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'Lost' bootlace could clear name of killer Michael Stone

(Posted on 12/05/21)

'Lost' bootlace could clear name of killer Michael Stone
A bootlace found at the scene of one of the UK's most notorious murders and thought to be lost by police has now been found, according to reports.

Mother and daughter Lin and Megan Russell were killed in a brutal hammer attack near the village of Chillenden in 1996. Lin's other daughter Josie, then 9 years-old, survived the attack, which took place as the family walked home along a country lane from a school swimming gala.

Michael Stone, 61, was arrested the following year and convicted after trial of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. He has always protested his innocence.

A bootlace, used to tie up one of the girls, was dropped by the killer and later found at the scene by detectives.

A small part of the lace was tested for DNA at the time, but with the science still in its infancy, the tests came back inconclusive.

Lawyers for Stone have repeatedly argued since 2007 for the whole lace to be tested but police insisted that a large section of the lace no longer exists, having never been returned to police after forensic testing.

Police then reportedly said the lace had been tested to the point of destruction 1998 but now there are reports that the larger lace section has now been found again.

The lace is now reportedly being tested by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

Stone's barrister, Mark McDonald, told the Sun: 'Michael is hopeful the DNA tests will lead to the real perpetrator being found.'

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