Man convicted of murder refused appeal

The man convicted over the murders of Lin and Megan Russell in Chillenden has been REFUSED a new appeal

Hammer killer Michael Stone was refused a new appeal over his conviction for the murders of Lin and Megan Russell, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) said today.

Stone is serving three life sentences and has been told he must serve at least 25 years in jail over the 1996 attacks in Chillenden, Kent.

The CCRC said: ``After a detailed and painstaking investigation we have identified nothing which justifies referring the case for a new appeal.''

Stone was originally found guilty in 1998 of killing Dr Russell, 45, and her daughter Megan, six, and the attempted murder of Megan's sister, Josie, in Chillenden, near Canterbury, Kent.

Those convictions were quashed in February 2001 by three appeal judges and a retrial was ordered.

In October 2001, Stone was again convicted after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court, and his three life sentences were re-imposed.

He has always protested his innocence but the trial judge Mr Justice Royce described his crimes as ``truly appalling offences'' and stressed that there were some cases where it was unlikely that an offender would ever be released.

Today, rejecting his bid for a new appeal, a spokesman for the CCRC said: ``In Mr Stone's case we have not found any new evidence or new argument that we consider capable of raising a real possibility that the conviction would be quashed.''

He said its investigation ``included a substantial amount of fresh forensic testing on material from the crime scene'' and ``carefully considered all the submissions'' made by Mr Stone and his team before reaching the final decision not to refer in this case``.