Karen Hadaway, pictured, and her friend Nicola Fellows, were murdered by Russell Bishop in Brighton in 1986
BBC boss Tim Davie has told the mother of a murdered schoolgirl that the Corporation has failed to find her daughter’s bloodied clothes after they were lost by rogue reporter Martin Bashir.
In a letter to Michelle Hadaway, seen by The Mail on Sunday, Mr Davie said the BBC is unable to ‘shed any further light’ on what happened to her daughter Karen’s clothes and that ‘little more can be done’ to find them.
He apologised on behalf of the Corporation and said it will urge Bashir to make a personal apology.
Karen Hadaway and her friend Nicola Fellows, both aged nine, were murdered by Russell Bishop in Brighton in 1986 in what became known as the Babes In The Wood killings.
Five years later, Bashir persuaded Michelle to hand over Karen’s clothes after promising to subject them to DNA tests but they went missing and have never been returned.
In 2004, the BBC launched an inquiry but the MoS revealed in September that it had failed to speak to Bashir. Journalists who worked alongside him – and his agent – also said they were not contacted.
Amid mounting questions about Bashir’s conduct, Mr Davie, the BBC’s Director General, asked Paul Smith, a former head of editorial standards at BBC Radio, to launch a review into what happened during the 2004 investigation.
But the BBC has revealed the review was ‘hampered by the passage of time because some of those people spoken to could not recall being approached in 2004 and others cannot remember details of what they knew at the time’.
Called the ‘Babes in the Wood’ killings, Nicola Fellows, pictured, and her friend, Karen Hadaway, both age 9. Five years later, Bashir persuaded Michelle to hand over Karen’s clothes after promising to subject them to DNA tests but they went missing and have never been returned
In his letter to Ms Hadaway, in which he offered the BBC’s ‘sincere apologies’, Mr Davie said: ‘Your family deserved better and we are deeply sorry for the hurt and upset that has ensued as a result of Martin Bashir’s actions for which the BBC is responsible.’
Last night, Ms Hadaway said the BBC’s response was ‘not good enough’ and that she would continue to fight to discover what Bashir did with the clothes.
‘I am not stopping,’ she added. ‘I’ve had 35 years of fighting for justice. I am not giving up now after being wronged for so long. ’
Ian Heffron, an uncle of Nicola Fellows, said: ‘The actions of the Corporation have been nothing less than appalling. I genuinely hope that lessons have been learnt.’
A spokesman for Bashir said: ‘When asked about the pain involved, he has always expressed his concern for Michelle Hadaway and sorrow for her grief.’
Panorama veteran wins compensation from BBC over Martin Bashir’s Princess Diana lies
By Mark Hookham
The veteran BBC journalist Tom Mangold has won compensation from the Corporation after he was smeared for blowing the whistle on disgraced reporter Martin Bashir.
Mr Mangold and two colleagues from the Panorama programme warned their editor in December 1995 that Bashir had commissioned forged bank statements before his landmark interview with Princess Diana.
The veteran BBC journalist Tom Mangold has won compensation from the Corporation after he was smeared for blowing the whistle on disgraced reporter Martin Bashir
Bashir then used the fakes to gain access to the Princess of Wales, before spinning a web of lies to land the interview.
Mr Mangold’s concerns were dismissed at the time, with the BBC’s press office briefing newspapers that ‘jealous colleagues’ were trying to undermine Bashir. Mr Mangold said this was a smear against him.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Mr Mangold said: ‘I have received a personal apology from the Director General.’
He declined to say how much compensation had been agreed.
The BBC said: ‘We have reached an in-principle resolution with Tom Mangold although terms are yet to be agreed.’