Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Verdict Ends Fears That Cast a Shadow over Josie's Future; Stone Murder Charge

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Verdict Ends Fears That Cast a Shadow over Josie's Future; Stone Murder Charge

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL CHESTON

THE DAY after Michael Stone was jailed for life in 1998 for the Chillenden murders, Josie Russell picked up a paper and for the first time knew she was staring into the eyes of the man who had attacked her, writes Paul Cheston.

She was looking at a photograph of Michael Stone taken five days after he had murdered her mother and sister and left her for dead.

Twenty-four hours earlier her father Shaun had phoned to tell her "the bad man" had been put away. "Good" was her one-word reply. Now, pointing to the picture, she told her father: "That is the man who did it."

Josie had always told detectives she could recognise the murderer but she had failed to pick Stone out of two identity parades more than a year after the murders, when Stone had aged and changed his appearance.

Josie had dreaded a not guilty verdict at Stone's retrial, fearing she would never be able to bring herself to walk home alone again. WPc Pauline Smith, who has become a close friend to Josie, today described the damaging effect the second trial has had on the girl's recovery.

The officer had spent countless hours trying to coax details from Josie's shattered memories of the hammer attack. Since then she has kept in regular contact with Josie and her father at their home in North Wales and although she is hugely proud of Josie's recovery, she has lingering fears about her future.

Only the brilliance of a brain surgeon saved Josie after she was found tied to a tree eight hours after being attacked, unconscious with a large depressed fracture of the skull through which her brain tissue protruded.

Today the scars on her scalp are covered by long hair but inside she is still deeply scarred and is likely to remain that way. WPc Smith said: "Josie has known that the case has been going on. …

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