Paedophile Russell Bishop has been handed a life sentence after being convicted of the 1986 Babes in the Woods murder in Brighton.
Bishop, 52, was sentenced to life in prison at the Old Bailey today (December 11) and must serve a minimum of 36 years.
Yesterday (December 10), a jury found him guilty of murdering nine-year-olds Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in Wild Park, Moulsecoomb 32 years ago.
He was convicted of killing the girls this week having previously been acquitted of their murders more than 30 years ago.
A change in the law on double jeopardy and new forensic evidence meant the case could go before a jury for the second time.
Bishop had been serving a life sentence after being convicted of kidnapping, indecent assault and attempted murder for a separate case involving a girl in Brighton in 1990.
Lorna Heffron, the spokeswoman for Karen and Nicola’s families, said: ““We stand here as two families united in our grief. United in our fight for justice. And now united in our elation at today’s guilty verdict. We are extremely relieved and grateful that our 32 years hard fought battle has been a success, finally getting the rightful long-awaited justice for both of our girls.
“We want to thank our police teams and counsel, who have been fantastic during the past couple of decades. If it wasn’t for their efforts and dedication working with us, we wouldn’t be stood here today. Together we have changed history with this ‘double jeopardy’ ruling and we finally have the correct outcome – Russell Bishop remains behind bars where he belongs.
“The guilty verdict doesn’t bring Nicola and Karen back, but we know that other children are now safe from the hands of Russell Bishop. He is a monster. A predatory paedophile. Russell Bishop truly is evil personified.”
After sentencing, Detective Superintendent Jeff Riley said: “Russell Bishop is a truly wicked man and the life sentence with a minimum term of 36 years reflects the true magnitude of the terrible crimes against these two young girls.
“Bishop will hopefully spend the remainder of his life behind bars where he truly belongs and never darken the streets of Brighton again.
“This significant term of imprisonment will of course never make up for the loss of Karen and Nicola but I hope their families will take some comfort from it.”