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Russell Bishop trial: Jurors retrace last steps of schoolgirls murdered in 1986

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Jurors have retraced the last steps of two nine-year-old girls who were murdered in woodland 32 years ago.

Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows were strangled and sexually assaulted before their bodies were found in Wild Park, Brighton in October 1986.

Russell Bishop was arrested on suspicion of their murders but was cleared on both murder charges at his trial in 1987.

The convicted paedophile, 52, is being tried for a second time for the murders after the Court of Appeal quashed his earlier acquittal in light of new evidence found as a result of DNA testing.

He denies two charges of murder.

Jurors travelled from the Old Bailey to Wild Park on the outskirts of Brighton to view the site where the girls’ bodies were found.

A hawthorn tree adorned with pink flowers, beads and crystals lies near the spot where the youngsters were discovered.

Large pink balloons in the shape of 32 had been placed beside the memorial to mark the most recent anniversary of their deaths.

Two small teddy bears had also been placed next to a plaque dedicated to the young victims.

Jurors were told they would pass the long-established memorial but would not top to look at it.

Judge Mr Justice Sweeney said it was not relevant to the case but stressed it was no mark of “disrespect” to the young victims.

The trial has heard that the girls went missing while they were out together in Wild Park after going to school. They were last seen playing in a large tree and outside a fish and chip shop.

Bishop was allegedly in the area on the afternoon of their disappearance and walked home past a local library and railway station.

It has been claimed that he discarded a light blue Pinto sweater by a footpath which later allegedly linked him to the murders by DNA.

The sweatshirt had 19 fibres matching those taken from Nicola’s jumper, skirt and knickers, the court heard.

Jurors also heard how in 1990, Bishop was convicted of the kidnap, sexual assault and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl.

The girl survived and identified Bishop, who was jailed.

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC told the jury: “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.”

Bishop chose to attend the visit to Wild Park.

The trial continues.

(c) Sky News 2018: Russell Bishop trial: Jurors retrace last steps of schoolgirls murdered in 1986