The Russell Murders: Who Killed Lin and Megan? Season Review – An enthralling but unsatisfying true-crime docuseries

Season 1



Episode Guide

Episode 1: Horrific Crime, No Suspect
Episode 2: The Media vs Michael Stone
Episode 3: Confessions & Serial Killers



The Russell Murders: Who killed Lin and Megan? is a new three-part true-crime docuseries which tells the story of a brutal hammer attack on a mother and her two daughters as they took a summer stroll in the Essex countryside in 1996. Lin Russell and her daughter Megan sadly died, leaving poor Josie Russell fighting for her life with severe head injuries. 

This case has featured heavily in the media ever since that fateful summer day when the brutal attack took place. As one of the media observers who features on the program admits, ‘if it bleeds, it leads.’ This isn’t the first time this case has been re-investigated on our television screens, with the BBC broadcasting a deep-dive investigation into the case back in 2017, called The Chillenden Murders. Sadly, Sky Documentaries new investigation doesn’t uncover much concrete new evidence to suggest the case could ever be reopened. 

The series begins with the contribution of Richard Leivers, the police officer who was originally called to the murder scene and was left with severe PTSD after what he saw in the countryside that day. It’s a shame that his contributions dry up as the documentary gets into the nitty-gritty of the case. It leaves the audience wondering what else could have been made of his story in relation to the overarching tragic legacy of the case.

Episode one sets the scene and shows old footage of the local area reeling from the horrific crime. It portrays how the media did what we’ve seen them do in every major murder investigation in this country. They interject themselves into the case and twist it, all in the hope of getting a juicier story. We see how inept the police were in solving the case, and the initial investigation into Michael Stone, a local thug who appeared to fit the profile in every way. Unfortunately, there was never any proper evidence against Stone, but he was convicted anyway of the double murder amid the public outcry and emotion towards the case.

Episode two delves into his past and provides Stone with the platform to protest his innocence through the defence lawyer he speaks to every day. It’s hard not to feel sorry for this man, who despite his issues appears to be innocent of this crime. If the murders took place today, there’s no way he would be convicted.

There are some beautiful shots of the countryside where the tragic events took place, throughout the three episodes. The inclusion of these shots perfectly hits home to the viewer how tranquil this setting was before the murders took place. 

The series wraps up with the focus turning to a man who has long been suspected of actually committing this brutal crime. The mere mention of his name sends a chill down the spine of even the most hardened true crime fanatic. Of course, we are referring to Levi Bellfield, the vile serial killer who is currently serving a full-life term for the murders of Milly Dowler, Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange.

The final episode reveals that Levi Bellfield has confessed to the murders of Lin and Megan Russell, through his lawyer. There’s no doubt that Bellfield is capable of committing these murders, but the evidence against him is just as weak as the case against Michael Stone. Also, it’s hard to believe that Bellfield has any remorse for any crime he has ever committed, so his intentions for ‘confessing’ should be taken with extreme caution. This big revelation is teased in the opening credits of each episode, but it eventually falls flat when the details of the ‘confession’ are revealed to the audience.

Sky Documentaries has produced an enthralling true-crime documentary about this tragic case, but the overwhelming takeaway from it is that of disappointment at a missed opportunity. It’s an investigation that has failed to uncover any real answers or credible new evidence, which leaves the audience feeling deflated after over two hours of content. 

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  • - 8/10

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