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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
Stone 'confessed' to hammer attacks
Josie Russell
Josie Russell survived the attack
The man accused of attacking three members of the same family admitted his crimes while on remand, a court has heard.

Michael Stone, 41 allegedly told how he bludgeoned to death Lin Russell and her daughter Megan and tried to kill her daughter, Josie, in a country lane near Chillenden, in Kent, five years ago.

Lin and Megan Russell with horse
Lin and Megan Russell were killed in a ferocious attack
Mr Stone, 41, from Gillingham, Kent, denies two counts of murder and one of attempted murder.

On the opening day of the trial of Mr Stone, Nottingham Crown Court was told that Lin, Megan, 6, and Josie, 9, were on their way home from school in Cherry Garden Lane when the attack happened.

Nigel Sweeney QC said the attacker got out of a car, wielded a hammer at the three and demanded money.

Lin Russell offered to go home with the man to get some but he refused.

When she told her daughter Josie to run to a nearby house, the man grabbed the youngster and hit her with the hammer.

Hammer attacks

He led the three to a copse where he tied them up with strips ripped from Josie's swimming towel.

Shaun Russell
Shaun Russell, the father of the family, called the police
Lin Russell, 45, was struck at least 15 times by a hammer and Megan at least seven times in the attack on 9 July 1996.

Mr Sweeney said that Josie, who was blindfolded, heard the attack on her mother and shouted 'stop'.

The attacker turned on her and smashed her skull.

Though she survived, she suffered brain damage.

The family's dog, Lucy, was also found dead.

'No forensic evidence'

The court was told that that there was no forensic evidence at the scene to link Mr Stone to the crime.

But a friend said that they had seen him with blood on his t-shirt after the attack.

However neither Josie nor another witness picked him out in an ID parade, the court heard.

Soon after the attack, a woman described how she had driven behind a man who seemed extremely agitated.

Mr Sweeney said: "He kept looking at her through his mirror and she got a sufficiently good look at him to make an e-fit of the man she had seen."

Another witness saw a man in an agitated state throw away the bloodied towel.

Attack described

Mr Sweeney told the court that Mr Stone had given graphic details of the attack to fellow convict Damian Daley, who was also on remand at Canterbury Prison in 1997.

Mr Sweeney said Mr Stone, who was 36 at the time of the murders, knew the area, as he had lived there as a child in children's homes.

Mr Sweeney said: "You will hear in due course that he told lies about that knowledge in police interviews. He tried to say he didn't know this area as well as he did."

He added that Mr Stone also kept tools, including hammers, in his car.

And he also burnt his clothing after the attack, the court was told.

The case continues.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's June Kelly
"There was no forensic evidence linking Michael Stone to the murder scene"
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