A review into the 1996 murders of mother and daughter Lin and Megan Russell on a Kent country lane is set to conclude that West London serial killer Levi Bellfield was not involved in the horrific hammer killings. Bellfield, currently serving life in prison for the murders of schoolgirl Milly Dowler and two other women, made a formal confession to the Russell murders earlier this year.
However, an upcoming report by the Criminal Case Review Commission is set to conclude that former drug addict Michael Stone, already serving life in prison for the murders, was indeed responsible for killing Lin and Megan Russell, according to Mail Online sources. After five years of enquiries, the source says, the CCRC is set to find that no one other than Stone was responsible for the murders.
Dr Lin Russell, 45, was walking home from a swimming gala with her daughters Megan, 6, and Josie, 9, through a country lane near Chillenden, Kent, in July 1996 when they were brutally attacked. The three were tied up and repeatedly bludgeoned with a claw hammer – eldest daughter Josie was the only miraculous survivor of the horrendous ordeal.
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(Image: Handout/PA Wire)
Levi Bellfield, 54, now known as Yusuf Rahim, is currently serving a whole life sentence for three murders between 2002 and 2004 of Milly Dowler, 13, French student Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19.
Bellfield, from West Drayton, was also convicted of the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy in 2004, after which he was jailed in 2008 for three of these, before also being found guilty of Milly’s murder in 2011. His whole life order means he will be in prison until he dies with no possibility of parole.
(Image: PA Archive/PA Images)
At the time of the murders, Bellfield had worked as a doorman across West London but was running a new wheel-clamping business from his home in West Drayton.
The lawyer for Michael Stone, Paul Bacon, has spent 15 years trying to prove his innocence in the Russell murders. Stone, a petty criminal and former heroin addict was found guilty of two murders and attempted murder in 1998 despite a lack of forensic evidence. He made a successful appeal but was then found guilty at a second trial in 2001 based partly on a confession he is said to have made in prison.
Mr Bacon submitted Bellfield’s four-page confession written in prison earlier this year as evidence of Stone’s innocence. But doubts have been raised over the credibility of this confession due to comments Bellfield has made to other inmates and guards where the egotistical killer shrugged his letters to Mr Bacon off as a game.
(Image: Haydn West/PA Wire)
Bellfield’s girlfriend in 1996 Jo Collings has also told police he was at a party in southwest London on the day of the murder – nearly 100 miles away from the attack in Kent, further undermining his claim to be the true killer.
In his confession, Bellfield also claims to have killed a North London woman Judith Gold in 1990. If his claims are true this would make Bellfield responsible for six murders, and one of Britain’s worst-ever serial killers.
According to the Mail, Josie Russell has declined to comment on the review, and Kent Police has made clear it has no intention of re-investigating the murders. It said in February when the CCRC opened its review that it “has had access to all forensic evidence, documentation and exhibits from the original investigation, the review by Hampshire Police, details of the two Crown Court trials and appeals to the High Court.”
The CCRC said: “We have no further comment to make other than the case is still under review.”
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