Bootlace used by killer of a mother and daughter could provide vital DNA clues

Video report by ITV News Meridian's John Ryall

A bootlace used by the killer of Lin and Megan Russell to tie up one of the victims has been found long after Kent Police said the vital exhibit was 'lost'. 

Twenty five years after the murders at Chillenden the lace will now be DNA-tested.

Lawyers challenging the controversial conviction of Michael Stone say it has the potential to clear his name.

A black bootlace was reported 'lost' but has since been recovered.

25 years ago, close to the spot where where Lin and Megan Russell were murdered, and Josie Russell was left close to death, police found a black bootlace used to tie up one the victims.

In 2007, 11 years after the murders, lawyers for Michael Stone, who are challenging his conviction, asked for the lace to be examined using the latest DNA techniques.

However they received the shocking news that the vital exhibit had been 'lost'.

But now it has been found on police premises.

Paul Bacon, Michael Stone's lawyer, said: "That lace was taken there by the offender. It had on it the blood of one of the victims and it had not been taken there among the possessions of the family. So it's a really important piece of evidence.

"And if we can have it examined now, hopefully find other DNA, then we may be able to point to the real offender in this case."

Michael Stone, convicted of killing Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan, has protested his innocence. Credit: PA

In a statement Kent Police said: "We're aware that the Criminal Cases Review Commission is considering an application for Michael Stone, appealing his conviction.

"We're engaged with the commission and have been providing them with all the relevant information and evidence required."

Michael Stone's lawyers, and the Criminal Cases Review Commission, are looking once again at the safety of his conviction and must now wait up to two months to see if a DNA profile can be found on the lace after so long in legal limbo.