Lin and Megan Russell: Michael Stone’s murder convictions reviewedon October 7, 2023 at 11:59 am

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Michael Stone’s case is to be looked at again after Levi Bellfield reportedly confessed to the murders.

Michael StoneImage source, PA

The convictions of Michael Stone for the murders of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan are to be reviewed.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will look at evidence again, three months after a previous review ruled out the case being sent to the Court of Appeal.

The decision comes after serial killer Levi Bellfield, whose victims include schoolgirl Milly Dowler, was reported to have confessed to the crimes.

Stone is serving three life sentences.

The CCRC said in a statement that “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”.

Lin and Megan Russell

Image source, Family handout

Ms Russell, 45, and her six-year-old daughter were found bludgeoned to death in Chillenden, Kent, in July 1996.

They had moved to the area from Gwynedd, north Wales, just a few months before.

Stone has always protested his innocence over the murders, and of the attempted murder of Megan’s sister Josie.

In July, the CCRC ruled there was “no real possibility” the Court of Appeal would quash his convictions.

However, following the latest application a CCRC 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.”

‘More forensic tests’

Stone’s solicitor Paul Bacon said he had written to the CCRC stating his intention to seek a judicial review.

“Quite remarkably, they responded to say they had decided to have another review. And particularly, they have indicated they will carry out more forensic tests, which is very important to us,” he told the BBC.

Mr Bacon said the review will “take some time”.

“While Mr Bellfield has admitted it over and over again, I think truthfully, the only real decision will come if a DNA profile of him or somebody else is found among the items that are still yet to be properly tested.”

Levi Bellfield

Image source, PA

Last year, Bellfield, who is serving two whole-life sentences, claimed responsibility for the murders of Ms Russell and Megan before later retracting his statement.

In April, lawyers acting for Stone claimed that Bellfield had written and signed a fresh confession.

Bellfield was convicted of murdering Marsha McDonnell, 19, in 2003. He was also found guilty of murdering Amelie Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Kate Sheedy, 18, in 2004.

He was later charged with murdering Milly Dowler, who was snatched from the street while 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.

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