Serial killer Levi Bellfield has made a ‘detailed’ confession to the brutal hammer murders of a mother and daughter, lawyers acting for a man twice convicted of the killings claim.
Michael Stone is serving three life sentences for bludgeoning Lin Russell and her daughter Megan, six, to death in an attack near Chillenden in Kent in 1996 in which her other daughter, Josie, nine, suffered severe head injuries and the family’s dog, Lucy, was killed.
But Stone, who has fought a protracted legal battle to clear his name, has always maintained his innocence and now his legal team has said Bellfield, who used to work as a car clamper in Chichester and across the south, made a confession, which included details not made public, to another prisoner.
Stone’s solicitor Paul Bacon said: ‘We have now received evidence of a full confession by Levi Bellfield to the Russell murders.’
‘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.’
Barrister Mark McDonald added later that Bellfield allegedly made the confession to a serious sex offender at HMP Frankland in Durham following a BBC2 documentary on the Chillenden murders aired in May this year.
Bellfield is said to have been anxious about the coverage and his confession allegedly includes diagrams of the murder scene and where the bodies were left.
Mr Bacon said the ‘informant’ came forward to his own solicitor, who reported it to Stone’s team, and he would be willing to give evidence.
Stone was told in 2006 that he must spend a minimum of 25 years behind bars over the attack on Dr Russell, 45, and her daughters as they walked home from a swimming gala along a country lane in July 1996.
Josie survived her injuries and went on to carve out a new life as an artist, growing up with her father, Dr Shaun Russell, in Wales.
In November last year, the Metropolitan Police closed a probe into serious crimes allegedly involving Bellfield, saying all lines of inquiry had been “exhausted” and officers had found no evidence linking him to cases for which he had not already been convicted.
In October 1998, a jury at Maidstone Crown Court found heroin addict Stone guilty of counts of murder and attempted murder.
An appeal over doubts about a key witness saw the convictions quashed by Court of Appeal judges in 2001, before Stone was convicted again at a second trial at Nottingham Crown Court and, in October 2001, was given three life sentences.
Stone was convicted on the evidence of Damien Daley, who admitted in the witness box that he had lied about his drug-taking exploits at the first trial in 1998.
Daley said Stone confessed to the hammer murders through a heating pipe into the next cell at Canterbury Prison.
There was no forensic evidence against Stone, who pleaded not guilty, and maintained throughout that his cellmate was lying about his confession.
Bellfield, who now calls himself Yusuf Rahim, is serving a whole-life tariff after being found guilty of abducting and killing Milly Dowler following a trial at the Old Bailey.
He was jailed in 2011.
The 13-year-old was snatched from the street while on her way home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.
He was already in jail for the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, when he went on trial accused of killing Milly.
In 2008 he had been given a whole-life term for murdering Ms McDonnell, 19, in 2003, and murdering Ms Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Ms Sheedy, 18, in 2004.
The lawyers said: ‘There is now new and compelling evidence which proves that he (Stone) was not responsible for these awful crimes.
‘The evidence suggests that the person responsible is Levi Bellfield, the convicted murderer of three women including Milly Dowler.’
Mr McDonald, said: ‘This evidence needs to tested by the Court of Appeal and, if believed, will lead to the largest miscarriage of justice since the Birmingham Six.’
It is not the first time Stone’s legal representatives have pointed the finger at Bellfield.
In 2011, Mr Bacon claimed Milly’s killer was a better match for the e-fit of the suspect issued during the police manhunt.
The claims also come months after a two-part BBC documentary aired in May saw a panel of independent experts re-examine the evidence and suggest another suspect.
Mr Bacon added: ‘We have now conducted a full review of the case papers and have an independent witness who saw Levi Bellfield close to the scene of the murders at about the time they were committed.
‘And importantly we have identified forensic material from the scene of the murders which corroborates the confession made by Levi Bellfield.
‘The Russell Murders by Levi Bellfield fits perfectly with his modus operandi.
‘He is a man known to attack and murder women in remote locations and his weapon of choice is a hammer.
‘This material, including the detailed confession is now before the Criminal Case Review Commission.’
He added: “We know that Levi Bellfield will deny the confession and will make up counter allegations but we also know that Bellfield is very manipulative.
‘The confession, as I have said, is very detailed and he has said a number of matters which are not in the public domain.’
Bellfield released an audio clip from behind bars denying the allegations.
In the audio, obtained by the Mirror, he said the accuser is a ‘fantasist, manipulator and compulsive liar’.
He continues: “To hear such rumours about him was to be expected, given his character.
‘He is a known fantasist and his latest endeavours to pervert the course of justice are an example of his character which seeks attention and publicity.”
He added: ‘In my view, such vile, untrue allegations do not warrant a responsible.’
Bellfield’s lawyer was unavailable for comment.