Babes in the Wood murderer Russell Bishop’s ex-girlfriend will claim she was acting under duress when she changed key evidence that helped get him acquitted 33 years ago
- Jenny Johnson, 54, is charged with perverting the course of justice and perjury
- She is accused of lying in court over a blue jumper found near the murder site
- Her boyfriend Russell Bishop killed Karen Hadaway, nine, and Nicola Fellows, ten
- Johnson changed statement to say that the clothing did not belong to Bishop
- Her lawyer said she only altered her evidence acting under duress
The ex girlfriend of the Babes in the Wood murderer is set to claim she acted under duress when she changed a police statement that led to his freedom 33 years ago.
Jenny Johnson, 54, has been charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice in relation to Russell Bishop’s original case and is set to go on trial next year.
Lewes Crown Court was told today she will plead not guilty to the offences and claim she was under duress at the time.
Jenny Johnson, the ex girlfriend of Babes in The Wood killer Russell Bishop, will claim she changed her statement acting under duress
Bishop, now 54, was originally arrested for the murders of nine-year-olds, Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, who were throttled to death Wild Park, Brighton in 1986
But his trial in 1987 saw Johnson recant her police statement where she claimed she knew a Pinto sweatshirt found near the scene of the murders belonged to him.
Instead she told the court she had never seen the blue sweatshirt and it was not his.
Bishop walked free from court, but he was rearrested in 2016 and convicted of the murders at a second trial in 2018 and was sentenced to 36 years behind bars.
Now, almost 34 years after the murders, Johnson appeared at court to answer her charges.
Wearing a face mask and glasses, Johnson appeared by video link before Lewes Crown Court charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice.
The Babes in the Wood victims Karen Hadaway, aged 9, (left) and 10-year-old Nicola Fellows (right) whose bodies were found in Wild Park, Brighton, on October 10 1986
But the court heard she will plead not guilty to the offences and will claim she was under duress at the time.
Judge Christine Laing QC said: “As I understand it the defendant intends to plead not guilty to the charges she faces.
“In effect she will be running the defence of duress. She accepts doing what is alleged against her but says she had to do so because she was under duress.
This blue top was found at the murder scene, but Johnson told the first trial it did not belong to Bishop
Her defence barrister, Kevin Light, said: “Your honour, that is correct.”
In the first count she was charged with perjury in that she wilfully made “a false statement in judicial proceedings” in that during the first trial in 1987 she claimed her entire statement to police was untrue.
In the 1987 trial she told the court she had not seen a blue Pinto Sweatshirt October 31 1986, that it was not Russell Bishop’s sweatshirt and that she had never seen it before, the statement being material in the judicial proceedings.
In the second count she was charged with perverting the course of public justice in that she made two false statements to Russell Bishop’s solicitor claiming he had never owned a blue sweatshirt with a ‘Pinto’ motif and that you had never seen him wearing one.
Johnson of Saunders Park View, Brighton will appear at court next week to plead on the two charges.