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    The two little girls were murdered after they went to play after school in Brighton in 1986

    Thirty Years After Acquittal, Man on Trial in UK for Murder of Two Little Girls

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    Russell Bishop, a former roofer who walked free after being found not guilty of killing two nine-year-old girls in Brighton in 1986 is on trial again. In the time since his not guilty verdict, Bishop has served time for sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl.

    Prosecutor, Brian Altman QC, told a jury at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, October 16, that advances in DNA profiling had led to Russell Bishop, being put on trial again.

    Bishop, 52, has always denied murdering Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, whose deaths in October 1986 received huge media attention at the time.

    "This defendant was arrested in 1986, charged and…on 10 December 1987 he was acquitted by a jury at Lewes Crown Court. Despite the acquittal, the case was never closed and the police have continued to investigate it," Mr. Altman told the jury.

    Nicola and her best friend Karen went missing on the night of October 9, 1986, after going out to play together on the Moulsecoomb housing estate after school.

    Bodies Found in Woodland

    Their bodies were found the following day in woods at Wild Park on the outskirts of Brighton, a seaside resort in southern England which often hosts political party conferences.

    Their semi-naked bodies were found in dense woods. Both had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

    "That grim discovery led to the largest and longest-running police inquiry Sussex Police has ever known," said Mr. Altman.

    He warned the jurors they would be shown horrific pictures of the girls' dead bodies.

    "These images need to be shown because they show the defendant knew important detail about the situation and condition of the girls at the scene that only the killer could have known," Mr. Altman told the jury.

    "DNA profiling, which, although available in 1986 and 1987, was then in its infancy," he said.

    Latest DNA Techniques Have Been Used

    But he said new DNA techniques had been used to tests original items of evidence.

    As a result, the Court of Appeal has quashed Bishop's 1987 acquittals and ordered him to face a new trial, which is expected to last up to eight weeks.

    "However, the case against him does not only rely on scientific evidence. It relies on it within the context of the story of the case as a whole, including the defendant's movements, his actions and what he had to say to the police, including, as you will see, significant lies he told at the time," Mr. Altman told the jury.

    He said the killings were motivated by a pedophilic interest in young girls and were carried out "by a man who sexually assaulted them for his own gratification."

    ​In 1990 Bishop — who was only 20 at the time of the murders — was convicted of the kidnap, indecent assault and attempted murder of another girl, this time aged seven, in Brighton.

    "The similarities between the events of which he was convicted in 1990 and those in 1986 are such that, together with all other evidence in the case, they can lead you to the sure conclusion that the defendant was responsible also for the murders of Nicola and Karen but a few years earlier," Mr. Altman told the jury.

    The trial continues.

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    acquittal, girls, trial, murder, police, DNA, Brighton
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