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EDITIONS
Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Stone 'lost in world of drugs'
Michael Stone
Stone: History of heroin abuse
The exact motive for the murders of Lin and Megan Russell may never be known but the killings appear to be linked with Michael Stone's addiction to heroin.

Stone, who was unemployed, spent much of his time scouring Kent for goods which he could steal and sell to finance his 100-a-day drug habit.

The second trial heard that a bootlace found near the murder scene bore all the hallmarks of the type used by drug addicts as a tourniquet.

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

Injected several times a day

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

If the lace was his it is not clear if he was "shooting up" before or after the murders.

Stone, who was born Michael John Goodban in Tunbridge Wells in 1960, was one of five children.

His building labourer father split up with his mother, who has married a total of four times, but not before Stone witnessed and suffered domestic violence as a child.

Confused and angry teenager

The young Stone ended up in a children's home in Eastry, near Canterbury, but he was abused and embarked on his teenage years as a confused, frustrated and angry boy.

When he was released from care he moved to Gillingham and took up a heroin habit.

He had a police record dating back to the age of 12 and his criminal career - mainly shoplifting and burglary - continued unabated into adulthood.

In 1981 he was jailed for two years at Middlesex Crown Court for robbery and grievous bodily harm after he attacked a homosexual man with a hammer.

Two years later he was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for wounding, assault and dishonesty after he stabbed his sleeping victim in the chest with a kitchen knife.

Freed in 1993

In 1987 he was jailed again, this time for an armed robbery on a building society in Brighton which netted him a measly 577.

Stone was jailed for eight years and walked free in 1993.


Maybe he's got a down on stable families. This young family walking through the cornfield with their dog. Maybe he thought 'This is everything I want and I can't have it'.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Stevens
Despite the resurgence of his drug habit, he was able to keep out of trouble with the law until that fateful day in July 1996.

Stone admitted he had been taking so many drugs that he had no idea where he was on the day of the murders.

In interviews after his arrest Stone repeatedly denied killing Dr Russell and her daughter but admitted he had no alibi.

The trial was told that Stone supplemented his income by driving around Kent and stealing lawnmowers, mobile generators, hi-fi equipment and other easily disposable goods.

One friend said he knew the Chillenden area "like the back of his hand".

'He wanted money'

Josie Russell, who was left for the dead in the attack, later told police a man had demanded money from them before tying them up and bludgeoning them with a hammer.

Stone admitted: "I haven't got an alibi."

Detectives asked him: "You had no idea at all where you were on that day?"

Stone said: "I can't remember. I can't remember for two reasons. One - I was badly on drugs and two - it was so long ago."

He told detectives that he had been a heroin user for years.

Before Stone's arrest the man heading the inquiry, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Stevens, speculated on what might have been going on in the killer's head.

He said: "Maybe he's got a down on stable families. This young family walking through the cornfield with their dog. Maybe he thought 'This is everything I want and I can't have it'."



Analysis

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