United Kingdom

Murderer launches new freedom bid with claims witness was paid police informant

Jailed Michael Stone is launching a new bid for freedom after claims that a key witness was a paid police informant.

Stone was convicted of murdering Dr Lin Russell and her daughter Megan in a frenzied hammer attack in 1996.

Now, amid claims serial killer Levi Bellfield was behind the murders, letters from fellow inmates cast doubt on testimony given against Stone by drug dealer Damien Daley.

The notes are in a dossier which Stone’s lawyer Mark McDonald is set to present to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Damian Daley gave crucial evidence in Stone’s trial

The letters – sent to Stone’s sister Barbara and his legal team – claim Daley only provided a statement to avoid jail time for an assault charge.

And they further claim Daley turned informant so that police would turn a blind eye as he sold heroin behind bars.

In one letter a serving prisoner writes: “When I saw Damian (sic) personally he told me… he sliped (sic) out of a serious assault charge and was payed (sic) a ‘nice wedge’ by Old Bill to give evidence.”

Murderer launches new freedom bid with claims witness was paid police informant
Lin and daughter Megan were murdered

Stone, 57, was given three life sentences in 1998. He has always denied the frenzied attack on Lin, 45, elder daughter Josie, nine, and Megan, six.

But he lost a retrial in 2001 and an appeal in 2005. Josie, the only survivor of the assault, has made a remarkable recovery and is now an artist.

Prisoner Daley told police that Stone confessed as the pair were held in adjoining cells at Canterbury prison.

Murderer launches new freedom bid with claims witness was paid police informant
A third victim Josie made a miraculous recovery after the attack

But another inmate, then serving time for robbery, cast doubt on the confession after talking to Daley.

The inmate, who says Daley went on to become a major heroin dealer in jail, added in his letter: “I remember Damian telling me he used to talk to Michael though the pipes… and after learning ‘bits and bobs’ he had enough to put your brother away for his ‘natural’.”

Murderer launches new freedom bid with claims witness was paid police informant
Serial killer Levi Bellfield is behind bars

Solicitor Mark McDonald said: “This evidence blows out the water any credibility that Damien Daley has. If any of these witnesses were before the jury when Stone was on trial they would not have reached the conclusion they did.”

Daley is now serving life for murdering a drug dealer in 2014. The CCRC has the power to refer Stone’s case back to the Court of Appeal, which could quash the conviction or order a retrial.

Bellfield, 52, is serving life for killing Milly Dowler, 13, Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22, in South West London between 2002 and 2004.

Stone’s team suggested in 2017 that he killed Lin and Megan. Bellfield denies it.

Murderer launches new freedom bid with claims witness was paid police informant
Levi Bellfield is serving life for the murder of Millie Dowler

Kent Police have always dismissed Stone’s appeal grounds and a force spokesman said yesterday: “The material has not yet been submitted to the Criminal Case Review Commission. It is not something on which we would be able to comment at this stage.”

In January the Sunday Mirror revealed letters in which Bellfield told a penpal that Lin was his “type”.

He said he liked “outdoor afternoon action” and had “links” to Kent.


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