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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
'Drug link' to Russell killings
Michael Stone
Witnesses said Michael Stone was a drug user
The jury in the trial of Michael Stone has heard that a boot lace found near the murder scene could have been used by a drug addict as a tourniquet.

Forensic scientist Rodger Ide said the 99-centimetre lace had three knots tied in it.

Nottingham Crown Court has already heard from witnesses that Mr Stone was a drug user who injected heroin five or six times a day.

Some said they saw him use shoelaces, belts and a tie as tourniquets to bring up his veins.

Lin and Megan Russell
Lin and Megan Russell were killed on a country lane in Kent
Mr Stone denies murdering Lin Russell, 45, and daughter Megan, aged six, and attempting to murder Josie, then aged nine, on a country lane near Chillenden, Kent, on 9 July, 1996.

The black, braided lace was found near a copse on Cherry Garden Lane.

Mr Ide, an expert with 25 years' experience in knots, told the court he initially thought the lace was used as a ligature.

But he said he changed his mind when he thought about how drug addicts use them as tourniquets.

Tested lace

Mr Ide said: "In my view now it seems this is a more plausible explanation than its use as a ligature because of the stretching.

"I have done some tests on some similar boot laces holding it tight round my arm and leg and leaving to see if it causes stretching of the lace."

Under cross-examination by William Clegg QC, defending, Mr Ide admitted the maximum pressure he used to stretch the lace was far more than a drug user might need to tie a tourniquet.

He said he applied the pressure because he was also investigating the use of the lace as a ligature.

The trial has been adjourned for the day and will continue on Friday.

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