Josie Russell's `great progress'

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The Independent Online
THE HEADMASTER of Josie Russell, the girl left for dead by a hammer attacker who killed her mother and sister, has paid tribute to her bravery.

Dewi Jones said Josie, 12, who was left unable to speak and with a reading age of five after the attack three years ago, had made such progress that she will be treated like any other pupil at her new school.

One concession is that she has a special helper from the local education authority, who was with her at primary school and makes sure she the understands lessons.

Josie started at Dyffryn Nantlle School, in Penygroes, near Caernarfon, north Wales, on Thursday after being held back a year at primary school. She now has a reading age of eight, and is talking excitedly about her plans for the future.

Josie's evidence was crucial to the conviction of Michael Stone for the 1996 murder of her mother, Lin, and her sister, Megan, in Chillenden, Kent.

"I remember what happened but I don't like thinking about it," Josie said. "I don't have nasty dreams any more. I feel much happier about everything."