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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Father gives evidence in Stone trial
Josie Russell
Josie Russell has made a remarkable recovery
The trial of Michael Stone, accused of attacking three members of the same family with a hammer, has heard evidence from the husband and father of the victims.

Mr Stone, 41, from Gillingham, Kent, denies murdering Dr Lin Russell and her daughter Megan, 6. He also denies the attempted murder of Josie Russell, 9.

On the second day of the trial at Nottingham Crown Court, statements by Shaun Russell were read out to the jury.

Mr Russell described in detail what had happened on the day of the murders, 9 July 1996.

He described the route taken by Lin when she was collecting his children from school - and where the three were attacked.

Lin and Megan Russell with horse
Shaun Russell assumed the three were with their ponies

On the evening of the killings Mr Russell arrived home at 1930BST to find the house in darkness.

His statement read: "I was not worried because I thought they would be visiting our ponies. Over the next three-quarters of an hour I prepared supper."

It was 2030BST before Mr Russell began to get concerned and went to look for his family, because it was nearing the girls' bedtime.

Later he rang the police and local hospitals to see if there had been an accident.

Between 2130 and 2200BST he drove the route his family would have taken, including Cherry Garden Lane, just yards from where the bodies were concealed in a small copse.

Finding no trace he returned home and called the police, who then came to join the search.

His statement read: "Between 11.30 and midnight one of the officers came to me and said he had some bad news, he said my family had been found and that they were all dead."

On Monday the court heard that Michael Stone had confessed to the murders to another inmate while on remand.

The court was told that the Crown's case rested on the evidence of convict Damian Daley.

Prosecutor Nigel Sweeney QC said he accepted that no other evidence, whether taken individually or collectively, was enough for the jury to be sufficiently sure of guilt.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's June Kelly
"Police recorded more than 20 hours of video evidence with Josie Russell"
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