What happened to Lin Russell and Megan Russell? Chillenden murders explained

Lin Russell and Megan Russell
Lin Russell and Megan Russell

A brutal murder of a doctor and her daughter was to shock an entire nation.

After Dr Lin Russell and her two daughters were subjected to a horrific attack, it left the mother and one daughter dead while her other daughter was to miraculously survive the incident.

Lin Russell and Megan Russell
Lin Russell and Megan Russell

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When were Lin Russell and Megan Russell murdered in Chillenden?

Dr Lin Russell 45, and her six-year-old daughter Megan were murdered in a brutal hammer attack on July 9, 1996.

They were walking home down a quiet country lane after a school swimming competition when they were set upon.

The mum and her two daughters were tied up, blindfolded and beaten with a hammer in an attempted robbery.

A documentary entitled “The Chillenden Murders” aired on the BBC 21 years later and featured a team of independent experts reviewing the case and the evidence.

A BBC synopsis read: “With backgrounds in policing, forensics, law and criminology, they attempt to shed new light on the case and uncover the truth, whatever it may turn out to be.”

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Who is Michael Stone?

The heroin addict, of Gillingham, Kent, is alleged to have carried out the double murder which shocked the nation.

It sparked one of the biggest manhunts in British police history.

Stone, then aged 37, was arrested just over a year after the attack and charged.

He was handed three life sentences being found guilty at two trials – he also lost an appeal.

The basis of his conviction was a confession to a fellow prisoner.

What happened to Josie Russell during the attack?

Josie, then aged nine, survived the horrific attack despite suffering life-threatening head injuries.

It was initially feared she had been killed along with her mum and sister but despite catastrophic injuries, she pulled through.

Brave Josie graduated from Coleg Menai in Bangor with a degree in graphic design in 2009.

Lin Russell started making and selling greetings cards at art fairs before moving on to producing textile landscapes which now command up to £500 each.

Lin Russell showcases her work on her website www.josierussell.com and displays it in art galleries, where it is in huge demand.

Thanks to help from her dad and a trust fund boosted by the Criminal Injury Compensation Board, Josie has bought her family’s former home.

Preserved within its walls are treasured memories of her mum Lin and little sister Megan.

She recently announced she is due to get married, after becoming engaged to fire alarm engineer Iwan.

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Lin Russell fiancé did not know anything about her horrific ordeal when they first met and Josie said they never talk about the past.

Lin Russell said she planned to have children and follow her mum’s example and be a hands-on parent.

Is Michael Stone still in prison?

Stone, then aged 37, was arrested just over a year after the attack and charged.

He was sentenced to life behind bars after being found guilty at two trials and also lost an appeal.

In 2022, he was eligible for parole but refused the opportunity as it would mean admitting his guilt.

The basis of his conviction was a confession to a fellow prisoner. He remains in jail.

What evidence did Michael Stone’s legal team claim links Levi Bellfield to the crime?

Michael Stone was convicted of the murders in 2001 but according to his legal team, new evidence was put forward in 2017 casting doubt on his guilt.

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According to BBC Wales his legal team had evidence linking Levi Bellfield to the crime.

Lawyers for the twice convicted murderer of Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan in Kent in 1996, said they had new evidence of his innocence, including a “very detailed confession” to the killings from serial killer Bellfield.

However Bellfield denied both allegations of the murders and the confession when contacted by BBC Wales.

Bellfield is already serving two life sentences, including for the murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler as she walked home from school in Surrey in 2002.

The nightclub bouncer is known as the ‘bus stop killer’ as he would ambush females with a hammer from behind.

He had already been convicted of murdering 19-year-old Marsha McDonnell in 2003, Amelie Delagrange, 22, in 2004 and attempting to kill 18-year-old Kate Sheedy, when he was found guilty of Milly’s murder in 2011.

Police believe Bellfield could be linked to other crimes across the country where blunt instruments were used to attack women.

Lin Russell and her two daughters were attacked as they walked the family dog down a country lane in Chillenden, near Dover.

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