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1996: Girl survives murder of mother and sister
The battered bodies of Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan have been found half a mile from their home in Kent.

Nine-year-old Josie Russell - also found at the scene - is recovering from serious head injuries under police guard in hospital.

The three went missing on their way home from the girls' school in Goodnestone yesterday.

Dr Shaun Russell, a biologist at Kent University, alerted police that his wife and daughters had not returned home at 2245 BST that evening.

Crime scene

At 0145 BST a team of 30 officers found the murder scene by a track - Cherry Garden Lane - used as a short-cut to Nonington where the Russells lived.

No attempt had been made to conceal the bodies, which included one of the family's dogs, Lucy.

Police have not recovered a murder weapon but suggest that a blunt metal object like a hammer or an axe was used.

Post mortem examinations are being carried out tonight.

Lin Russell, 45, collected her daughters from Goodnestone Primary School at 1615 BST after they had been to a swimming gala in Canterbury.

They were last seen heading for the woods and secluded fields that would take them to their home, Granary Cottage.

A neighbour was surprised to find the cottage empty when she called to take the girls to Brownies and helped Dr Russell, 47, to search the area when he returned home at 1915 BST.

The Russells only moved to Nonington a year ago from a little village near Caernarfon, North Wales, where they had lived for six years until the end of Dr Russell's contract at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Nonington is home to a religious sect - the Bruderhorf community - and a private clinic for drug and alcohol addiction and eating disorders. Police want to question both of these groups.

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Photo of police searching fields near the Russell family home
Police are yet to find the murder weapon

In Context
Josie made an amazing physical recovery but was left with impaired speech.

As her memory returned she helped police with the hunt for her attacker.

TV appeals and reconstructions produced a huge public response.

In October 1997 Michael Stone, 38, from Gillingham in Kent was arrested and remanded in custody.

In a 13-day trial in Maidstone a year later Stone was found guilty of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and given three life sentences.

He was re-convicted at a re-trial at Nottingham County Court in September 2001, after it emerged that a key witness had lied.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board awarded Josie nearly 100,000 for the loss of her mother in September 1999.

She lives with her father, Shaun, in Wales.

In January 2005 Stone lost his second appeal against conviction.

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