Paint evidence ‘links murdered girls with jumper allegedly worn by accused’

Paint evidence “strongly supports” the conclusion that the two Babes in the Wood murder victims came into contact with a jumper linked to their alleged killer, a court has heard.

Russell Bishop, 52, is on trial at the Old Bailey charged with the murders of nine-year-olds Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows.

The girls were sexually assaulted and strangled in Wild Park in Brighton in October 1986.

Bishop was acquitted of the murders in 1987, but was ordered to face a fresh trial in light of new evidence from advances in DNA testing.

The 52-year-old, formerly from Brighton, East Sussex, has denied two charges of murder.

Jurors heard that paint found on a sweatshirt allegedly linked to Bishop matched that found in the schoolgirls’ clothes and on Nicola’s neck.

The court heard the blue Pinto sweatshirt was found discarded on Bishop’s route home was also tested for DNA and paint.

A blue Pinto sweatshirt
A blue Pinto sweatshirt, allegedly worn by Russell Bishop (Sussex Police/PA)

Jurors heard multiple paint flecks and paintballs were found on the sweatshirt as well as flecks in the girls’ clothes.

Expert Dr Louissa Marsh said it was likely that the paint had transferred to their clothes during “recent contact” with the jumper.

She told the Old Bailey that the paint samples were not likely to have come from previous contact with Bishop and his vehicles.

Dr Marsh added: “In my opinion, the likelihood of paint flecks found on the girls’ clothes and skin having originated from contact with Mr Bishop or his vehicles or locations from several weeks previously is extremely small and can essentially be discounted.

“My findings provide very strong support for the proposition that Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows had come into recent contact with the sweatshirt.”

Dr Marsh said that either the girls came into contact with the Pinto sweatshirt or an object with paint with the same chemical and optical properties.

The court heard that paint on the sweatshirt also matched the paint found on a Mini which Bishop had spray-painted.

Jurors were told paint from two outhouses in Stephens Road, where Bishop was living at time, matched samples on the Pinto sweatshirt.

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