Court hears how Shaun Russell waited in vain for family

The trial of Michael Stone has heard how the husband and father of the three victims waited hours before discovering his wife and child were dead.

Stone denies killing Dr Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan, and the attempted murder of Josie Russell, who was nine.

Statements by Shaun Russell were read out to the jury, explaining what happened on the day of the murders.

He went on to describe the route taken by Lin when she was collecting his children from school. On the evening of the killings Mr Russell arrived home at 7.30pm to find the house in darkness.

His statement read: "I was not worried because I thought they would be visiting our ponies. Over the next three quarters of an hour I prepared supper."

It was 8.30pm before Mr Russell began to get concerned and went to look for his family, because it was nearing the girls' bedtime. Later he rang the police and local hospitals to see if there had been an accident.

Between 9.30pm and 10pm he drove the route his family would have taken, including Cherry Garden Lane, just yards from where the bodies were concealed in a small copse.

Finding no trace he returned home again and called the police to file a missing persons report.

His statement read: "It was about 10.30pm when two police officers arrived to take details. Then a police dog van arrived and they went to walk the track. Then a van of police officers arrived to search the area."

He went on: "I stayed outside the house and between 11.30 and midnight one of the officers came to me and said he had some bad news, he said my family had been found and that they were all dead."

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