Two nine-year-old girls were dubbed the Babes in the Wood after their bodies were found in the Wild Park, at Moulescombe, Brighton, on Thursday, October 9th, 1986. Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway had been sexually assaulted and murdered.

Suspicion fell on a local man, an unemployed petty criminal of limited intelligence. He was tried at Lewes Crown Court for the double-murder but acquitted by the jury. Notwithstanding that, the police believed he was a paedophile who would strike again.

In February, 1990, a seven-year-old girl was abducted, stripped, violently sexually assaulted and partially strangled near Brighton. She was found at the Devil’s Dyke, a beauty spot nearby. More than one witness saw a red Ford Cortina near the scene of the kidnap, and the suspect in the case of Nicola and Karen was driving that type of car. He was arrested as a suspect again.

In December, 1990, he stood in the same dock in the same court as he had done three years earlier, accused of kidnap, sexual assault and attempted murder. His defence was that he was nowhere near the scene and that the police had “fitted him up.” He was convicted and sentenced to life.

The man maintains that he is innocent of both crimes, but the surviving parents of Nicola and Karen believe he murdered their daughters. With DNA technology developments in mind, the police are re-assessing the case. Despite reports of the man’s imminent release, he remains in prison.