Michael Stone Update

On October 4, 2001, Michael Stone was again convicted of the murders of Dr Lin Russell and her daughter Megan, and of the attempted murder of Josie Russell. He was again convicted by a majority verdict, and again largely on the basis of an alleged prison confession. The fact that Stone repeatedly denied the murders to the police appears to have counted for nothing. The day after his conviction the London commuter newspaper Metro reported that “The jury...were [not] told he had already been convicted of the crimes but was cleared on appeal last year”, which is about as asinine a statement as any newspaper could make under the circumstances.

As before, Stone's barrister did not put him in the witness box, which though probably a sound judgment call at the first trial was surely a grave mistake second time around. An in-depth article by Jo-Ann Goodwin published in the Daily Mail on October 6, 2001 raises disturbing questions about not only the lack of evidence against Stone but of the seemingly perverse methodology used by Kent police to bring about his conviction.

Michael Stone is certainly an odious character, and it is probably fair to say that Britain is a slightly safer place for his being forever behind bars. He has previous convictions for serious violent offences, and sought psychiatric help shortly before the Chillenden killings, help which he was refused. But in view of both the paucity of evidence against him, and the evidence indicating that he is not the killer, the only people who can take comfort from his conviction are those who need to believe in his guilt.

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