Milly Dowler killer Levi Bellfield 'confesses' to Russell murders

ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie reports on the significance of Levi Bellfield's alleged confession, which has been described as a 'game changer'

Milly Dowler's killer, Levi Bellfield, has reportedly confessed to the murders of Lin and Megan Russell in Kent.

Bellfield, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Milly, has written a statement with details of the killings of both Lin and Megan in 1996, according to the legal team representing Michael Stone.

Stone was twice found guilty of their murders in Chillenden, but his lawyers now say Bellfield's admission casts doubt on that conviction. 

Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan were bludgeoned to death on a rural footpath in July 1996. Ms Russell’s other daughter Josie, then nine, suffered severe head injuries in the attack but survived.

Levi Bellfield is serving a life sentence for the murder of Milly Dowler

Solicitor Paul Bacon says he has now received a statement written by Levi Bellfield which he has described as a "game-changer".

He told ITV Meridian: "Particularly what struck me is that Levi Bellfield expresses contrition.

"He apologises to Michael Stone and the Russell family, and says he's willing to talk to the police, which I think is extremely significant."

Michael Stone is currently serving three life sentences but he maintains his innocence.

Michael Stone's solicitor Paul Bacon speaks to ITV Meridian

He was first found guilty of two counts of murder and one of attempted murder in 1998. He was then convicted again in 2001 after the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction due to doubts over a prosecution witness.

An application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in 2010 was rejected and an attempt to seek a judicial review of the decision also failed in 2011.

In July last year, Mr Bacon said a shoelace found at the scene of the Kent attacks could exonerate his client if it was tested for DNA.

Bellfield has reportedly also admitted driving a distinctive beige car similar to one seen at the crime scene in 1996 and dating a woman whose dad ran a pub in the village.

Michael Stone has twice been convicted of the Russell killings

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Fotheringham of Kent Police said: "Following two trials at which Stone was found guilty by a jury on both occasions, and an appeal to the High Court, Michael Stone remains convicted of the murders of Lin and Megan Russell, and the attempted murder of Josie Russell in 1996.

"Michael Stone made an application to apply for a Judicial Review in respect of his conviction in September 2012.

"The Honourable Mr Justice Blake ordered that permission for the application should be refused.

A bootlace found at the scene of the Chillenden murders

"The Criminal Case Review Commission commenced an extensive re-examination of the murder investigation in 2017 and has had access to all forensic evidence, documentation and exhibits from the original investigation, the review by Hampshire Police, details of the two Crown Court trials and appeals to the High Court.

"The shoelace which was seized as part of the original investigation was made available to the CCRC. All evidence from the examinations on the shoelace were recorded and disclosed to the CCRC."

Mr Bacon says he has received a four-page statement from Bellfield in which he claims to have carried out the attacks, including details of what he was wearing and how he made his escape.

13-year-old Milly was murdered in 2002

Bellfield is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler, who went missing from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in 2002.

He has also been convicted of murdering Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange, and of the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy. He will never be considered for parole.

A CCRC spokesperson said: “Mr Stone’s current application to the CCRC is being reviewed and we remain in regular contact with his legal representatives. 

"We are aware they are planning to send in further information, and when received, we will thoroughly analyse it and made any appropriate enquiries.

"We will not be commenting further at this stage.”