THE POLICE STATEMENT OF DAMIEN DALEY MADE ON 26th SEPTEMBER 1997 CONTAINING THE 'CONFESSION' OF MICHAEL STONE.
"I tied them up with wet
towels while their dog barked loudly.
All the national newspapers carried articles about the crime on the day of the 'confession': The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Star, The Express, and The Daily Mail. The fact that the "confession" merely reproduced what was written in these newspapers did not raise a single doubt in the minds of the police or Crown Prosecution Service that there might be something 'fishy' about the confession.
The Daily Mail - Mrs Russell and Megan and their family dog were all killed. Josie was tied up with strips from one of the towels the girls had been carrying home from a swimming lesson.The Daily Mirror - The family were tied up and battered to death with a hammer.
The Times - Mrs Russell urged Josie to run away, but the man caught her.
The Daily Mirror (9th July 1997) - Police found the family tied up with strips of towelling and shoelaces.
Extensive media coverage resulted in hundreds of newspaper articles and also a BBC Crimewatch appeal broadcast in July 1997.
Daley's statement alludes to one point of detail which was not published in the national press on the day of the 'confession', but was included in articles on other occasions: a shoelace. "Stone spoke something about shorts, or shoes, or shoelaces." (The murderer dropped a 99cm long bootlace at the scene of the crime and also used the girls' own shoelaces to tie up the family.)
This oblique reference appears near the end of the statement and seems to have been included in response to prompting, rather than due to any feat of memory on the part of Daley. The statement in any event took 2 hours to compile, so there must have been very long silences, as one commentator has noted with more than a hint of sarcasm.
Daley's statement revealed no details which only the perpetrator could have known. Eg., the victims were made to sit on the ground and Josie was made to kneel; the murderer had taken off Josie's shoes after she had tried to run away; she had been tied to a tree with her own tights; they had been blindfolded, gagged, and their ankles had also been tied; Lin was hit first.
When Daley does attempt to embellish a fact with his own fantasy, he gets it wrong: Stone was alleged to have said that "the dog made more noise than them". The family's dog was a Shih Tzu / Spaniel cross, and rather than making a noise, "it did not bark" according to Josie.
Stone is alleged to have said that he was picked out by a witness in the ID parade - but in fact his solicitor had already informed him that no witness had made a positive identification, so why would he complain about being being identified, if he hadn't been?
There is also the curious use of the word "pauper" which is an unusual word for drug addicts to use to describe people with no money, but which Daley said Stone had uttered. This word coincidentally appeared in one of the articles published in the Daily Mirror which Daley had been reading while Stone was 'confessing!' The substance of Daley's statement was nothing more than a word-for word rehash of press articles published on the 23rd September 1997 - the very day of the 'confession'.
As if this was not enough, Daley even resorted to some melodramatics when he said in court:: "I just sat on my bed rocking to and fro. The night seemed to go on forever."
Some sceptical listeners to this testminony sitting in the public gallery might have thought that the 'hard man' of Canterbury prison was 'laying it on a bit thick', but the icing on the cake was when Daley piously claimed (like other prisoners who had testified against Stone) that "my concience has made me come forward". (page 4).
It would be good if the prosecuting authorities could listen to their own conciences before relying on these types of self-serving statements to obtain convictions.
The officer who wrote down the statement was Detective Constable Paul Phippin of Kent Police and it was witnessed by Detective Sergeant Bowler. The escorting officer to Damien Daley at this time was PC Anthony Round (known as PC Tony Round).
Many other prisoners queued up to give statements to the police about how Stone had confessed and instead of spending their time tracking down the perpetrator, Kent police ended their investigation by interviewing various prisoners inside Centerbury prison.