The families of two young girls killed in Sussex more than 30 years ago have thanked police and counsel after a man was found guilty of their murder.
Russell Bishop, 52, was today found guilty of killing the Brighton girls after a retrial at the Old Bailey in London.
Lorna Heffron, the families’ spokeswoman, said: “Nicola and Karen. Our beautiful girls. We will never forget their smiles that would light up a room. Their laughter. Their cheekiness.
“During the past eight weeks, we have endured re-living the horrific details of their murders and we have learned an awful lot about the true meaning of heartbreak all over again.
“We stand here as two families united in our grief. United in our fight for justice. And now united in our elation at today’s guilty verdict. We are extremely relieved and grateful that our 32 years hard fought battle has been a success, finally getting the rightful long-awaited justice for both of our girls.
“We want to thank our police teams and counsel, who have been fantastic during the past couple of decades. If it wasn’t for their efforts and dedication working with us, we wouldn’t be stood here today. Together we have changed history with this ‘double jeopardy’ ruling and we finally have the correct outcome – Russell Bishop remains behind bars where he belongs.
“The guilty verdict doesn’t bring Nicola and Karen back, but we know that other children are now safe from the hands of Russell Bishop. He is a monster. A predatory paedophile. Russell Bishop truly is evil personified.”
Karen’s mother Michelle said: “After 32 years of fighting, we finally have justice for Karen and Nicola.
“Time stood still for us in 1986. To us them beautiful girls will always be nine-year-olds. They will never grow up.
We’ve been deprived of a happy life to watch them grow into adults. What people like Bishop inflict on the families of their victims is a living death.
“They take the lives of children but they also take the lives of the families left behind.
“Kas and Nicky, as they were affectionately known, friends playing out together only to have their lives wiped out by a sexual deviant, a monster.
“What’s been hard, horrendous and heart breaking is to hear that they were murdered by a disgusting paedophile, who we actually knew and the two girls liked and trusted.
“Bishop doesn’t deserve to breathe the same clean air as we do. After all, he decided that day to strangle the life out of our two angels, leaving them no air to breathe.
“What makes a man want to squeeze the life out of two innocent children with his bare hands? Unbelievable when he had a child himself and another on the way.
“He’s a coward, without a conscience. I don’t believe you can rehabilitate evil. I think Bishop was just born that way. People talk to me of forgiveness but I can never forgive or forget what the evil monster did to my beautiful Kaz and Nicky.
“I’m trying so hard to get my head around this but I will cos I’m a fighter and I’ll never stop being strong for my family.”