Striking similarities between girls’ deaths and later sex attack, court told

A jury has heard of “striking and obvious” similarities between the deaths of two nine-year-old girls and a horrific sex attack on another young child three years later.

Russell Bishop was convicted of the kidnap, indecent assault and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl in 1990.

The attack came after he walked free from Lewes Crown Court on being cleared of murdering Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway.

The two girls were strangled and sexually assaulted in Wild Park, on the South Downs near Brighton, East Sussex, in October 1986.

Bishop is on trial for a second time over their deaths on the orders of the Court of Appeal in light of fresh DNA evidence.

Russell Bishop
Russell Bishop (Sussex Police/PA)

Detailing the 1990 attack, prosecutor Brian Altman QC told jurors: “We say the similarities between these offences and the 1986 murders are so striking and obvious that they, in combination with other evidence … point to him and only him as their killer.”

On February 4 1990, Bishop bundled the seven-year-old girl into the boot of a red Ford Cortina while she was out roller skating in Brighton.

He drove her 14 miles to Devil’s Dyke on the South Downs in West Sussex where he strangled and then stripped and molested her while she was unconscious.

Afterwards, he dumped the girl in dense gorse bushes where he “left her for dead” and chucked her roller skates into woods, the court heard.

Despite her injuries, the little girl survived and struggled out of the bushes to find help.

Mr Altman told the Old Bailey that all three victims were prepubescent girls, targeted in Brighton shortly before dusk.

All the offences involved strangulation followed by sexual assault, with the victims hidden in wooded or overgrown areas.

The prosecutor alleged that in both cases Bishop attempted to clean himself, his clothes or his car.

In 1986, he washed his clothes and had a bath when he got home while in 1990, he cleaned his car showing “forensic awareness”, it was alleged.

Bishop, now aged 52, formerly from Brighton, East Sussex, denies two counts of murder.

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