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‘Prolific’ lies told by girlfriend of Babes in Wood murderer let him escape justice, court hears 

The ex-girlfriend of Babes in the Wood killer Russell Bishop told lies to try to affect the outcome of his 1987 trial, prosecutors have said.

Jennifer Johnson is accused of telling ‘lies that were important’ in the tragic case, including about a crucial piece of evidence – a sweatshirt found near the scene.

Bishop was first tried for the brutal murders of schoolgirls Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in 1987 but was acquitted.

The nine-year-olds were found sexually assaulted and strangled in a woodland den in Brighton in October 1986.

The horrific crime shocked the East Sussex community, and their families spent years fighting for justice.

Pictured: Russell Bishop

Pictured: Russell Bishop

Pictured: Jenny Johnson

Pictured: Jenny Johnson

Jennifer Johnson (right) is accused of telling ‘lies that were important’ in the Russell Bishop (left) case, including about a crucial piece of evidence – a sweatshirt found near the scene

It was not until 2018 that Bishop was convicted of the killings and jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years.

Johnson, now 55, is charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and appeared for trial on Friday after pleading not guilty.

The case was opened at Lewes Crown Court by prosecutor Alison Morgan QC.

She told the jury: ‘This defendant now accepts that she lied in both the witness statement and when she gave evidence on oath during the course of Russell Bishop’s trial.

‘By lying in the way that she did, it is the prosecution’s case that she wanted to help Russell Bishop to be acquitted of those serious offences of murder.

‘She told lies that were important in the trial of Russell Bishop.

Johnson (seen outside Lewes Crown Court), now 55, is charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and appeared for trial on Friday after pleading not guilty

Johnson (seen outside Lewes Crown Court), now 55, is charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and appeared for trial on Friday after pleading not guilty

Johnson (seen outside Lewes Crown Court), now 55, is charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and appeared for trial on Friday after pleading not guilty

Pictured: Nicola Fellows

Pictured: Nicola Fellows

Pictured: Karen Hadaway

Pictured: Karen Hadaway

Bishop was first tried for the brutal murders of schoolgirls Karen Hadaway (right) and Nicola Fellows (left) in 1987 but was acquitted. He was convicted in 2018

‘In telling those lies, members of the jury, the prosecution alleges that she intended to pervert the course of justice, that is to say affect the outcome of that criminal trial in Russell Bishop’s favour.’

Ms Morgan told the court that Johnson lied about whether or not a sweatshirt belonged to Bishop.

Following his acquittal, it would be more than 30 years before he was convicted and jailed for the murders of Nicola and Karen.

Within three years of the 1987 acquittal, Bishop went on to kidnap and sexually assault another young girl, leaving her for dead.

Pictured: A blue Pinto sweatshirt, allegedly worn by Russell Bishop and said to contain vital DNA evidence, which was found beside a path behind Moulsecoomb railway station

Pictured: A blue Pinto sweatshirt, allegedly worn by Russell Bishop and said to contain vital DNA evidence, which was found beside a path behind Moulsecoomb railway station

Pictured: A blue Pinto sweatshirt, allegedly worn by Russell Bishop and said to contain vital DNA evidence, which was found beside a path behind Moulsecoomb railway station

He was found guilty of attempted murder and sexual assault and jailed for life.

The court heard that Johnson’s defence team will suggest that she was forced to make the witness statement and forced to give false evidence by Bishop and his family.

Ms Morgan said: ‘She will say that she was young and that she was the victim of domestic abuse and coercive control.’

She told the jury that Johnson will say that she was ‘acting under duress’.

The jury heard there is ‘no doubt’ that Johnson and Bishop had a ‘volatile’ and ‘violent’ relationship.

The trial continues.

Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News

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