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 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 20:23 GMT
Danielle's uncle jailed for murder
Stuart Campbell
Mr Campbell's photo has now been released

The uncle of schoolgirl Danielle Jones has been jailed for life after being found guilty of her murder and abduction.

Stuart Campbell, 44, of Grays in Essex, had denied killing the 15-year-old, who was last seen at a bus stop near her home in East Tilbury on 18 June 2001.

Danielle's parents Tony and Linda Jones hugged each other after hearing the unanimous verdict from a jury of seven women and five men at Chelmsford Crown Court, at the end of an 11-week trial.

The teenager's body has never been found, but police identified Campbell as Danielle's killer after phone records showed he had used her mobile in the crucial period after she went missing.

You have done a truly terrible thing that caused widespread horror and disbelief

Mr Justice McKinnon

Following the guilty verdict the jury heard that Campbell, a father of two, had a lengthy criminal record including a suspended prison sentence for keeping a 14-year-old girl in his flat in 1989 without lawful authority.

Mr Jones said: "We are just hoping that now there has been a verdict he might come forward and say 'yes, I would like to tell you where Danielle is'."

The head of Essex police, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Reynolds, said his officers would continue to search for Danielle's body and would pressure Campbell to reveal where she is.

Campbell looked down as his life sentence for murder and 10 years for kidnapping to run concurrently, were announced.

Danielle Jones
Danielle Jones went missing in June last year
Linda Jones said she was happy with the verdict but added: "Today is tinged with sadness because we still don't have her back.

"We need to find her so that we can lay her to rest and grieve properly."

Speaking at a press conference, the couple said no words could describe how they felt about Campbell other than "very much betrayed".

Promising to continue the search for Danielle, Mr Reynolds said: "Our duty to Linda and Tony Jones is to keep trying, and we certainly will."

Smooth operator

Delivering his verdict the judge described Campbell as a "blatantly deceitful and thoroughly dishonest smooth operator over many years", who had crept into the affections of an underage teenager.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones: Verdict tinged with sadness
Mr Justice McKinnon said: "You have done a truly terrible thing that caused widespread horror and disbelief."

He said Campbell had been "obsessed" with Danielle and had kidnapped her with the intention of photographing her.

Campbell was not a blood relative of Danielle's but married to Debbie Jones, Danielle's father's sister.

During the trial the jury heard how Danielle was seen talking to a man with a blue Transit van, similar to Campbell's, on the morning she went missing.

He sent himself text messages from Danielle's phone after she disappeared, in an attempt to make it look like she was still alive.

Experts gave evidence that blood-stained stockings and a lip gloss found in Campbell's home contained traces of her DNA.

The jury heard a catalogue of evidence from young women who had in some way been manipulated by Campbell.

Some had been lured into posing for topless photographs, others said he took photographs of them from an upstairs window of his home.

Indecent photographs

Campbell decided not to give evidence during his trial.

His previous convictions also include robbery and violence.

In 1989 he took a 14-year-old girl to his home and took indecent photographs of her.

Danielle's father said the family had known Campbell had been in court previously, but had been "kept in the dark" about the severity of the offence and had been led to believe he had been found not guilty.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's George Eykyn reports
"His relationship with Danielle, then aged 15, was improper and physical"
  Parents Linda and Tony Jones
"Today is tinged with sadness"
  Det Chf Supt Steve Reynolds, Essex Police
"Resources have been stretched"

Click here to go to Essex

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