On the afternoon of July 9, 1996 Dr. Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan were battered to death with a hammer in a country lane in Kent and Megan's sister Josie, nine, was left for dead.
Levi Bellfield, who is serving life in prison for the murder of a schoolgirl and two young women on the outskirts of London, has reportedly confessed to murdering Dr. Russell and her daughter in a case, which Kent Police described as "one of the most horrific crimes ever committed."
But retired Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton, the man who caught Bellfield, said he does not believe he was responsible and may have an ulterior motive.
"He just likes being the center of attention and he likes winding people up," Mr. Sutton told Sputnik.
Murders Made Big News in UK in 1996
The case got massive media coverage at the time and stayed in the national conscience for many years partly because of Josie's remarkable recovery.
She suffered terrible head injuries but after leaving hospital she moved with her father, Dr. Shaun Russell, back to north Wales, went back to school, graduated from university, became a successful textile artist and recently became engaged.
Going to a Christmas Fair to see the fab Josie Russell. Josie is a textile artist of some considerable talent. I bought a few things, would have been rude not to!! pic.twitter.com/6J6RMYCAsG— Paul Rees Author (@ReesAuthor) November 11, 2017
Michael Stone, a heroin addict, was jailed for life for the murders but no motive was ever indicated and Stone has always protested his innocence.
Bellfield, a wheelclamper and former nightclub doorman, was later convicted of the murders of French student Amelie Delagrange, British teenager Marsha McDonnell and schoolgirl Milly Dowler in south-west London and Surrey between 2002 and 2004.
Stone's solicitor, Paul Bacon, said on Wednesday, November 29, that they had now received a "full confession" to the Russell murders from Bellfield.
'Confession Contains Facts Not in Public Domain'
"In the confession, Bellfield describes how he came across Lin Russell and her two children, how he attacked them with a hammer, and his motivation for the killing. The confession is detailed and has a number of facts which are not in the public domain," said Mr. Bacon.
But Mr. Sutton is not convinced.
He said the modus operandi or M.O. was totally different to the attacks on Milly, Marsha and Amelie and there was no suggestion Bellfield had ever spent time in Kent.
"We took a statement from Bellfield's former partner and she said that as much as she would like to see him go to jail for the rest of his life she remembered that he was with her all day that day and she remembers it because it was her 25th birthday," Mr. Sutton told Sputnik.
He said it was a very "brave", if not rash, statement for Stone's lawyers to say that Bellfield's confession contained facts which were not in the public domain.
"There is so much on the internet about the Russell murders and it's very hard to say he can't have learned it from there and he was also in prison with Stone in Frankland, in Durham," Mr. Sutton told Sputnik.
'Huge Deal of Skepticism' About Confession
Mr. Sutton said he had a "huge deal of skepticism" about Bellfield's claim.
"I would be absolutely shocked if it turned out he committed these murders. I really do not think he did it," he told Sputnik.
If Levi Bellfield (now known as Yusuf Rahim) is responsible for the murders of Lin & Megan Russell and not Michael Stone, Bellfield would be one of Britain's worst serial killers pic.twitter.com/ouL0pawwsT— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) 29 November 2017
Mr. Sutton said Amelie and Marsha had both been approached late at night by Bellfield and were attacked with a hammer after they rejected his sexual advances, while Milly was abducted as she walked home from a railway station after school and is thought to have been raped.
Mr. Sutton said the murders in Chillenden, Kent, in 1996 were very different.
The victims were attacked in broad daylight and were tied up but there was no sexual element.
Stone's Conviction Tested in Courts
Stone, a heroin user from Gillingham in Kent, was convicted largely on the basis of statements from prison cellmates, notably Damien Daley, and he remains in jail after numerous appeals and a retrial.
"It's not a case where there is a strong body of evidence. Do I think he should have been convicted? It's a matter for the jury but it has been tested in two trials and the Court of Appeal," Mr. Sutton told Sputnik.
He said he doubted Stone's conviction would be quashed on the basis of Bellfield's confession alone and he said there was very little forensic evidence which could be retested to confirm who really was the culprit.
A shoelace, which was found by the bodies and was thought to have been used as a ligature either on the victims or by the attacker to shoot up drugs, has mysteriously gone missing.
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