Peter James says Babes in the Woods murder review was ‘heartbreaking’ Brighton News

AUTHOR Peter James said revising the Babes in the Woods murders for TV drama was both “heartbreaking and fascinating”.

The internationally bestselling crime novelist appeared in the first episode of Once Upon a True Crime, a documentary series examining cold cases that were solved decades after the crime.

In the documentary, Peter said he learned a lot about the 1986 murders from talking to police officers who worked on the case from the start and after Russell Bishop was acquitted.

He said: “I found it quite harrowing, but also fascinating because one of the things that interests me as a crime novel writer is the criminal mind.

“I never fully understood Bishop. I remember the day he was found not guilty, and I thought I didn’t know who you were.

“I saw Bishop parade around Brighton like he was the local hero to go down.

The Argus: Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway

“I thought ‘you may be happy to be acquitted of murder, but should you be celebrating the death of two little girls?'”

“From that moment on, I was always fascinated to try to better understand him and his state of mind.

Bishop was jailed for at least 36 years in 2018 after being found guilty of murdering nine-year-old Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway.

The Argus: Peter James said revisiting the murders as part of the documentary was both "heartbreaking and fascinating"Peter James said revisiting the murders as part of the documentary was both “heartbreaking and fascinating”

He was 20 when he sexually assaulted and strangled the girls in a wooded den in Wild Park, Brighton, in October 1986.

Bishop was cleared of their murders on December 10, 1987, but within three years he kidnapped, assaulted and strangled a seven-year-old girl, leaving her for dead at Devils Dyke.

While serving life in prison for attempted murder, Bishop was sentenced to a retrial under the Double Jeopardy Act, in light of a DNA breakthrough.

He died in hospital on January 20.

Peter said it was difficult to understand the significance of Bishop’s death for the families and those personally affected by his crimes.

He said: ‘There have been a lot of mixed opinions about his death, with people saying he escaped justice by dying and not spending the next 25-30 years in prison.

“But there are also people who say ‘good riddance’. I think it probably brings closure, but it’s hard to know.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-29 16:00:00

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