Michael Stone’s convictions for murdering Lin and Megan Russell will be reviewed again after serial killer Levi Bellfield ‘confessed to killing the mother and her six-year-old daughter
- READ MORE: Investigator says ‘nothing’ was found at scene of the hammer murders of Lin and Megan Russell that linked Michael Stone to the crime
The convictions of Michael Stone for the murder of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan are to be reviewed again by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).
The move comes after serial killer Levi Bellfield, who murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002, is reported to have confessed to the crimes.
Michael Stone, 63, has always maintained his innocence regarding the gruesome murders of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan who were savagely killed in 1996.
Lin, 45 and her daughters, Josie, 9, and Megan, 6, as well as their dog Lucy, were tied up and beaten with a hammer in the brutal attack in the village of Chillenden, Kent.
The only person to survive was nine-year-old Josie who sustained horrific injuries, with Stone going on to be convicted of murder and attempted murder in 1998.
Just three months after a previous review ruled out the case being sent to the Court of Appeal, Stone’s convictions will be re-examined by the CCRC, which investigates miscarriages of justice.
The CCRC said in a statement: ‘Michael Stone’s murder convictions will be reviewed again by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) following a request from his representatives.
‘In 2001, Mr Stone was sentenced to life imprisonment at Nottingham Crown Court for the murders of Dr Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan, and the attempted murder of Dr Russell’s nine-year-old daughter Josie, in 1996.
‘The CCRC’s previous reviews found no credible evidence or argument that raised a real possibility of the convictions being quashed, these conclusions are not affected by the new review.’
Michael Stone (pictured) is currently imprisoned after twice being convicted of the Russell murders but has consistently insisted his innocence
Lin Russell, 45, her two daughters, six-year-old Megan (above with her mother) and nine-year-old Josie, were tied up and savagely beaten with a hammer in the brutal attack in 1996
Serial killer Levi Bellfield has reportedly confessed to a double murder from 1996 and signed a written statement with ‘information only the killer would know’
In July, the CCRC said that were was ‘no real possibility’ the Court of Appeal would quash his convictions following a previous review by an independent investigator of potential miscarriages of justice.
READ MORE: ‘I didn’t do this’: Man convicted of grisly 1996 hammer double murder pleads his innocence and points the finger at Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield in jail tapes – as his lawyer demands new DNA tests
A spokesman said: ‘We have agreed to a request from Mr Stone’s representatives to carry out a further review.
‘While we can’t comment on the specifics of an investigation, it is not unusual for different reviews to focus on different arguments or evidence.
‘Our commitment to thoroughly investigate all eligible applications extends to undertaking additional work related to cases we have previously reviewed.’
Stone is serving three life sentences for the murders of Ms Russell, 45, and her six-year-old daughter, who were found bludgeoned to death in Chillenden, Kent, in July 1996.
The fatal attack happened as the mother and two daughters were out on a walk.
Ms Russell’s other daughter, Josie, then nine, suffered severe head injuries in the attack and the family’s dog, Lucy, was killed.
Last year, Bellfield, who is serving two whole-life orders, claimed responsibility for the murders before later retracting his statement.
In April, lawyers acting for Stone claimed that Bellfield had written and signed a fresh confession to the murder.
Lin, 45, her two daughters, six-year-old Megan and nine-year-old Josie, as well as their dog Lucy, were tied up and savagely beaten with a hammer in the brutal attack. Only Josie survived. The deaths in the picturesque village of Chillenden, Kent in 1996 shocked the nation
Levi Bellfield is currently serving life in prison for the murder of schoolgirl Millie Dowler (left). He has also allegedly confessed to murdering 19-year-old student Elizabeth Chau in 1999
Mr McDonald told The Guardian: ‘Michael Stone has been in prison for 26 years for a crime he did not commit.
READ MORE: Hammer attack victim Josie Russell reveals how she has found happiness with her fiancé – after moving into family home where her mother and sister, six, lived before they were murdered 22 years ago
‘I am really pleased that the CCRC have reconsidered their decision and decided to review this case again.
‘It is essential that this review is undertaken as a matter of urgency and Stone’s conviction is referred back to the Court of Appeal.
‘The decision as to whether Bellfield is credible needs to be taken by the Court of Appeal, not the CCRC.’
Bellfield was given a whole-life term for murdering Marsha McDonnell, 19, in 2003, murdering Amelie Delagrange, 22, and trying to murder Kate Sheedy, 18, in 2004.
He was already serving his sentence when he went on trial for killing schoolgirl Milly, who was snatched from the street walking home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.
Bellfield was found guilty of abducting and killing the 13-year-old following a trial at the Old Bailey in 2011.
HOW JOSIE MANAGED TO COPE AFTER HORRIFIC EVENTS OF 1996
Josie Russell’s rehabilitation after the murder of her mother and sister was a long, slow process – it was a year before she could speak again – but Josie stunned doctors with her progress.
She is now a successful textile artist, who announced her engagement to her boyfriend of 12 years, Iwan Griffith, in August aged 30.
The couple met in a pub in Caernarfon on December 31, 2005, while Josie was at university.
Josie, pictured with her Welsh mountain pony in 1997, announced her engagement to her boyfriend of 12 years, Iwan Griffith, in August aged 30
Their romance was sparked by their love of the dramatic Welsh landscape. ‘We aren’t a lovey-dovey couple but there is love and mutual respect,’ Josie said.
Josie and Iwan now share home, in the foothills of Snowdonia, where she and Megan had lived with their parents.
In 2011, using money from a trust fund and compensation for her injuries, Josie was able to buy back the house which the couple have lovingly renovated.
Her studio is the bedroom that Lin decorated for her when she was a little girl.
Josie and Iwan now share home, in the foothills of Snowdonia, where she and Megan had lived with their parents. Josie is pictured in 2006
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