After the success of Little Boy Blue and The Moorside among others, another murder mystery drama is premiering on BBC2 tonight. This one focuses on the Chillenden murders.
The two-part drama examines the horrific murders that took place on 9 July 1996 in a country lane in Chillenden, Kent. Lin Russell and her daughters Megan, six, and Josie, nine, were tied up and beaten by a man with a hammer. While Lin and Megan died, eldest daughter Josie survived – and has since established a successful life as an artist after being raised by her father, Shaun.
A year after the killings, a local man named Michael Stone – a heroin addict and petty criminal – was tried and jailed for life for the killings and of Josie's attempted murder.
Since being convicted, Stone has continued to assert his innocence. His original conviction was overturned on appeal but a second trial resulted in another verdict of guilty after another prisoner claimed that Stone had confessed to the killings while on remand in jail. His most recent appeal in 2004 also failed.
Stone is serving three life sentences and must spend at least 25 years in prison. As a child, Stone was placed into a care home and was physically and sexually abused. His police record dates back to the age of 12 and he became involved in shoplifting and burglary, which continued into adulthood. Ocne leaving the care system he began abusing heroin and served three prison sentences in the 1980s for robbery, grievous bodily harm and assault.
This documentary series brings together experts with backgrounds in forensic science, policing, law and criminology to re-examine the controversial case against Stone.
The Chillenden Murders airs at 9pm on BBC2 tonight (30 May).