This case was given extensive publicity in the newspapers and on television from July 1996 when the crime occurred, to September 1997 when Stone is alleged to have confessed to fellow inmate Damien Daley. The only detail which was not actually published in the national press on the day of the 'confession' was the reference to a shoelace. As Daley had said: "he spoke something about "shorts or shoes or shoelaces."
Copyright 1997 MGN Ltd.
September 23, 1997, Tuesday
Published on the day of the 'confession'
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 11
LENGTH: 228 words
HEADLINE: JOSIE RUSSELL FACES SUSPECT IN I.D. PARADE;
HE MAY BE CHARGED WITH DOUBLE MURDER;
JOSIE RUSSELL FACES SUSPECT IN IDENTITY PARADE
BYLINE: Jeff Edwards Chief Crime Correspondent
Schoolgirl Josie Russell has been brought face to face with the man police think murdered her mother and sister.
Josie, 10, went to an identity parade where a man previously questioned about the attack was taking part.
The result was not revealed - but Crown Prosecution Service lawyers are now considering whether to charge a suspect with killing Josie's mum Lin and sister Megan, six, near Chillenden, Kent, last year.
The family were tied up and battered to death with a hammer.
Josie, hit on the head 16 times, was not expected to live but has made an almost complete recovery.
She was driven from her home in Wales for the identity parade, held amid great secrecy at Rainham police station, Kent.
Her dad, former university lecturer Dr Shaun Russell, comforted her as she watched through a one-way glass screen.
A police source said: "She was very brave. It must have been a big ordeal."
Two days earlier police applied to magistrates to continue questioning the man they are holding.
The 37-year-old, from Gillingham, was arrested in July after a plea for information by Dr Russell on TV's Crimewatch.
He has been charged with a series of unrelated crimes, including armed robbery, burglaries and witness intimidation.
The man appeared in Medway magistrates' court yesterday and was remanded in custody until Friday.
GRAPHIC: ORDEAL: Josie watched suspect killer
Copyright 1997 Associated Newspapers Ltd.
DAILY MAIL (London) (London)
September 23, 1997
Published on the day of the 'confession'
SECTION: Pg. 1
LENGTH: 699 words
HEADLINE: BRAVE JOSIE'S BID TO IDENTIFY KILLER;
Secret identity parade ordeal for Josie
BYLINE: Peter Rose
BRAVE Josie Russell has taken part in an identity parade to try to find the killer of her mother and sister, it emerged last night.
The ten-year-old is understood to have used a video link because police were worried about the traumatic effect on her if she should come face to face with the murderer at such a line-up.
Josie, who miraculously survived the attack which horrified the nation last year, was taken secretly to a police station on Saturday.
Her father Dr Shaun Russell and two police officers who have built up a special relationship with her, Pauline Smith and Ed Tingley, were at her side to comfort her through the emotional ordeal. Expert counsellors had been closely involved in the decision to ask Josie to take part in the parade. It was stressed to her that she was under no pressure to pick out anyone.
A number of other witnesses, who saw a man fitting the description of the killer in the area, also took part in the parades. Detectives will now hold talks with Crown Prosecution Service lawyers on whether to bring charges.
Josie has been under close police guard since the murders in July last year, amid fears that the killer could make another attempt on the life of the only eyewitness. The Daily Mail exclusively revealed some months ago that she might have to take part in an identity parade .
Also at the weekend, detectives questioned key suspect Michael Stone once again about the crime.
Right: Josie, who travelled from Wales for the identity parade BBC staff 's fury his movements on the day Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan were killed.
Stone, 37, has already been questioned for some 96 hours. He was first arrested in July, days after a reconstruction of the murders was shown on BBC TV's Crimewatch to mark the first anniversary. He has not been charged in connection with the murders but has been accused of less serious, unrelated offences.
Stone, who has protested his innocence, appeared before Medway magistrates yesterday and was remanded until Friday.
Detectives have carried out painstaking inquiries into his background.
The identity parades are believed to have taken place at Rainham police station near Gillingham, Kent, which has a special suite for staging them.
Josie was driven there from her new home in North Wales.
Mrs Russell and her daughters were attacked as they walked along a bridlepath between the girls' school and their home in Chillenden, Kent.
The killer drove past them and was lying in wait when they rounded a bend.
He got out of the car and pulled out a hammer before demanding: 'Give me your money, I want your money'.
Mrs Russell refused, then told him she did not have any cash with her.
She offered to go home and fetch some money, but she and the little girls were forced into a copse where they were repeatedly battered with the hammer.
Mrs Russell and Megan and their family dog were all killed but Josie somehow survived, despite massive head injuries. Doctors feared she would never recover but she staged a remarkable fight back to health and has now fully regained her speech.
As her memory of the horror gradually returned, she has been able to give police vital clues.
Josie has said the killer told them: 'I just want to tie you up while I drive away.' He even asked her: 'Are they too tight?' after binding her wrists with strips from one of the towels the girls had been carrying home from a swiming lesson.
Then he began his merciless assault. It took some 15 minutes and at one point the killer even broke off to look through the children's lunch boxes.
Josie's description of the killer matches that of a man seen by a local woman minutes after the murder, at 4.30pm on July 9 last year. He was throwing a bag containing a bloodied swimming towel, later identified as Josie's, into a hedge.
The woman who saw him is also believed to have taken part in the identity parades.
Police believe the abandoned towel may provide crucial evidence. A hair found on it is believed to have come from the killer, and a new DNA technique, developed specially for the case, is expected to provide a genetic 'fingerprint'.
Copyright 1997 Times Newspapers Limited
September 23, 1997, Tuesday
Published on the day of the confession
SECTION: Home news
LENGTH: 254 words
HEADLINE: Josie Russell at identity parade
BYLINE: Stewart Tendler, Crime Correspondent
JOSIE RUSSELL has attended an identity parade to try to pick out the man who left her for dead after killing her mother and six-year-old sister in a woodland hammer attack.
Josie, 10, was driven by her father, Dr Shaun Russell, to a special suite at Rainham police station, Kent, for the parade, which involved a 37-year-old man who was questioned earlier this year about the murders. It is not known whether she identified anyone.
The unemployed 37-year-old from Gillingham, who is facing charges of burglary and intimidation of three witnesses, was released from prison to police custody on Friday but yesterday Medway magistrates remanded him back to prison for five days.
He was arrested after an appeal on the BBC television Crimewatch programme and questioned about the murders of Lin and Megan Russell as well as an attack on an elderly special constable in 1976.
Modern identification suites are designed so that witnesses no longer have to walk along a line and confront suspects. They can stand behind one-way mirrors to view the line-up or watch a video of the parade. Witnesses as young as three have given evidence in this way.
Mrs Russell and her daughters were attacked in a lane at Chillenden last summer. A year later Josie described how a car had passed them and stopped. A man armed with a hammer then got out and demanded money. Mrs Russell argued with him and urged Josie to run away, but the man caught her, brought her back and then tied up all three before attacking them.
THE TIMES 23rd September 1997
OTHER NEWS REPORTS
Copyright 1996 Guardian Newspapers Limited
The Guardian (London)
July 19, 1996
SECTION: THE GUARDIAN HOME PAGE; Pg. 11
LENGTH: 454 words
HEADLINE: NEW LEAD IN KENT HUNT
POLICE yesterday released an E-FIT picture (right) of a suspect in the case of the mother and daughter found murdered in a lane in Kent last week.
The man is white, in his 20s or 30s, with light-coloured short hair with a fringe. He has fair skin and was wearing a red T-Shirt.
Police also disclosed new evidence yesterday. A local woman driving past the top of the lane, where Lin Russell and six-year-old Megan were found bludgeoned to death, saw a man in a car around the time of the murders.
The woman remembered the incident after being questioned by police during road checks near the murder scene in Chillenden on Tuesday.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Stevens said the witness had to brake suddenly as a car came from the lane. The car stopped, and "she says the man looked around apprehensively before driving off".
The car matched a description given by another witness, who saw a man throw a bag belonging to the Russells into a hedge. He was driving a beige or light-coloured family saloon with red static strips hanging from the back.
Meanwhile, Josephine Russell, aged nine, in hospital with multiple skull fractures from the attack, is continuing to improve in hospital.
Police said she had been told that her mother and sister were dead, but it was not clear if she understood.
Copyright 1997 MGN Ltd.
July 9, 1997, Wednesday
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 4, 5
LENGTH: 1467 words
HEADLINE: RUN JOSIE, RUN;
MUM'S FRANTIC SHOUT AS HAMMER FIEND STRUCK;
JOSIE RUSSELL'S ACCOUNT OF HAMMER ATTACK ON HER MOTHER AND SISTER
BYLINE: Howard Sounes
Schoolgirl Josie Russell has spoken for the first time of mum Lin's last desperate bid to save her from a hammer maniac.
Lin urged the youngster to run for her life. But Josie was caught and dragged back to face the nightmare of the crime that shocked the nation one year ago today.
Josie, 10, was left for dead by the monster who murdered her mother and sister. She has now fully regained her powers of speech and been able to tell police the full horror of the attack.
In her harrowing account she revealed how the killer jumped out of a car and demanded money. Then he:
HERDED the family into a glade before beating Lin.
RIPPED up towels to tie them up and gag Lin.
BATTERED Josie 16 times in an attack that lasted 20 minutes.
TIED family dog Lucy to a tree before killing her. Detective Chief Inspector Dave Stevens, who heads the murder hunt, said yesterday: "There was no obvious sexual motive.
"It could be some weird, bizarre, awful fantasy that became a reality that day."
Scientist Lin, 45, her six-year-old daughter Megan and their pet Lucy were killed on an isolated country lane near their home at Nonington, Kent, last July 9.
Lin had been to collect the girls from the village school at Goodnestone.
Josie and Megan carried damp towels and costumes after a swimming gala.
On Cherry Garden Lane near the hamlet of Chillenden, halfway home on their walk through woods and fields, they were ambushed. Mr Stevens said: "Josie had not long entered the lane when a car passed her from behind.
"Josie, her sister and her mother had to stand by the side of the road to let the car pass.
"As they rounded a bend the car was in front of them - a red, four-door hatchback.
"As they approached the car, the man got out of the driver's seat, opened the back door and removed a hammer from the rear parcel shelf.
"He said 'Give me your money. I want money.' Lin said no because she didn't have any money.
"Lin said 'I will go home and get you some. I don't live far away. Please don't hurt us.'
"She then shouted to Josie to run and Josie ran toward a nearby house that was temporarily unoccupied.
"Josie didn't get far because the man chased her, grabbed her and brought her back. Lin was then struck on the back."
The family was herded into a small glade where the brute - white, in his twenties or thirties and with fair hair - tied them up with torn strips of towel which he also used to gag Lin.
The police chief went on: "The dog was tied to the tree and Josie was told 'I just want to tie you up while I drive away.'
"Josie almost certainly heard her mother's injuries being inflicted on her. Thank God she didn't actually see them.
"The man said about Josie's bindings: 'Are they too tight?'"
He then rummaged through the children's lunchboxes and hit their mother again.
When police searchers arrived at midnight they found the family tied up with strips of towelling and shoelaces.
Mr Stevens said: "Initially we thought that Josie would not be able to help us, but how wrong we have been proved."
For months the youngster was unable to talk about the attack. But piece by piece, the story was coaxed from her by WPC Pauline Smith and Detective Constable Ed Tingley.
Police yesterday showed a short video of Josie playing and talking to the two officers. WPC Smith said: "When she has remembered something that she can tell us she has been euphoric afterwards and very excited, but I don't think she wants to remember everything."
New information has also come from a woman who was confronted by a stranger nine days before the murders.
She was walking with her two young children along a quiet road in Betteshanger, three miles from Chillenden, when a man got out of a BMW carrying a plastic bag and came towards her in a threatening manner. She turned and walked quickly away.
The frightened woman only came forward in May following fresh appeals by police.
JOSIE'S grieving father said yesterday: "I'd like to see what happened to my wife and children done to whoever did this."
Botanist Dr Shaun Russell, who has moved back to North Wales with Josie, said the attack had transformed his "liberal" views on criminals and punishment.
Voice of The Mirror - Page 6
GRAPHIC: ATTACK: Reconstruction from last night's Crimewatch;; ATTACK: The killer jumps out of his car in the reconstruction;; FACE OF COURAGE: The scars from Josie's terrible head wounds are healing; - and she looks to the future with a smile;; MURDERED: Mum Lin RussellMURDERED: Little sister Megan
REPORT OF SIMILAR ATTACK 4 MONTHS BEFORE 'CONFESSION' (23/9/97)
Copyright 1997 MGN Ltd.
June 2, 1997, Monday
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 11
LENGTH: 587 words
HEADLINE: HAMMER ATTACK LINKED TO CORNFIELD MURDERS;
WOMAN FLEES FROM MANIAC IN ORCHARD;
POLICE INVESTIGATING MURDERS OF LIN AND MEGAN RUSSELL NOW CHECK OUT ANOTHER ATTACK NEARBY
Police investigating the brutal cornfield murders of Lin and Megan Russell were last night probing another hammer attack a few miles from where they died.
A woman was threatened by a man as she walked through an apple orchard yesterday morning, but she struggled and managed to grab the hammer.
She escaped unharmed and ran to a house for help. Detectives were yesterday searching the area.
Lin, 45, and daughter Megan, six, were bludgeoned to death with a hammer as they walked home from school in July.
Mrs Russell was bound, gagged and blindfolded. Megan had a shoe lace tied around her neck.
Megan's sister Josie, 10, survived the attack after being left for dead.
Their killer has not been found, but Josie is making a steady recovery and has been able to give officers more details about the murders at Chillenden, Kent.
Police said yesterday: "Because a hammer was used any links to the Chillenden case will be examined.
REPORT OF SIMILAR ATTACK 3 MONTHS FOLLOWING CRIME IN OCTOBER 1996
(it is not known if the perpetrator was caught)
The Daily Mirror (1st
Courage of Josie
She tries to spot killer in ID parade
BRAVE Josie Russell has faced the agonising ordeal of trying to pick out the hammer fiend who murdered her mother and little sister. Josie, ten, who was left for dead by the maniac attacker, was gently led into a police station's special "identity suite" for her harrowing task. She watched from behind a one-way glass screen as 12 men, including suspect Michael Stone, 37, were put on parade.
Detectives who organised the parade at Rainham, Kent, are not revealing if the courageous youngster picked out anyone.
The killer struck as Josie walked home from school down a remote country lane at Chillenden, Kent, with mum Lin, 45, and sister Megan, six. Hebound and gagged the family before battering Mrs Russell, Megan and the family's dog Lucy to death with a hammer.
|The Daily Mail - March 24, 1999
The Daily Mirror - 15th December 2005
A YOUNG woman is fighting for life after a hammer attack in a churchyard.
She was taking a short cut home when a man stepped out of the darkness and blocked her path.
After a brief conversation, he began raining blows on her head, then ran off.
The woman managed to call her boyfriend on her mobile.
He phoned police and dashed to the scene where officers found her semi-conscious with blood streaming from her injuries.
The unnamed 20-year-old - a student at the Royal Holloway University in Egham, Surrey - was on her way home to her hall of residence after finishing her part- time job at about 9pm on Tuesday.
She had got off a train at Egham after travelling from nearby Staines and was walking through St Jude's churchyard in Englefield Green.
She was taken to St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey where doctors described her condition as "potentially life-threatening".
She was in intensive care with skull fractures and a blood clot on her brain.
Police said they were treating the attack as attempted murder and are working on the theory that the man was lying in wait for a woman victim to walk past.
He is described as white, aged 30 to 40, about 6ft, of rugged appearance and wearing dark clothing.
Det Chief Insp Brian Russell, in charge of the investigation, said: "This was a savage attack on a young woman that has left her with very serious injuries.
"She was on her way home from her part-time job when she was ambushed. This man is very dangerous and we must find him before he strikes again.
"There may be a wife or a girlfriend out there who noticed something strange in the behaviour of a husband or partner when they got home
"We urgently need to hear from any witnesses who may have seen or heard something suspicious."
There have been a number of unsolved attacks in the area.
Milly Dowler, 13, disappeared while walking home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002. Her remains were discovered in Yateley Heath Woods in Hampshire six months later.
Student Marsha McDonnell, 19, was killed in Hampton, South West London, in 2003.
Her murder was linked to five attacks on women, including last year's killing of French student Amelie Delagrange, 22, at Twickenham Green, South West London.
This year Abigail Witchalls, 26, was attacked in Little Bookham 20 miles away but survived.
Police have closed that inquiry, blaming Richard Cazaly, 23, who committed suicide.