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Dr Lin Russell and her two daughters Josie and Megan were victims of a vicious hammer attack in 1996. Three people left for dead in the picturesque countryside of Kent. The brutality of the crime left a community reeling and the senseless murders stunned the nation. Crimes that Shook Britain: Lin & Megan Russell, CI 2008
Lin, Megan and Josie Russell were violently attacked by a stranger while walking home from school. ibid.
Eventually, a local psychiatric patient Michael Stone was arrested and charged with murder. ibid.
Sean Russell’s world has fallen apart ... He sits in the hospital clinging to the hope his eldest daughter will regain consciousness. His wife and youngest daughter have been killed in an unprovoked attack. ibid.
What was the motive? ibid.
Stone is found guilty. ibid.
The killer evaded justice for a year. Britain’s Worst Crimes: Lin & Megan & Josie Russell
They must find a way of communicating with Josie; her evidence is now the crux of their investigation. ibid.
Michael Stone, the man accused of bludgeoning mother-and-daughter Lin and Megan Russell to death in a frenzied hammer attack, admitted his horrific crimes to another prisoner shortly after he was remanded in custody, a court heard today.
Stone, 41, from Gillingham, Kent, is also charged with battering Megan’s sister, Josie Russell, to within an inch of her life in a remote country lane near Chillenden, in Kent, on July 9, 1996.
He denies two counts of murder and one of attempted murder.
On the first day of evidence at the second trial for the Russell hammer murders, the jury at Nottingham Crown Court heard that Lin and her two daughters were walking back from their school when they were subjected to an attack of unimaginable violence.
The court heard that a man approached the family in Cherry Garden Lane brandishing a hammer and demanding money.
Lin, 45, had left her purse at home but said she would go back to her house to get cash.
The attacker refused to let her go and Lin shouted to Josie, nine, to run away.
The man grabbed hold of her and hit her over the head with the hammer before forcing all three of them off the lane and into a small copse.
There, he bound and gagged Lin and Josie and tied up Megan, six, before bludgeoning them all with his hammer. Megan’s swimming costume was found a few yards away. The family’s dog, Lucy, was also found dead. Mail online article, ‘Stone boasted about murders’
‘Their bodies were found huddled together on this isolated track just half a mile from their home in Gillingham.’ … ‘The family were beaten with a blunt metal instrument like a hammer.’ The Chillenden Murders I, news reports, BBC 2017
In the summer of 1996 a young family were attacked down a quiet country lane in Kent. The hunt for the killer became one of the biggest stories of the decade. A year later Michael Stone was arrested. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to Life imprisonment. ibid.
Doubts continue to be raised about Michael Stone’s guilt. And for the last twenty years Stone himself has stuck to the same story. ibid.
‘He had a previous conviction for a hammer attack for which he got a two-year sentence.’ ibid. investigator
‘You’d expect him to leave his DNA on the items … It’s 1996.’ ibid.
‘One of the three alleged self-confessions they used in the first trial – Thompson subsequently admitted it was all false.’ ibid.
‘The second prisoner … Jennings … had been paid £5,000 via his sister by The Sun with another promise of £10,000 to come.’ ibid.
Stone’s conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered. ibid.
In 1996 the murders of Lin and Megan Russell and attempted murder of Josie Russell on a quiet country lane in Kent horrified the nation. The Chillenden Murders II
Doubts being raised about Stone’s guilt. And Stone himself has stuck to the same story. But is he a liar and a killer or could the wrong man be in prison? ibid.
But Jo-Ann Goodwin’s article questioning Sheree Batt’s evidence and Michael Stone’s guilt was published. ibid.
It’s star witness – a former prisoner called Damien Daley … ‘I said, ‘You’re fitting Stone up,’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ ibid.
Every area where they’ve got a positive [DNA], it’s not him [Stone]. ibid.
One name keeps cropping up – Levi Bellfield … he used a hammer as a weapon. ibid.
A mother, Lin Russell, her two daughters Megan and Josie, and Lucy their family dog, are making their way home after a swimming gala … One of the most controversial and tragic cases Britain has ever witnessed. Who Killed Lin & Megan Russell? Channel 5 2023
One of the eye-witnesses who had seen a man in a beige car driving away from the scene helped police to produce an e-fit. ibid.
More than two years after the murders, the trial of Michael Stone begins at Maidstone Crown Court. ibid.
Within days of the verdict, a revelation in the media shocked the nation: ‘I Told a Pack of Lies’ [headline]. ibid. witness
‘I was very surprised he was found guilty the second time because the second jury had even less to go on than the first one.’ ibid. journalist
‘No DNA evidence was actually found on the bootlace. None of it could be linked to Stone.’ ibid.
The car that Stone owned at the time was a white Toyota. ibid.
Michael Stone lost a second appeal against his conviction in 2005. In 2011 Stone’s legal team was refused permission to apply for judicial review of the CCRC decision not to refer his case to the Court of Appeal. ibid. captions