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image credit: Sussex Police
Russell Bishop

Retired policeman, Paul Smith, who writes for the Pevensey Bay Journal under the title ‘Bobby on the Beat’ is to give an exclusive account of the moment, ‘at 4.20pm on 10th October 1984′ at which his life ‘changed quite dramatically’.

Paul who was, “the first copper to find the bodies of two 9 year old girls”, give his personal account in edition 25 of the Pevensey Bay Journal, published on Saturday 26 January 2019, available in local newsagents.

Paul is also to feature in a BBC South East programme to be broadcast in February this year as well as a Trevor MacDonald special documentary to be broadcast later this year.

Brighton ‘babes in the wood’ killer Russell Bishop was jailed for life in December 2018 following a nine week trail at the Old Bailey.

Paedophile Russell Bishop assaulted and strangled Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in 1986.

Russell Bishop has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 36 years for the murder of the two schoolgirls more than three decades ago.

Bishop, now 52, sexually assaulted and strangled Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in October 1986, when they were nine, in woods about half a mile from Moulsecoomb, the area of Brighton where the girls lived.

Paul Smith served as a Brighton Police Constable for 23 years.

His link to the Pevensey Bay Journal comes from his love of the Bay.

With wife Annie he now lives in Eastbourne, but they lived for a number of years in Pevensey Bay and they are both frequent visitors on a weekly basis to the place, particularly Beachlands which they describe as “the place that they love the best”.

As well as writing for the Journal, Paul is a genealogy researcher and gives talks to local groups like residents associations about aspects of ‘community policing’.

Here we publish the introduction to his account of what happened on 10th October 1984 . The full account is to be published in the Pevensey Bay Journal, later this month.

Paul Smith
Me and Russell Bishop
Pevensey Bay Journal, full account to be published Saturday 26 January 2019
© Paul Smith, all rights reserved

At 4.20pm on 10th October 1984 my life as a Police Officer changed quite dramatically because I was the first copper to find the bodies of two 9 years old girls and I was with Russell Bishop who in time would be found guilty of their murder but not until 2018.

This became the “Babes in the Woods”murder.

I had been a constable in the Sussex Police for 7 years and I had seen some horrendous scenes on the streets of Brighton but nothing had prepared me for this, trying to find a pulse on 2 children who were stone cold dead.

OK so you do your job and get on with it but afterwards you question what sort of person would do this to two young girls. I had nightmares for a while afterwards. I was married with 2 children under the age 6 years so I think that contributed to the way it was. Do we live in a more callous world than it was then.

1984 was the start of the Miners strike in Brighton we had the bombing of the Grand Hotel and this double murder.

But then we had many more police officers around.In Brighton we had officers on the beat, motorcycles and in cars. If you called for assistance you had back up straight away.

When was the last time you saw the bobby on the beat, chatting to shopkeepers and passersby.

They have gone and won’t be coming back. The only time you see the police in the Bay is with blue lights and sirens as they go to an emergency and this is the same for the Fire Brigade and ambulances.

The phrase the “Thin Blue Line”is here and getting thinner all the time.

Politicians seem to be impervious to what we the public want and definitely need, but how can we change that. Personally I don’t think we can nationally but we can in Sussex.

The Crime and Police Commissioner is Katy Bourne. Prior to this she had no personal input into the Police and certainly had not served as a Police officer.

That’s what Sussex needs, a Commissioner who has served in the police in various ranks from Constable to Chief Superintendent, I’m sure there must be one out there who could be elected in in 2020.

Then perhaps we will get more Police officers on the street here in sunny Sussex.

Paul Smith
Me and Russell Bishop
Pevensey Bay Journal, full account to be published Saturday 26 January 2019
© Paul Smith, all rights reserved