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Prisons and Probation Ombudsman releases report on Babes in the Wood murderer death

Russell Bishop, the notorious murderer of the two “Babes in the Wood”, in 1986, died in prison at the age of 55. Bishop, who had been serving a life sentence for the murder of Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows, was being held at HMP Frankland in County Durham when he passed away on January 20th, 2022.

According to a report released by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Bishop had been receiving treatment for a brain tumor since September 2020, which had led to frequent seizures and a decline in his mobility. In August 2021, he underwent further surgery, followed by a course of chemotherapy, after which he agreed not to be resuscitated if his heart or breathing stopped.

On the morning of January 20th, a nurse attending to Bishop’s cell found him cold and with labored breathing. He declined to go to the inpatient unit or be moved to a hospital, stating that he wanted to die at the prison. The nurse left an oxygen tank and pulse oximeter in the cell, and instructed staff to monitor him at ten-minute intervals.

At around 7:25 am, a nurse saw through the observation panel that Bishop had removed the oxygen mask, and went into the cell with colleagues. Bishop told them he had been short of breath since the previous day but had not sought help. He agreed to go to the hospital when paramedics arrived at 8:25 am.

During hospital assessment procedures, Bishop tested positive for COVID-19. He died later that day at 8:40pm, and the coroner accepted the hospital’s clinical certification that the cause of his death was COVID-19 pneumonitis. Bishop also had several underlying conditions, including heart disease, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer, which had spread to other parts of his body.

The Hadaway and Fellows’ families have not yet released a statement on his death. The prison arranged and paid for Bishop’s funeral, which was held on February 2nd, 2022, and attended by the family liaison officer and his deputy, as well as a prison chaplain who officiated the ceremony.

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