Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Wednesday, 12 July 2006 12:39 UK

Murderer Stone loses report case

Michael Stone leaving court in 2005
Michael Stone lost an appeal against his convictions in 2005

Murderer Michael Stone has lost a High Court bid to have "highly personal medical information" in a mental health report kept from the public and media.

He is serving life for murdering Lin and Megan Russell and attempting to kill Josie Russell in Kent.

Mr Justice Davis ruled the report should be unedited, but he delayed its publication until 26 July so Stone can ask the Appeal Court to hear his case.

Josie's father Shaun Russell, of north Wales, said she was happy at the news.

Stone was convicted in 2001 of the 1996 attacks in Chillenden.

Tabloid press

He had previously been receiving support and treatment for mental health problems and drug addiction and had also spent time on probation.

An independent inquiry set up by Kent Social Services, West Kent Health Authority and Kent Probation Service looked at the care he was given.

Shaun Russell outside the High Court
It has been six years since the report was finished... so we have been pushing for this for a long, long time
Shaun Russell

Stone went to the High Court asking for personal information he disclosed to the inquiry to be released only "to the people who need to learn the lessons".

His lawyer, Richard Clayton QC, said in a previous hearing on 19 June: "The claimant objects to disclosure of highly personal medical information... to the world at large, not least because of the treatment it will receive by the tabloid press."

Mr Clayton said Stone was happy for an edited version to be widely published.

But Mr Justice Davis ruled on Wednesday: "I refuse to grant Mr Stone any of the relief he seeks.

"The public interest requires publication of the report in full."

The judge said privacy and data protection laws would not be breached.

'Horrifying failures'

Shaun Russell, from Nantlle Valley, Gwynedd, said after the ruling: "What was nice to hear was that the judge made the judgment in favour of full disclosure.

"It has been six years since the report was finished... so we have been pushing for this for a long, long time.

"We believe it is in the public interest that lessons need to be learned because what we have read in the report has been fairly horrifying about failures in the system in looking after Michael Stone up to the time of the murders.

Lin Russell (left) and her daughter Megan
Lin Russell, 45, and six-year-old Megan were killed in 1996

"I called Josie and asked her what her thoughts were about the judgment. She said, 'Very good, excellent.'"

Mental health charity Sane said the court's decision was the right one.

Chief executive Marjorie Wallace said an abbreviated version of the report "would have done a grave disservice to the victims and their surviving family, the public [and] the health services and other agencies who need to learn about the fault lines in the system".

Mr Justice Davis agreed "with some reluctance" to extend an order preventing the report from being released for now.

Mr Russell said he hoped he and his daughter would not have to wait much longer for its publication.

Data protection issues

Stone's solicitor Peter Edwards said he would be meeting his client on Friday to discuss whether to raise the case's data protection issues with the Court of Appeal.

A joint statement by the care report's commissioning bodies - NHS South East Coast, Kent County Council and Kent Probation Board - said: "Our legal team will continue to press for the conclusion of the legal process to allow us to proceed with publication."

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