Russell Bishop trial: Girl abused to 'belittle' her

Russell Bishop in the witness stand Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Bishop was acquitted of the murders in 1987 but now faces a second trial

A convicted paedophile has told jurors he molested a girl to "belittle and shame" her after he was cleared of murdering two nine-year-olds.

Russell Bishop, 52, is on trial for the second time for killing Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway.

He denies sexually assaulting and strangling the pair in Wild Park, Brighton, in October 1986.

In 1990, Bishop was convicted of abducting, sexually assaulting and trying to kill a seven-year-old.

The trial at the Old Bailey was halted on Monday when Bishop became agitated while being questioned about his "sexual interest" in children.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Karen Hadaway (left) and Nicola Fellows went missing after they had gone out to play

Under cross-examination he insisted he was not a paedophile but was just "bloody angry" at a hate campaign against him and thought "I might as well do it".

Prosecutor Brian Altman QC asked: "This was all about revenge?"

The defendant replied: "Partly."

Mr Altman said: "So the attempted murder of [the girl] was born out of revenge by virtue of the three years of the hate you and your family suffered?

"You are portraying yourself as a victim. This offence was all about sexual gratification and you are a paedophile."

Bishop denied it.

Mr Altman continued: "You enjoy controlling children and one aspect of your control of children, particularly girls, is sexual gratification."

Bishop said: "No, not in any way."

Image copyright Sussex Police/PA
Image caption The girls' bodies were found in a woodland den in Wild Park near Brighton

The prosecutor asked: "Why did you choose a young girl who was two years younger than the age of the two girls you were accused of murdering?"

Bishop said: "It could have been anyone. Through the psychological trauma of the hate campaign and what everyone else was saying it came out in that behaviour."

The defendant said he assaulted the girl to "belittle and shame her because I was bloody angry at everyone - at her and everyone who had done that to me".

Mr Altman asserted: "This is all rubbish. This is all lies.

"You attacked that young girl because you had a sexual interest in children. It had nothing to do with three years of hate but everything to do with Russell Bishop and your character, didn't it?

"There are very good reasons for what I also suggest are obvious and striking similarities between the two offences because the killer of those two girls in October 1986 was the same person who attacked the [seven-year-old] in 1990. And that man is you."

From Helena Lee, BBC News Correspondent, at the Old Bailey

Russell Bishop sat in the witness box wearing a beige jacket and glasses as his account was challenged by the prosecution for the first time.

The girls' mothers listened from the back of the court as the 52-year-old denied being a paedophile.

Did he have a sexual interest in children?, Brian Altman QC asked.

"No," Bishop replied.

"You enjoy controlling children for sexual gratification?" said the prosecutor.

"Not in any way," Bishop said.

At one point Bishop objected to what was being put to him by Brian Altman QC.

He turned to the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, and asked: "Excuse me, is this legal?".

The judge replied: "Yes it is and if it isn't I'll stop it."

After less than one and a half hours of evidence and a break the jury was brought back into court expecting to see Russell Bishop back in the witness box.

But he wasn't.

He was in the glass-sided dock.

The jury wasn't to hear any more from him.

They were told by the judge he had declined to give any further evidence in his defence.

The judge told the jury: "You will observe immediately, of course, Mr Bishop is in the dock, not the witness box.

"That is because he has declined to give any further evidence. As you have gathered, I have given him time to consider that but that is ultimately his position.

"I will give you directions in due course as to how you should approach that."

It marked an unexpected early end to the jurors' court day.

The trial continues.

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