by a desperate man.
‘When you see the impact on the families, and Barrie in particular, I think it is a particularly cruel way to run a defence but that’s the defendant.
‘I have got a very positive relationship with Barrie. Clearly he feels these allegations have hung over his head. I think it has always been there.’
In a final act of disrespect for the families of their victims, both Bellfield and Bishop refused to attend the end of their trials.
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