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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 16:28 GMT
Josie Russell wins wildlife award
Josie Russell
Josie Russell, now 19, has rebuilt her life in Wales
A teenager who survived a vicious hammer attack in Kent that killed her mother and sister has been recognised for her courage at an awards ceremony.

Josie Russell, who was nine when she was left for dead in Chillenden, near Canterbury, received an honour at a magazine awards ceremony.

The 19-year-old won Campaigner of the Year for her work with wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation.

She recently helped release three circus lions into a reserve in Africa.

Josie became involved with the charity two years after the attack in 1996, which happened as she and her six-year-old sister Megan and mother Lin walked home from a swimming gala.

Michael Stone is serving life for the attempted murder of Josie and the murders of Megan and Mrs Russell.

New life

He was originally convicted in 1998, then convicted again on all three counts following a retrial in 2001.

He lost a second appeal in 2005 and also lost a legal bid to keep secret a report into his medical treatment before the attack.

Josie and her father, Shaun built a new life in Wales after her recovery from the attack, and she has just started a design degree at university.

After the Cosmogirl ceremony in London, Josie said: "This award is important - it is about my work with animals.

"I do not like to see animals in cages.

"They do not belong in captivity, they should live freely in their natural habitats."

An 18-year-old woman from Maidstone was also honoured at the awards.

Red Cross member Amy Ireland won the Heroine category for treatment she gave a friend who collapsed on her 18th birthday.


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