A nightclub bouncer became Britain’s newest convicted serial killer overnight after he was found guilty of abducting and murdering a schoolgirl Milly Dowler in southeastern England in 2002. Police believe Levi Bellfield is responsible for at least 20 other violent assaults.
Levi Bellfield, 43, lured 13-year-old Milly Dowler into his apartment as she walked home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. He killed her and later dumped her naked body in a remote wood where he used to walk his dog. For more than two years after Milly Dowler’s body was discovered in woodland in 2002, Surrey police laboured in vain over one of the country’s most notorious unsolved murders. Despite identifying 256 possible suspects and speaking to 5,600 potential witnesses, they were no closer to finding the 13 year-old’s killer and the inquiry was going nowhere. There were no eyewitnesses, no CCTV footage and no forensic evidence to link Bellfield directly to the murder.
He did not become a suspect until two and a half years later, by which time he had bludgeoned to death a French student, Amelie Delagrange, aged 22, and Marsha McDonnell, aged 19, in southwest London. One of the officers investigating the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell in London had noticed that the prime suspect, a wheel-clamper called Levi Bellfield, had once lived near Station Avenue, Walton-on-Thames, the road where Milly was last seen alive. Over the months that followed, detectives became convinced that Bellfield was Milly’s killer. They also discovered, to their horror, that he had been under their noses all along, but had never been interviewed because he managed to avoid them on the 11 occasions they knocked on his door during house-to-house inquiries.
As detectives began to look into Bellfield’s background they discovered he drove a red Daewoo Nexia car at the time of the murder. A trawl through CCTV footage showed a red Daewoo driving on Station Avenue at 4.32pm on the day Milly was abducted. Detectives originally tried to charge Bellfield with Milly’s murder in 2006, but were told there was not enough evidence. It was only in March last year, when a CCTV expert was able to prove that Milly must have gone missing almost directly outside Bellfield’s flat, that he was charged with her murder.
Bellfield was jailed for life in 2008 for the murders of Amelie Delagrange, aged 22, and Marsha McDonnell, aged 19, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, aged 18. His only motive appeared to be a hatred of women, particularly blondes. Another life term will be added to Bellfield’s prison sentence following the latest conviction. He is one of 44 prisoners in England and Wales who will never be released because of the seriousness of their crimes and the danger they would pose to the general public.