Babes in the Wood: Survivor speaks in an interview

The survivor of killer Russell Bishop spoke up in her first aired interview.

In February 1990, Rachael Watts, then just seven years old, was roller skating in Whitehawk.

She was dragged into a car by Bishop, who had been cleared of the Babes in the Wood murders three years earlier due to a series of prosecutorial errors.

Bishop then drove 14 miles to Devil’s Dyke and strangled her in the back seat of his car. She was stripped naked and sexually abused.

He then left her for dead in gorse bushes, but unbeknownst to Bishop, was still alive and managed to survive.

Now Ms Watts has spoken out in her first broadcast interview to heal.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this morning, she told Emma Barnett of the moments after her attack: “I woke up, crawled out of the undergrowth which cut my arms and legs and scratched me all over

“I was dizzy and sick and couldn’t walk well, it was very muddy. I stumbled more than I ran.”

As a result of her attack, Ms Watts suffers from aggrophobia and severe anxiety.

Ms Watts, in her 40s, told Woman’s Hour: “I’ve been silent for many years and don’t really allow myself to get close to people

“I’ve held on to this mystery for so long, trying to explain why I am the way I am.

“My husband spent many years tearing down the brick walls I built. I built brick walls to keep me from feeling.

“He beat her down and now I allow myself to be loved and to love him.”

Ms Watts revealed she only recently told her parents that she remembered being attacked and was fully conscious while Bishop raped her.

In 2018, just four years ago, Bishop was finally convicted of the Babes-in-the-Wood murders after prosecutors said the similarities in both Rachael’s kidnapping and the 1987 murders were clear.

When Bishop was tried again for the murders of Karen Hadaway and Nicola Fellows in Wild Park, the ordeal brought back.

Bishop died of cancer in prison earlier this year. He was 55 years old.

When asked if that was any kind of relief for her, Ms Watts told Radio 4: “I was neither thrilled nor saddened by it.

“Unfortunately, I’m very jaded, which is why I can talk about it so boldly, that’s how I dealt with it internally.”

Severe aggrophobia means Ms Watts has trouble leaving the house.

Journalist Eileen Fairweather, who originally shared her story, set up GoFundMe to raise money so Ms Watts can plant a healing garden.

Ms Watts told Woman’s House: “I am a prisoner. Unfortunately I’m broken. But I won’t always be.”

One of the ways Ms Watts is dealing with her mental health issues is by sitting in the garden and getting the sun on her face.

“The garden gives me comfort,” she told Radio 4.

Woman’s Hour host Emma Barnett asked her about Bishop’s notoriety as the Babes in the Wood killer.

Ms Watts said she didn’t like the name.

“It makes him sound infamous, like the Moors Killers, and gives him a title.

“It’s like remembering him. But he died and his memory should go with it.”

Ms Watts’ fundraiser has raised over £18,650.

To donate to the fundraiser, please visit here: Babes in the Wood: Survivor speaks in an interview

Fry Electronics Team

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