Families of Murdered Schoolgirls Receive Apology from Sussex Police for Investigation Errors

Brighton, England – Sussex Police has issued a formal apology to the families of two schoolgirls who were murdered in 1986, acknowledging mistakes made in the investigations surrounding their deaths. Russell Bishop was responsible for the killings of nine-year-olds Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway in a woodland den in Brighton.

Despite being cleared of the murders in 1987, Bishop later kidnapped another girl, leading to a second trial in 2018 in which he was finally convicted of the crimes. The families of the girls have expressed gratitude for the apology, stating that there are still unanswered questions regarding the errors made in the 1980s.

An independent review conducted by Surrey Police identified shortcomings in the 1986 investigation, known as the Babes in the Wood case. It was also revealed that Nicola’s father, Barrie, should not have been arrested as part of a related inquiry in 2009. Sussex Police, now led by Chief Constable Jo Shiner, has met with both families to officially apologize.

Throughout the years, the families have maintained a constructive relationship with Sussex Police, with Shiner committing to addressing all outstanding complaints and taking responsibility for past mistakes. While Bishop maintained his innocence during the initial investigation and first trial, he was present at the scene when the girls’ bodies were discovered in Wild Park.

Although details of the review have not been disclosed at the families’ request, Sussex Police has stated that discussions on financial compensation have not been finalized. The families of Karen and Nicola continue to seek closure and justice for the murders that shook the community in 1986.