Martin Bashir "took clothes from Babes in the Wood murder victims, which could have been important evidence – but never gave them back to their relatives"
- Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway were found murdered in Wild Park, Brighton
- Karen's mother was eager to find a murderer and allowed Mr. Bashir to take her clothes with her
- Claims they were tricked into helping with new DNA techniques and a BBC documentary
The family of one of the victims of the infamous Babes in the Wood murders has accused BBC journalist Martin Bashir of failing to advance his own career.
Mr Bashir, whose 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana is being investigated by a former Supreme Court judge, was criticized again last night for allegedly losing important evidence in the case.
Nicola Fellows and her friend Karen Hadaway, both nine years old, were found murdered in Brighton's Wild Park in 1986. Five years later, Karen's mother, Michelle, allowed Mr. Bashir to take away her daughter's clothes that had been returned by the police.
Nicola Fellows and her friend Karen Hadaway, both nine years old, were found murdered in Brighton's Wild Park in 1986
It is alleged that the reporter told the family that new DNA techniques could bring a forensic breakthrough and be part of a BBC documentary. The clothes were then lost and never returned.
Last night, Ian Heffron, 65, Nicolas uncle and retired police officer, said both families had clung to every straw and viewed the clothes as potentially "very important evidence". When they did not return he said he had followed Mr Bashir and the BBC on the matter.
"Bashir ran for cover and never came back to us," he said. “In the end we had to give it up. He must have done something to the clothes. Did he just put it on a shelf to collect dust? To say the least, I was bitterly disappointed that someone of his stature who could have helped us disappointed us greatly. Bashir's actions were very unprofessional to me. I think his agenda was himself. "
It is alleged that Mr. Bashir Karen's family gave a receipt for the clothes. Mr Heffron said he faxed a copy to a BBC producer who confirmed it was the journalist's signature. It is now assumed that this acknowledgment is lost. "After all, Bashir answered," said Heffron. I asked him what he did with the clothes.
His reaction was, "I don't remember ever taking the clothes off." "Another member of Nicolas' family, who asked not to be identified, said," Martin Bashir's behavior was utterly disgusting. He raised our hopes and planned to improve his reputation – and then he let us down. "
The BBC announced in 2004 that it had "unsuccessfully" carried out "extensive investigations" into the missing garments. Sex offender Russell Bishop was later convicted of the murders.
It is alleged that the reporter told the family that new DNA techniques could bring a forensic breakthrough and be part of a BBC documentary. The clothes were then lost and never returned
Last night the BBC said, "We will consult our archived records to see if any progress has been made on these investigations." Mr. Bashir did not respond to a request for comment.
The new criticism of the reporter came when Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, said he was "not at all satisfied" with the parameters of a BBC investigation into Mr Bashir's panoramic interview with the Princess. He wants Lord Dyson, a former Master of the Rolls in charge of the investigation, "to be free to examine any aspect of this matter from 1995 to the present as he sees fit."
Mr Bashir allegedly told lies and smeared royal aides to gain Diana's trust and land his interview.
Meanwhile, Prince Harry has reportedly signaled his support for the investigation. A source near the Duke of Sussex described the probe as "a drive for the truth". His brother Prince William has already welcomed the investigation "for the time being".