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Parents of Babes in Woods describe killer as 'coward without conscience'

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The surviving parents of the Babes in the Woods victims have spoken out after Russell Bishop was finally found guilty of the murders of two nine-year-old girls.

Bishop was just 20 when he sexually assaulted and strangled Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in a woodland den in Brighton in 1986.

The anguished father of Nicola, Barrie Fellows, broke down as he described the horror of being wrongly accused of murder, saying: "What have I done? All I have done is lost my little girl."

During his Old Bailey trial, Bishop's barrister accused Mr Fellows, 69, of being complicit in the sexual abuse and death of his daughter Nicola.

On facing the accusations in the witness box, Mr Fellows said: "It's the worst thing that can ever happen to anyone. You sit or stand there and you take so much crap off one person through his barrister. He had no evidence, none whatsoever.

"I just wanted to jump out that box and get him but I'm told I have to keep my cool.

"Thirty years ago he would not be living now."

Karen Hadaway, left, and Nicola Fellows were murdered in 1986. Credit: PA

Mr Fellows described the "indignity" of being arrested by police when they first looked into the accusations by Bishop's teenage ex-girlfriend.

Crying, he said: "Why me? What have I done. All I have done is lost my little girl."

After the judge praised the family members for their conduct throughout the trial, Nicola's mother, Susan Eisman, said "we had to be dignified".

"We wanted to be there just to show people we were standing there to get justice for the little girls."

Michelle Hadaway, the mother of Karen Hadaway, called Bishop a "coward without a conscience".

"Now we know that he is a paedophile, and an evil one", she said.

Asked how she remembers the girls, Ms Hadaway said: "They had the funniest laughs, just so much sense of innocence and so much sense of fun. And of course never ever in a million years will we ever be able to forget their smiling faces."