THE DEATH of the Babes in the Wood murderer in jail comes 15 years after judges rejected a York woman's bid for him to brought to justice.

Russell Bishop was originally acquitted of killing Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway more than 30 years ago

Nicola's aunt Gillian Chambers, and others of the girls' relatives campaigned for him to retried after a change in the law 20 years ago enabled people acquitted of crimes to be retried in certain circumstances.

At the time she was living in Acomb. She later moved to a new home in North Yorkshire.

The High Court dashed the families's hopes when it ruled in 2006 that Bishop should not be tried again.

But a forensic breakthrough later led to the retrial the girls' families wanted and he was convicted of both murders.

This week, the Ministry of Justice confirmed Bishop had died in Frankland Prison, Durham. He was 55 and is believed to have had cancer.

In addition to the life sentences for the double murder, he was also serving a life sentence for the abduction, molestation, and attempted murder of a 7-year-old girl in the Whitehawk area of Brighton three years after his first trial.

He had left her for dead, but she survived and he was convicted of his crimes against her.

Following confirmation of Bishop's death, Nicola's cousin Lorna Heffron said that while it was something the families "knew was coming", it had still been "quite a shock to the system".

Speaking to the PA news agency, she said: "We're pleased that he's gone and he absolutely won't be able to hurt anybody else in the future. The world is a better place without him.

"I think the biggest relief is the fact that we got justice for Nicola and Karen before this happened.

"It's the satisfaction of knowing that we don't have to worry now that he, at any point in the future, might be able to apply for parole."

Bishop's retrial was made possible by forensic evidence found using DNA techniques not in existence at the time of the original investigation.

The Court of Appeal ordered that his 1987 acquittals be quashed and he stand trial again.

At his second trial, in 2018, he was convicted of killing Nicola and Karen in Brighton in 1986. Both girls were nine at the time.

Relatives of the girls were in court as the guilty verdicts were delivered.

He was given two life sentences and ordered to serve a minimum of 36 years.

In 2021, his former girlfriend Jennifer Johnson was jailed for six years after she was convicted of perjury at the first trial and perverting the course of justice..