Princess Diana's "Panorama" interview was not the only assignment of Martin Bashir that brought on problems for his employer, the BBC. The broadcaster recently apologised to the family of a murdered schoolgirl after they revealed that the journalist had lost the victim's bloodied clothes three decades ago.

Michelle Hadaway's daughter Karen and her friend Nicola Fellows were found sexually assaulted and strangled in a woodland den in Brighton in October 1986, a case which later became known as the "Babes in the Wood murders." The killer, Russell Bishop, was announced not guilty in the initial ruling in 1987, bringing further distress to the families of the girls who spent decades fighting for justice.

Hadaway claims that she gave Bashir her daughter's clothes for DNA testing for an episode for BBC Two's "Public Eye" programme 30 years ago, after he assured her that science had advanced in the five years since the murders. However, the investigation was never aired and Hadaway's calls to the broadcaster to return her daughter's effects were ignored.

Following an investigation by Mail on Sunday, the BBC admitted to the fault and said it was "appalled" to learn that the clothing had been lost. A spokesperson said, "The BBC is extremely sorry for the distress this has caused Ms Hadaway and we deeply regret we have not been able to give her any answers about what happened. We are appalled that this clothing was lost after being obtained as part of an investigation for a BBC programme."

The network mentioned that the matter is being investigated in connection with the ongoing review of Bashir's conduct following Lord Dyson's report on his 1995 Panorama interview with the Princess of Wales.

"We are continuing to look into this matter following the Dyson inquiry, and as part of that, we asked a former senior BBC executive to review what happened in this case, including the 2004 investigation, and see if anything was missed which could help us locate the clothing," the statement read.

The broadcaster also clarified that the reports claiming the BBC investigations unit did not make contact with individuals who might have known where the clothing was in 2004 are "incorrect." It said, "Records show that (Public Eye editor) Nigel Chapman and an individual who can be identified as (assistant producer) Charlie Beckett were contacted during the 2004 investigation. Martin Bashir was contacted via his agent, who told us that Martin was unable to assist with the whereabouts of the clothes. Eileen Fairweather had left the employment of Public Eye before the clothing went missing."

Martin Bashir
Martin Bashir Photo: AFP / Robyn BECK