Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Josie in Video Mime of Hammer Attack

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Josie in Video Mime of Hammer Attack

Article excerpt


A VIDEO of nine-year-old Josie Russell miming how her attacker battered her with a hammer was shown to weeping jurors today.

The film showed Josie raise her right arm behind her with a violent jerk before smashing it down towards the back of her head.

The video was made by police 10 weeks after she was left for dead in a copse off a quiet country lane in Chillenden, Kent, in 1996. Her mother Lin, 45, and sister Megan, six, were killed in the hammer attack.

Josie mimed because her terrible head injuries left her unable to speak properly for nine months after the attack.

The video showed Josie pointing to pictures in a scrapbook and move tiny figures representing her and her family around a model of the scene.

Painstakingly, through 25 hours of interviews spread over several months, Detective Constable Ed Tingley and Pc Pauline Smith gently teased out details from Josie. The jury at Nottingham Crown Court were clearly moved by Josie's courage and a woman in the front row brushed away tears.

The video tape was preceded by a statement made by Josie in September, 1998, in which she told how for "many months I have been helping the police, trying my hardest to remember what happened to my mother, my sister and to me".

On the first section of the video, recorded on 12 September, 1996, Josie was sitting with her back to the camera wearing a broad brimmed blue hat to cover her surgery scars.

The two officers sat with speech therapist Tanya Allen in the front room of the family's home at Nonington, Kent.

They used scrapbooks of pictures to try to establish descriptions of the car the attacker used and what he looked like. In response, Josie would nod or shake her head vigorously giving a faint "yes" or "no". Clearly eager to help, at one point she leapt to her feet to manoeuvre the figures around the model of the track and copse. She once got her father's walking boots to point to the laces indicating what the attacker had used to tie her up. …

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