Forensic Services >> Case Studies >> Conviction of Babes in the Wood murderer Russell Bishop

Eurofins plays a critical part in the conviction of ‘Babes in the Wood’ murderer Russell Bishop.

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Russell Bishop who was being re-tried for a crime he was alleged to have committed 32 years ago was found guilty at the Old Bailey today of the murders of nine-year-olds Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in 1986, in secluded woodland near Brighton.

Eurofins Forensic Services (EFS) experts have been working closely alongside Sussex Police, supporting this cold-case investigation for over 6 years, culminating in the presentation of expert evidence during the trial which was compelling and had a direct bearing on the outcome.

EFS specialists carried out a thorough investigation into the history of the key items.  This showed that although these items were seized over thirty years ago the findings could be relied upon and could not have been the result of contamination.

Our experts were then able to determine through advanced DNA profiling technology which wasn’t available in 1986, that a discarded sweatshirt thought to belong to Bishop, contained traces of Bishop’s DNA. It also had fibres on it from both of the girls’ clothing. Additionally, our experts found red paint on the same sweatshirt which matched paint samples taken from a red Austin Mini –a vehicle resprayed by Bishop. This same paint was also found on the clothing and body taping of Nicola and Karen, supporting the proposition that they had been in recent contact with the sweatshirt. Furthermore, tapings taken from Karen Hadaway’s arm were subjected to DNA analysis using the very latest, highly-sensitive techniques and yielded traces of Bishop’s DNA. 

Bishop was acquitted of the murders in 1987, but ordered to face a fresh trial in light of this new evidence resulting from major advances in DNA testing over the last 30 years.