Balaclava clue could prove Michael Stone did NOT hammer mother and daughter Lin and Megan Russell to death, his lawyer says

  • Lawyers for Michael Stone asked for balaclava to be tested using DNA methods 
  • Material contained 22 hairs that did not belong to victims Lin and Megan Russell 
  • Mother and daughter were brutally killed in Chillenden, Kent, on July 9, 1996 

A key piece of evidence in the brutal murders of Lin and Megan Russell could help prove the innocence of a man twice convicted of their murders, his lawyer says.

Lawyers for Michael Stone, 61, have asked for a balaclava found half a mile from the murder scene in Chillenden, Kent, to be tested using new DNA techniques.  

The material had contained 22 hairs that did not belong to the victims and fibres that matched the clothing they were wearing on July 9, 1996, the Mirror reports.    

Lin, 45, her two daughters, six-year-old Megan and nine-year-old Josie, as well as their dog Lucy, were tied up and savagely beaten with a hammer in the brutal attack. 

Lin, Megan and dog Lucy died, while Josie survived the attack, which took place as the family walked home along a country lane from a school swimming gala.

Stone has twice been found guilty of their murders and is serving three life sentences, but no scientific or identification evidence links him to the scene.

Lin Russell, 45, her two daughters, six-year-old Megan (above with her mother) and nine-year-old Josie, were tied up and savagely beaten with a hammer in the brutal attack in 1996

Lawyers for Michael Stone (above), 61, have asked for a balaclava found half a mile from the murder scene in Chillenden, Kent, to be tested using new DNA techniques

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), an independent organisation set up to investigate suspected miscarriages of justice. is now considering Stone’s case. 

His lawyer Mark McDonald insists Stone is not guilty, and claims convicted killer Levi Bellfield has confessed to the murders of Lin and Megan in 2017.  

Bellfield, 53, was linked to the murders after he finally admitted to killing 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

His lawyer Mark McDonald insists Stone is not guilty, and claims convicted killer Levi Bellfield (above) has confessed to the murders of Lin and Megan in 2017

He also murdered Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22.

In 2017, he allegedly claimed he was behind the murders of Lin and Megan.

However, he later retracted his confession and has never been charged. He is known for wearing balaclavas.   

Paul Fotheringham of Kent Police said: ‘We have been providing (the CCRC) with all relevant information and evidence required.’    

It comes after a bootlace discovered at the scene of the shocking 1996 killings was reportedly found more than a decade after being lost by police.

According to lawyers for Stone, the key piece of evidence, which was lost for 14 years, could be used to clear his name, the Sun reported in May.

It was used to tie up one of the victims and was dropped by the killer and later found at the scene by detectives.

A small part of the lace was tested for DNA at the time. But, with the processes still in their infancy, the tests came back inconclusive.

Stone has twice been found guilty of their murders and is serving three life sentences, but no scientific or identification evidence links him to the scene. Pictured: Police revisiting the scene in 2001

Lin, Megan and dog Lucy died, while Josie (above with Lin in 1989) survived the attack, which took place as the family walked home along a country lane from a school swimming gala 

Lawyers for Stone have argued since 2007 for the whole lace to be tested.

However, police have insisted that a large section of the lace no longer exists, having never been returned to police after forensic testing.

Police then reportedly said the lace had been tested to the point of destruction 1998.

Josie Russell (pictured) survived the brutal attack with head injuries

According to the Sun, the larger lace section was recently found again – supposedly at a police station. The lace is now reportedly being tested by the CCRC.

Mr McDonald said: ‘Michael is hopeful the DNA tests will lead to the real perpetrator being found.’

Stone, a drug addict with prior convictions, was arrested a year after the attack and charged with the murders.  

He was found guilty after two prisoners – one of them convicted murderer Damian Daley – gave evidence for the prosecution, telling the court how Stone had confessed to him in prison. 

In 2001, Stone faced a retrial after one of the prisoners withdrew the claim against him.

However, he was found guilty once more and sentenced to three life-sentences.

He is due to finish his 25-year minimum term next year, but will not be released because he has not confessed to the killings.  

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