Michael Stone was convicted of the 1996 killings of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan, six, and the attempted murder of Megan’s sister Josie, nine, on a remote footpath near Canterbury, UK in 1996.
Stone consistently maintained his innocence, but was convicted mainly on the testimony of a jailhouse informant who claimed he confessed through a heating pipe between the cells. At the first trial two other informants also claimed he confessed, but one retracted and the other was discredited.
There was no forensic or eyewitness identification to connect Stone to the crime. Eyewitnesses saw a beige car used by the killer, but Stone drove a white car. Stone was a heroin addict, with a record of violence and stealing from garden sheds, but the remote rural location is a very unlikely place for a burglary or robbery.
A forensic specialist has said that advances in DNA techniques not only confirmed no link between Stone and the crime, but showed the likely presence of another man at the scene. Samples obtained from the family of Levi Bellfield, who was convicted for the murder of schoolgirl Millie Dowler and two women, showed a possible but unprovable link to him.