“At about 4 pm on Tuesday 9th July 1996, after a swimming gala at a local school, Dr Lin Russell, then aged 45, and her two daughters Megan, aged 6, and Josie, aged 9, set off to walk home with their family dog. The walk should have taken about 45 minutes. At about 4.25 pm, as they were walking along Cherry Garden Lane, Chillenden, Kent, a quiet unmade track, they were attacked. Their attacker tied them up with torn towels and shoe laces, blindfolded them, and beat them over their heads with a hammer. Dr Lin Russell and Megan died, but although seriously injured, Josie survived.
Michael Stone was convicted of murder before two juries, but can a person ever receive a fair trial and be safely convicted on the strength of a confession which merely repeats facts that are in the public domain?
He was arrested on 17th July 1997 just over a year following the crime as a result of a tip-off from his psychiatrist who said the police e-fit looked familiar. Stone denied any knowledge of the crime and was remanded in custody while an ID parade was arranged. On 23rd September 1997, following his request to the prison Governor to be moved to the segregation unit to ‘escape from prisoners who were making up stories about his involvement in the crime’, he was placed in a cell next to a heroin addict named Damien Daley, who later admitted in court to being an accomplished liar “in order to get by in life.”
Daley claimed Stone confessed to the murders through a prison cell and Stone was convicted on this feeble evidence alone.
Michael Stone has always maintained his innocence in the case but his many appeals to the High Court have failed.
Has he been the victim of yet another miscarriage of justice?
It’s a little known fact that Stone was in care as a child where he was physically and sexually abused.
In 2004, he released a statement about the murders and how he had previously attacked a notorious paedophile who had been abusing boys.
Was Stone framed in revenge for the attack?
This is the statement in full:
” I have never murdered anyone, so have no guilt for any murder(s) for which to show remorse. However, you are correct about my not feeling any remorse over any past wrongdoings (which I see now as mistakes) for which I am responsible.
At the first Chillenden Murder trial, a serving prisoner testified that he saw blood on my clothes the day after the murders, but he has since admitted he was lying, and that there was no blood on my clothes on the day in question. His girlfriend never said there was blood on my clothes the day after the murders, although during their interrogations the police implied that she had, in order to induce me to confess.
I have always maintained my total innocence to the police and to the world at large, because I never committed these murders. Nobody has ever said they saw me either at Chillenden or with blood on my clothes on the day of the murders.
At the first trial, one of the prosecution witnesses alleged that during the police interrogation I confessed to burning the clothes I wore on the day after the murders. After later scientific audio tests, it was conceded that I never said that at all. Further, nobody has ever said they saw me burning my clothes.
The petrol lawn mower stolen from Chillenden earlier on the day of the murders was of a different type from the electric mower I sold on July 11, 1996.
I do know the Canterbury area fairly well, and nearby Dover and Folkestone too. I understand that Chillenden is out in the sticks somewhere between the two, but I am not familiar with the place. I attended the Chillenden vicinity with the court during the second trial, and never recognised the area, but I am familiar with several roads not many miles away. More importantly, I was certainly not at Chillenden at the time of the murders on July 9, 1996.
I did have a heroin addiction during 1996, and I do have previous convictions for robbery, but that does not make me a murderer. I never took any part in the Chillenden Murders. I was in no way involved. I am totally innocent of these terrible crimes.
I have a conviction for grievous bodily harm, in 1980, but there is absolutely no other similarity between this crime and the Chillenden Murders. Foolishly I went to the house of a homosexual paedophile and threatened to stop his activities of molesting young boys. He took umbrage and grabbed me. I over-reacted by picking up his own hammer and striking him with it. The judge gave me a two year sentence for this attack; the paedophile received a five year sentence for the above mentioned sexual offences.
The man I was convicted of stabbing was not asleep, and he would have injured me had I not stabbed him.
Much forensic evidence was found at the crime scene including hairs, saliva, fibres and bloodstained partial fingerprints. Forensic scientists have eliminated me as being the source of any and all such samples.
The prosecution accepted – at both trials – that all the details of the alleged cell block confession (which I never made) were either in the public domain or were capable of being deduced from what was in the public domain.
I will never accept being in prison for life for murders I never committed, so I will take the appeal process all the way until the day I prove my innocence. I have spent seven and a half years in prison for murders I never committed: that is an injustice inflicted on me, and a further injustice inflicted upon the victims of the real maniac hammer murderer who has gotten clean away with this crime.
How many more murders will he go on to commit before you open your eyes?
Michael John Stone
Full Sutton Prison November 12, 2004″
In 2012 the following letter was sent to InsideTime:
” I first moved to Folkestone in January 1998 and I was facing a retrial myself at Oxford Crown Court for a post office robbery. I was given bail to the Kent area… (and) met Damien Daley (the key witness in Michael Stone’s case who said he’d heard his confession). In the April of 1999 I’m remanded to Canterbury jail and whilst banged up there I was told about Michael Stone and Mr Daley both being down the Block. In the latter part of 1999 I’m released and after a little while I meet up with Damien and this is what he tells me when I ask him about Mr Stone.
Damien admits to me in a conversation that Michael Stone could be innocent and he said what he did to the old bill because he wanted out of prison… Damien Daley admitted to me that Mr Stone never confessed to those murders. I want to put the record straight that it took me seven years to come forward as I contacted Maidstone Crown Court in the summer of 2001 while Mr Stone’s retrial was being heard… I was eventually told that it was “too late” in the day for my evidence as the trial was now coming to a close…
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that Michael Stone is an innocent man.”
Isn’t it time to look again at Michael Stone’s conviction?
If he didn’t commit those heinous murders who the hell did?