Serial killer Levi Bellfield did not carry out the murders of Lin and Megan Russell, an official investigation will be concluded.
Bellfield, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler and two other women, made a formal confession earlier this year, claiming he also committed the horrific murders with hammers in 1996.
But an upcoming report from the Criminal Case Review Commission will say that former drug addict Michael Stone, who is serving a life sentence for the Russell murders, was responsible.
After five years of exhaustive investigation, the CCRC has found no forensic evidence to suggest Bellfield or anyone else was involved in the crime, sources say.
Serial killer Levi Bellfield (pictured circa 2003) failed to carry out the murders of Lin and Megan Russell after making a confession earlier this year, an official review to be completed
Mrs. Russell and her daughters Megan, six, and Josie, nine, were ambushed on a country lane in Chillenden, Kent, in July 1996 as they returned from a swimming gala.
They were tied up and beaten repeatedly with a claw hammer, but Josie miraculously survived.
Stone’s attorney Paul Bacon, who has spent 15 years proving his innocence, has submitted copies of Bellfield’s four-page written confession, which he made from his cell in February. But evidence has emerged that casts doubt on its credibility.
In comments to inmates and guards, the narcissistic killer rejected his confession and suggested his correspondence with Mr. Bacon as a game.
Lin Russell, 45, and her two daughters, six-year-old Megan and nine-year-old Josie (all pictured), were tied up and brutally beaten with a hammer during the brutal attack in 1996
CCRC experts promised to “thoroughly analyze” Bellfield’s confession and conduct “appropriate investigations” to determine whether he was telling the truth.
A shoelace found at the scene of the murders has also been subjected to extensive forensic analysis after being missing from police storage for 14 years.
It was hoped that a knot in the shoelace could contain DNA that would provide the identity of the killer, but no trace of DNA from Bellfield, Stone or a possible suspect was found, sources told the Mail.
Since 2017, when the CCRC was asked to look into the case, Bellfield has been preoccupied with the Russell murders, confessing to fellow inmates but then denying responsibility in other correspondence.
He has given a gruesome description of the attack, claiming to have kept a hair scrunchie as a macabre souvenir.
An upcoming report from the Criminal Case Review Commission will say that Michael Stone (pictured), who is serving a life sentence for the Russell murders, was responsible for
Those who have investigated Bellfield point out that a previous Scotland Yard investigation concluded that there was no evidence to link the former nightclub bouncer to the case.
Bellfield’s then-girlfriend Jo Collings told police he was at a party in south-west London on the day of the murder – nearly 100 miles from the attack.
In his statement, Bellfield also confessed to the 1990 murder of a woman named Judith Gold in north London.
If true, he would be responsible for at least six murders, making him one of Britain’s worst serial killers.
Bellfield, now known as Yusuf Rahim, is serving a life sentence for the murders of Milly, 13, French student Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19, between 2002 and 2004.
Mrs. Russell and her daughters Megan (both pictured), six, and Josie, nine, were ambushed walking down a country lane in Chillenden, Kent, while returning from a swim gala
He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy in 2004. The CCRC review is now in its final stages and a decision is expected to be made public in a few months.
If no other evidence comes forward, sources say the team will conclude there is insufficient evidence to support Stone’s conviction to go to the Court of Appeals.
The petty criminal and former heroin addict was found guilty of two counts of murder and attempted murder in 1998, despite a lack of forensic evidence.
He successfully appealed, but was found guilty at a second trial in 2001, based in part on a confession he allegedly made while in prison.
It’s Stone’s second time joining the CCRC. Experts decided in 2020 after a four-year evaluation not to submit the case to the Court of Appeal.
Bellfield, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of Milly Dowler (pictured) and two other women, made a formal confession earlier this year, claiming he also committed the 1996 hammer murders.
Josie Russell has declined to comment on the review, but the extraordinarily long time spent in the various investigations was said to have been traumatic for the family.
Kent Police have already said they have no plans to re-investigate the murders.
In February, it said the CCRC had “accessed all forensic evidence, documentation and evidence from the original investigation, the Hampshire Police assessment, details of the two Crown Court trials and appeals to the High Court”.
Yesterday Stone’s attorney Mr Bacon said, “We’re expecting something this month. But they haven’t had any contact with their report and we don’t have any information about it.”
A CCRC spokesperson said: “We have no further comment except that the matter is still under investigation.”