Tuesday, 23rd March 2004
BBC ‘lost Babes in Wood case clothes’
THE BBC is investigating accusations that it lost potentially crucial evidence in the “Babes in the Wood” double child murder case. The family of Karen Hadaway, 10, who was murdered with nine-year-old Nicola Fellows in Brighton in 1986, say reporter Martin Bashir has misplaced items of her clothing.
Karen’s relatives say they gave Mr Bashir and the BBC’s Public Eye programme clothing in 1991 for DNA testing as part of a documentary but never got them back.
Mr Bashir’s signature appears on a receipt given to Karen’s parents for the clothes but he now says he cannot recall meeting the family or taking the items.Mrs Hadaway claims Mr Bashir – famous for his interviews with Princess Diana and Michael Jackson – promised to keep in touch about the documentary’s progress but never contacted them. He moved to Panorama a year later. Now the BBC has launched an inquiry in the hope of finding the items, including a sweatshirt, T-shirt, vest and knickers.
Astounded Karen’s mother believes the clothes may hold vital clues which could help to convict the killer. A family spokesman said they were “absolutely astounded” by the BBC’s inability to find the clothes.
Both girls’ families are trying to build up enough evidence to launch a new prosecution against Russell Bishop, 36, who was acquitted of the murders in Brighton’s Wild Park. He was jailed in 1991 for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl from the city.
Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, Bishop, from Brighton, who is eligible for parole in a matter of weeks, could be tried again for the murders if new evidence came to light. He has always denied the killings.
Today, Martin Bashir’s spokesman said: “Martin is a caring guy and morally he wants the situation resolved. His hands are tied because he is now with ITV.
It’s a shame no one said anything about this earlier. It has been 13 years since Martin met the family. He cannot even remember meeting them or signing a receipt.
“Martin left Public Eye for Panorama a year later and left the clothes with the Public Eye production team. He is, however, concerned and hopes there is a happy ending to this.”
A BBC spokesman said: “We have only recently learned that these items may have been in the possession of Public Eye in 1991. We have made extensive inquiries to track them down but without success. We will continue to look into this.”
Source: Manchester Online