Charity Hails Report into Murderer

A mental health charity has welcomed the publication of a report which is expected to criticise the care of psychopath Michael Stone. The report is expected to say Stone was free to kill Lin and Megan Russell because those supervising him were unable to agree on how he should be treated.

It will highlight how social workers and mental health experts could not agree on a diagnosis because of the complexity of his illness.

He was finally assessed as having an untreatable personality disorder and therefore could not be detained under the mental health law which was in place at the time.

SANE said the horrific deaths in Chillenden, Kent, in 1996 could have been prevented if psychiatric, probation and other services had co-ordinated their response to his care.

It said Stone and the Russell family had been “failed” by those responsible for his care.

Stone was given three life sentences in 2001 for killing Dr Russell, 45, and her daughter, and the attempted murder of Megan’s sister Josie, then nine.

The 350-page independent inquiry report into Stone’s treatment by mental health, probation and social workers before the attack was completed in 2000 and an addendum added two years later but it was not published at the time because he was launching an appeal against his conviction. It was then due to be published last year but was put on hold while Stone tried to bar the press and public from seeing the full document.

In July a High Court judge said it was in the public interest for all of the report to be published. Stone was refused funding by the Legal Services Commission for an appeal, paving the way for the publication.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of SANE, said: “We have always believed that the tragic and horrific deaths of Lin and Megan Russell and the injuries to Josie Russell could have been prevented had there been a sensible and co-ordinated response to the danger that Michael Stone posed to himself and others. He and the Russell family were failed by the psychiatric, probation and other services, none of which appeared to take responsibility for his care and treatment.”