KENT NEWS PICTURES
A BBC documentary has rasied questions over the killer of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan
The Chillenden Murders studies the evidence surrounding the case with a panel of experts.
In the second episode, the team doubt the conviction of Michael Stone, who was jailed for the murder of 45-year-old Mrs Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan.
The panel considers whether Levi Bellfield, jailed for multiple life sentences for the murders of Milly Dowler, 13, Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22, could be responsible for the hammer attack on the Russell family.
Stephen Kamlish, QC, was part of the team which examined scores of files along with former senior detectives and a forensic expert.
Following his involvement with the programme, he has agreed to legally represent former heroin addict Stone, who insists he is innocent of the attacks in woods at Chillenden, near Canterbury, Kent, on July 9,
1996. Mrs Russell’s other daughter Josie, then nine, was left with horrific injuries.
STEPHEN HIRD/ REUTERS
Michael Stone was convicted of the murders
In the programme a letter Bellfield wrote to Stone’s solicitor is read out in which he says: “I feel compelled to write to you in reference to your client Mr Stone. If he is innocent I truly sympathise with his current situation. However, to use me to gain publicity for Mr Stone is unacceptable, especially as I am also maintaining my innocence.
We end up with DNA that doesn’t point to Michael Stone and points elsewhere
Dr Georgina Meakin
“I had no connection to the Kent area until 2002. I will provide your forensic experts with DNA but please stop publicly linking me to your case. This is not helping my own fight.”
Bellfield did not follow through with his promise to provide DNA.
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Witnesses in the Russell case claim they saw a beige car in the area at the relevant time and the photofit of a man driving the vehicle looks like Bellfield.
The panel considers whether Levi Bellfield could be responsible for the murders
However, his then girlfriend Johanna Collings provided an alibi saying on the night of the Kent murders she went out for a meal and to a nightclub in Cobham, Surrey, with him.
The date stuck in her mind as it was her birthday.
She did also reveal that Bellfield used her beige car one night and later reported it had been stolen and then burnt out.
DNA from members of Bellfield’s family was analysed by the forensic expert.
DNA was found on towels used to tie up the Russell family.
Dr Georgina Meakin said the results meant that Bellfield could not be excluded from contributing to the mixture of DNA, but it was not strong evidence.
No DNA found at the scene has ever been linked to Stone.
Dr Meakin says: “We end up with DNA that doesn’t point to Michael Stone and points elsewhere.” The documentary team also comes across papers relating to a bootlace used to tie up some of the victims.
It had been examined many times. However, the report found that when Kent Police sent it for further tests some years ago only an empty bag arrived at the forensic lab.
KENT NEWS PICTURES
The Chillenden Murders studies the evidence surrounding the case with a panel of experts
Former senior detective Jane Antrobus said: “I don’t think there is enough evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, to convict him (Stone).”
In a phone call from jail Stone says: “My only chance is linking the forensics to Levi Bellfield.”
Kent Police declined to comment on the programme but said in a statement: “A Criminal Case Review Commission had access to all forensic evidence, documentation and exhibits from the original investigation, the review by another force, details of two Crown Court trials and appeals to the High Court.
“Furthermore, Michael Stone made an application to apply for a Judicial Review in respect of his conviction in September 2012. The Honourable Mr Justice Blake ordered that permission for the application should be refused.
“The whole shoelace seized as part of the original investigation has been subject to exhaustive examinations.
“All evidence from those examinations has been recorded and disclosed. Kent Police is not looking for anyone else in connection with the case.”
The Russell family have chosen not to comment about the programme.
●The Chillenden Murders, BBC Two, on Tuesday at 9pm.