A leading legal expert on the Chillenden murders has called on Kent police not to rule out the possibility that the killing of PCSO Julia James may have been carried out by the same person.
Steven Kamlish QC conducted a detailed investigation for a BBC documentary on the brutal killings of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan, along with the attempted murder of nine-year-old Josie, in 1996, as they walked the family dog near the small village of Chillenden, Kent.
The body of Ms James, 53, who was also out walking her dog, was found 2.5 miles away from the Chillenden murder scene on the edge of Akholt Wood in Snowdown, near Aylesham, Kent.
Lin Russell (right) was murdered in 1996 alongside her three-year-old daughter, Megan (left). Megan’s sister, Josie, (middle) nine, escaped alive and was unable to speak for a year. Also pictured is Lin’s husband, Shaun
Lin Russell, 45, and her daughter Megan, six were murdered in Kent in 1996. Ms James, a serving PCSO for Kent Police, was found dead on a secluded footpath in Snowdown, near Dover, on Tuesday
Following the airing of the 2017 BBC documentary, which examined the conviction of Michael Stone for the Chillenden murders, Mr Kamlish has vociferously campaigned for his innocence.
He told MailOnline: ‘There are features of Chillenden which are present in the murder of Julia James and this should therefore create reasonable lines of inquiry into the similarities between the two cases.’
‘Kent police should not fail to look at these even though they think they have a conviction for the latter. If they do then they will be letting the public down.’
He added: ‘I can assure you 100% that Michael Stone is innocent and there are a lot of other people who agree with me.
‘If the Chillenden killer or killers are still at large then they are capable of doing it again despite the fact that a lot of years have passed. A woman has just been murdered only 2.5 miles away, there are a number of other similarities and the police need to consider that in their investigation.’
He added: ‘Any murder of a lone woman in the Kent area must be looked at in light of the Chillenden killings.’
A possible connection between the two murders was initially raised by Wayne Davis, Ms James’s ex-partner.
After hearing about her killing he said: ‘For something like that to happen, in the middle of nowhere – you don’t know whether it’s just random.
‘It immediately reminded me of what happened with Lin and Megan Russell in Chillenden, which is just 2.5miles away.’
Stone, now 60 was convicted to life imprisonment in 2001 for two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder but has continued to protest his innocence.
Mr Kamlish said that Kent police needed to match vital fingerprint and DNA evidence from the Julia James murder scene to that from the Chillenden killings.
He said: ‘Police found bloody fingerprints and DNA from Chillenden which did not belong to Michael Stone. To this day, they have not been able to identify it.
‘It would make sense to see if there are any match ups to the Julia James murder. The police should not fail to examine all these lines of enquiries because I am confident that they did not get the right man for the Chillenden murders.’
Michael Stone was later convicted of murdering Dr Russell and Megan and seriously injuring her nine-year-old sister, Josie, on July 9, 1996.
Stone tied them up with strips torn from Josie’s swimming towel, a bootlace and a pair of tights before blindfolding them and beating them to death with a hammer.
Stone was handed three life sentences for murdering the Russells
Josie survived the brutal attack, leaving her traumatised and unable to speak for a whole year.
Stone also killed the family dog, Lucy. Meanwhile, Ms James’ Jack Russell terrier stayed with her body until it was found lying on a path
The random attack shocked the nation and sparked one of the biggest manhunts in British police history, with heroin addict Stone, then 37, arrested more than a year later and charged.
He was given three life sentences being found guilty at two trials – he also lost an appeal. The basis of his conviction was a confession to a fellow prisoner.
Stone has always protested his innocence and insisted Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield was to blame. He lost his latest bid to have his conviction overturned in 2019.
Josie went on to rebuild her life after the tragedy, and in 2009 graduated from Coleg Menai in Bangor with a degree in graphic design. She started a greeting card business before moving on to producing textile landscapes, which now sell for up to £500 each.
Chillenden survivor Josie Russell found love with her fiance Iwan over a decade ago. They have now moved into the family home in Wales
Josie appeared on Lorraine in 2018, 22 years on from the attack, where she said: ‘I’m not a victim, I’m not a survivor, I’m just me.’
Josie revealed her fiance Iwan knew nothing about her past when they met at university in Caernarfon on December 31, 2005.
She said: ‘I don’t remember very much. We didn’t really talk about anything. We just carried on with life. We went out and did normal teenage stuff.’
Asked how she has managed to overcome her life-changing ordeal, she said: ‘I think just being really, really busy. My work is doing really well.
‘That’s just making me focus on that and the future and everything.’
Describing him as her ‘soul mate’, she also told of how they live together in the house she grew up in with her father after her mother and sister died.
After Josie’s discharge from hospital, her father Shaun Russell, a botanist, took her back to the secluded Nantlle valley in North Wales where the family had once lived, and where they could focus on dealing with their grief and her recovery.
Josie appeared on Lorraine in 2018, 22 years on from the attack, where she said: ‘I’m not a victim, I’m not a survivor, I’m just me’
Josie and Iwan are pictured together at a wedding. They now live together in the Welsh Hills
She told the show: ‘I feel like I’ve always lived in that house. We’re just making it how we wanted it to be now, a little bit more updated, because it’s a very old house.
‘Yeah definitely, happy times, I remember playing in the garden and things like that.’
During her appearance in 2018 Josie said she was unsure when she was going to have children.
Described as being so positive by Lorraine, Josie said: ‘I’ve just got to get on with life and just carry on. I love my job, it’s all fine. Happy.’
Josie’s relationship with her father and her mother’s old horse Rosie has helped her through her struggle.
The body of Mrs James was found just two fields from her home in Snowdown, Kent, on Tuesday afternoon
Nearby fields remain sealed off today and a police tent can be seen on a path that runs between a field and woodland
Today police urged the public to be vigilant as they continued to investigate Ms James’ murder.
The PCSO, who had worked for the police for nearly 15 years and had been commended for bravery for chasing a shoplifter, was found dead with serious head injuries.
Her body was found lying on a path at the edge of a field in Akholt Wood on Tuesday afternoon at 4pm. She was last seen by a neighbour leaving the house an hour earlier.
Her ex-partner suggested that her work in Kent Police’s domestic violence unit is also being looked at in case she was attacked by someone with a vendetta.
Wayne Davis, who was with Mrs James for 13 years before their split in 2009, had earlier in the day texted son Patrick a Facebook link about a woman being found dead on a local path.
He asked Patrick if he knew what was going on and his son messaged back that he did not but said there was a ‘load of police’ around the village.
However, when Patrick returned to the home he shares with his girlfriend hours later in Dover he was told the awful news and rang Mr Davis in tears to say ‘that woman is mum’.
Mrs James’s ex-partner Wayne Davis (left) revealed how their son Patrick broke the news of her death to their family. Also pictured is Ms James with her current husband, Paul