Triple killer Levi Bellfield has confessed to being in the area where a mother and daughter were bludgeoned to death – but denied playing a part in their murders.
Lin Russell, 45, her daughters Megan, six, and Josie, nine, were beaten with a hammer in the frenzied attack in 1996 which sent shockwaves around the nation.
The family were ambushed as they walked home along a country lane in Chillenden, Kent, with their dog after a school swimming gala.
Lin, Megan and dog Lucy died, and drug addict Michael Stone was arrested the following year and is serving three life sentences. But no scientific or identification evidence has ever linked him to the scene and he has always protested his innocence.
Serial killer Bellfield, 53, has now admitted visiting the area on two occasions and to dating a woman who lived nearby.
He also said he owned a beige Ford similar to one seen at the crime scene some 25 years ago.
But the 53-year-old said in a statement he wishes to ‘set the record straight’ in a bid to distance himself from the murders.
Serial killer Levi Bellfield (pictured), 53, reportedly confessed to being near the area where Lin and Megan Russel were bludgeoned to death in Chillenden, Kent, in July 1996
Shaun Russell, with wife Lin and daughters Megan (second left) and Josie at an Italian restaurant in 1996 before their horrifying murders
Police activity at the scene in a small copse in Kent where Lin and Megan Russell were beaten to death in a frenzied hammer attack
Lin and her two daughters – Megan (pictured) and Josie, nine – and their dog Lucy, were tied up and savagely beaten with a hammer in a brutal attack which shocked the nation
Michael Stone (pictured), 61, is currently serving three life sentences for the murders of Lin and her daughter at the same jail as Bellfield in Durham, but claims he is innocent
TIMELINE: Murders that sent shockwaves through the nation
July 1996: Mother and daughter Lin and Megan Russell were murdered along with the family dog as they walked home after a swimming gala around 4pm on Tuesday, July 9, 1996.
1998: Michael Stone was found guilty of the murders and an attempted murder.
2001: Stone faced a retrial after one of the prisoners withdrew the claim against him. But he was found guilty once more and sentenced to three life-sentences.
2008: Bellfield jailed for life for murdering Amélie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19, and the attempted murder of 18-year-old Kate Sheedy.
2011: Bellfield was convicted of the 2002 murder of Milly Dowler.
2017: Bellfield allegedly claimed he was behind the murders of Lin and Megan. He later retracted his confession and has never been charged.
Former nightclub bouncer Bellfield is serving a whole life term at HMP Frankland – where his fellow inmates include Stone and Soham murderer Ian Huntley – for the murders of Milly Dowler, 13, Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22.
In 2017, Bellfield claimed he was the man behind the murder of Lin and Megan Russell.
But he later retracted his confession and has never been charged.
Now, Bellfield has confessed to being in the area – but denied murdering Lin and Megan, according to The Sun.
In a statement to his lawyer, seen by The Sun, Bellfied wrote: ‘I wish to set the record straight. It is my hope that by making this statement a line can be drawn under my suspicion of committing the 1996 Chillenden crimes.’
Bellfield had previously claimed he was celebrating the birthday of his then-girlfriend Johanna Collings on the day of the murders.
But in a new 15-page statement, he now maintains he was working that day – driving his taxi from Middlesex to Dover, some 11 miles from Chillenden.
And while he previously denied ever visiting the area, he has now claimed he dated a woman whose father ran a pub in Chillenden, and said he drove down the lane where the murders took place.
He has also denied helping Stone.
According to The Sun, Bellfield states: ‘Much speculation has been said about me and Michael Stone. I have never met or spoken to Stone. I have no loyalties to Stone.’
Michael Stone, 61, a drug addict with prior convictions, was arrested a year after the attack and charged with the murders.
He is currently serving three life sentences – at the same jail as Bellfield in Durham.
Lin (left), Megan and their dog Lucy died, while Josie (right) survived the attack, which took place as the family walked home along a country lane from a school swimming gala
Bellfield, who is serving life for killing 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler (pictured) and two women, was said to have confessed in a statement which is being looked at ‘closely’
He was found guilty after two prisoners gave evidence for the prosecution, telling the court how Stone had confessed to him in prison.
In 2001, Stone faced a retrial after one of the prisoners withdrew the claim against him. But he was found guilty once more and sentenced to three life-sentences.
He is due to finish his 25-year minimum term next year, but will not be allowed out because he has not confessed to the killings.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), an independent organisation set up to investigate suspected miscarriages of justice, is in the process of considering Stone’s case.
His lawyer Mark McDonald insists Stone is innocent, and claims Bellfield confessed to the murders of Lin and Megan in 2017.
A bootlace, used to tie up one of the girls, was dropped by the killer and later found at the scene by detectives.
A small part of the lace was tested for DNA at the time. But, with the processes still in their infancy, the tests came back inconclusive.
Stone’s defence team believes the potentially crucial piece of evidence could point the finger at someone else.
Lawyers for Stone have also asked for a balaclava found half a mile from the murder scene to be tested using new DNA techniques.
The material had contained 22 hairs that did not belong to the victims and fibres that matched the clothing they were wearing on July 9, 1996.
MailOnline contacted the CCRC and Kent Police for a statement last night.
Business News Governmental News Finance News