Nothing can bring back Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows, 9-year-old girls murdered in the UK in 1986. "But we know that other children are now safe from the hands of Russell Bishop," family members said Monday as the 52-year-old convicted pedophile was found guilty of sexually assaulting and strangling the schoolgirls in a wooded area half a mile from their Brighton neighborhood on Oct. 9, 1986. Based on what prosecutors described as a "one-in-a-billion" DNA match linking a discarded sweatshirt to Bishop, the girls, and the murder scene, the convictions came exactly 31 years after Bishop's acquittal on the same charges, reports the Guardian. An ex-girlfriend had initially said the sweatshirt found discarded along Bishop's route home in Brighton belonged to him, but she denied that claim in court in 1987.
"Certainly, if she had not changed her story, it might have been a wholly different thing," a prosecutor tells the Telegraph, raising the possibility of a perjury investigation. Not only was Bishop's DNA found on Karen's left forearm, but dried paint on the sweatshirt matched flakes found on her shirt and Nicola's neck, according to prosecutors. They described Bishop attacking the girls at a park around dusk, though defense attorneys instead suggested the involvement of Nicola's father, who was brought to tears during the trial. Afterward, the family had harsh words for their daughter's killer, serving life for the 1990 attempted murder, kidnapping, and indecent assault of a 7-year-old girl, per the BBC: "He is a monster. A predatory pedophile. Russell Bishop truly is evil personified." He'll be sentenced Tuesday. (A podcast might've helped solve a 1982 murder.)