THE Babes in the Wood murders shocked the nation after the bodies of two young girls were found in woods near Brighton in 1986.

Russell Bishop was finally charged with the murders in 2018 – 32 years later – and died in prison in January 2022.

Who is Russell Bishop?

Russell Bishop was convicted in 2018 of brutally murdering two schoolgirls in 1986.

He was dubbed the Babes in the Wood murderer after the bodies of Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway were found huddled together in Wild Park near Brighton.

Bishop was sentenced to life in prison in December 2018 after he was found guilty of the murders of the two nine-year-old girls 32 years earlier.

He was 20 years old at the time of the murders and working as a roofer in the Hollingdean area of Brighton.

He lived with his partner, Jennie Johnson, but also had a 16-year-old girlfriend.

Bishop joined the search for the two schoolgirls just hours after brutally murdering them.

What did Russell Bishop do?

Russell Bishop molested and strangled the two schoolgirls to death in 1986 but was cleared of the double murder a year later.

Just three years after Bishop walked free, he was sentenced to life for the kidnap, sexual assault and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl at Devil's Dyke on the South Downs.

The girl survived the attack and identified Bishop as her assailant.

In October 2018 he went on trial again for the murders of Nicola and Karen after the Court of Appeal gave the Crown Prosecution Service the authority to quash acquittals.

He was on trial for the second time over the killings under the double jeopardy law following a DNA breakthrough.

The court heard that samples taken from the left forearm of one of the girls in 1986 had been re-examined in 2014 and matched the crucial blue sweatshirt that linked it to Bishop's home and the girls.

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Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway were murdered in 1986Credit: PA:Press Association

The jury was told how Bishop had sexually assaulted and strangled the girls with the court describing him as a "violent" and "predatory paedophile".

The two girls had gone to buy chips before playing together in Wild Park – half a mile from their homes – until dusk. 

Their bodies were discovered the next day in a woodland den with post mortem results revealing both girls had been strangled to death. 

Their underwear had either been removed or changed and there was evidence they were both sexually assaulted. 

Jurors heard that Karen would have lost consciousness but death would not have been instant.

Nicola appeared to have been "punched or struck" on the cheek and there was evidence she had been sexually assaulted while alive and after she died.

What was Russell Bishop's cause of death?

After four years caged, the monster, 55, died in hospital on January 20 just hours after being rushed there from top security HMP Frankland, Co Durham.

His last moments were spent alone, watched over only by a pair of prison officers as his life ebbed away.

A source said: "Bishop spent his last weeks in relative peace – a world away from the torment he has caused the girls' families. 

"There will be few tears shed for his passing." 

Bishop was taken to hospital yesterday after his health deteriorated rapidly in prison. 

And by the afternoon of January 20, a local undertaker had been placed on standby. 

Sources said that he was rushed to hospital after suffering from breathing difficulties and passed away shortly before 9pm last night.

Bishop's own relatives were informed overnight of his death, which came just three weeks before his 56th birthday.

His death will now be referred to the coroner. 

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