Stone murder trial jury 'knew witness was a liar'

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The Independent Online

The jury that convicted Michael Stone of murdering a mother and daughter knew that the key prosecution witness was a lying criminal with a drug addiction, yet it chose to believe him, the Court of Appeal was told yesterday.

The jury that convicted Michael Stone of murdering a mother and daughter knew that the key prosecution witness was a lying criminal with a drug addiction, yet it chose to believe him, the Court of Appeal was told yesterday.

Despite admissions from Damien Daley about his unreliable character, the jury accepted that Stone had "confessed" while in prison.

Daley was so upset by the alleged confession, which included a description of heads being cracked like "eggs", that he needed medical help from a psychiatric nurse at the prison, the judges were told.

The disclosure came during Stone's second appeal over the murders of Lin Russell, 45, and her daughter Megan, six, and the attempted murder of her sister, Josie, in Chillenden, Kent, in 1996.

Stone's lawyers say that Stone was convicted on the evidence of Daley, an unreliable witness, who was a heroin addict, seeking an advantage from the police or prison authorities. His legal team also claim that the judge misdirected the jury by failing to properly warn them about the dangers of believing such a cell confession.

Stone is serving three life sentences for the offences.

Daley claimed that he heard Stone talking in a neighbouring cell in Canterbury prison through the gap that surrounds the heating pipes.

Nigel Sweeney QC, representing the Crown, said: "Had the position been that Mr Daley was put forward as a man of good character that would be one thing. However, the position in relation to Mr Daley was that he accepted that he was an individual who would lie when it suited him, that he was a character with previous convictions and he had tried or taken every drug that it was possible to take."

The hearing is expected to finish today.