Chillenden Murders: Legal experts on BBC documentary to assist Michael Stone in fresh appeal against hammer killings of Lin and Megan Russell
PUBLISHED: 11:42 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:42 07 June 2017
Fascinating TV documentary says no clear evidence convicted killer Stone was even at the scene of the crime
A two-part TV documentary which saw experts re-examine the case files of the horrific Chillenden murder of Lin and Megan Russell 21 years ago, has seen two of them so convinced of the fragility of the conviction of Michael Stone, they intend to assist in his next appeal.
The BBC2 show The Chillenden Murders concluded on Tuesday night.
It aimed to uncover the truth about one of Kent’s most notorious cases which took place in July 1996.
Mother Lin Russell, 45, and her six-year-old daughter Megan were beaten to death on a quiet country path with a hammer as they walked home from a swimming gala in Chillenden, between Canterbury and Dover. Another daughter Josie suffered horrific injuries but somehow survived.
A year-long manhunt turned up nothing until a psychiatrist tipped off police about Stone, from Gillingham, after watching an appeal on TV show Crimewatch.
He was found guilty initially upon evidence provided by cellmates who claimed he confessed to them. After two admitted they had lied, a retrial was order but he was again found guilty on the evidence provided by Damien Daley who claimed a cell confession while he was on remand in Canterbury. Daley is now serving time for murder, while a former friend on the BBC programme claims Daley admitted to lying about Stone at both trials.
No forensic evidence has ever been found to link Stone to the scene and a key piece of evidence - a shoelace which apparently contained some DNA evidence thought to be from the attacker, went missing.
Now barrister Stephen Kamlish QC who appeared in the show is taking up the case along with fellow barrister Sheryl Nwosu.
They were particularly disturbed by the loss of the shoelace. The programme was told the forensic lab that did the original testing sent the lace back to a Kent police officer. Kent Police, however, say “exhaustive testing” meant there was nothing left of it.
Mr Kamlish was not impressed with the two conflicting claims, and said: “Kent say it doesn’t exist anymore, and the lab says we gave it to a Kent police officer. And now the bag is empty. There are two different accounts as to what happened to it. This one lace could contain the key to who killed this family.”
Part of the BBC programme team was former detective chief superintendent Jane Antrobus who ruled out robbery as a motive as Lin still had her watch and necklace.
She concluded: “There is no ID against Stone, there is no forensics against Stone.
“I am not saying he is not a dangerous man, and I am not saying the best place for him isn’t locked up, but I am saying to me, I don’t think there is enough evidence beyond reasonable doubt to convict him.”
She said the case still needs a “golden nugget of information” to support or condemn Stone.
Kent Police has consistently said they are not looking for anyone else, and have also ruled out convicted serial killer Levi Bellfield, who murdered Millie Dowler and other girls.
Stephen Kamlish and Sheryl Nwosu, another legal expert in the documentary, are now actively working on Stone’s next legal appeal, as a direct result of examining the case files.
She said: “His conviction hung on a very delicate thread.”
Stone is currenly 20 years into a minimum 25 year prison term.