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Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:30 AM        

Bouncer accused of murdering French student

By John Steele
Crime Correspondent


A wheel clamper and nightclub bouncer was charged yesterday with the murder two years ago of a French student, Amelie Delagrange, and the attempted murder of two other women.

Levi Bellfield, 37, formerly of West Drayton, west London, was also accused of the attempted abduction and false imprisonment of a fourth woman. Bellfield is due to appear at Bow Street magistrates' court today charged with six offences relating to the four women, including the Delagrange murder, Scotland Yard said.

Miss Delagrange, 22, was found with fatal head injuries near the cricket pitch on Twickenham Green in south-west London in August 2004, after a night out. She had been attacked as she crossed the green in the dark.

Amelie Delagrange

Her parents, Jean-Franois and Dominique Delagrange, and her sister, Virginie, said after her death that her "radiance and joy of living" had been ended by the actions of a predator and the family had suffered indescribable pain.

Bellfield was also charged with the attempted murder of a former convent school head girl, Kate Sheedy, as well as attempted murder, and causing grievous bodily harm, in relation to Irma Dragoshi.

Miss Sheedy, then 18, was knocked down by a car as she walked home though Isleworth, west London, from a night out in May 2004. She managed to use her mobile phone to call home and whisper to her mother: "I'm dying."

The attempted murder of Miss Dragoshi, and the alternative offence of causing grievous bodily harm, are alleged to have taken place in Longford, west London, in December 2003.

Bellfield was further charged with trying to kidnap Anne Maria Rennie in October 2001, when she was 17. Miss Rennie was at a bus stop in Twickenham, west London. She managed to escape.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:37 AM        

Victims of the bus-stop bludgeoner


Marsha McDonnell

9-year-old gap year student who was working in a gift shop in Kingston.

Miss McDonnell had been to the cinema with two girlfriends on the night she was murdered, February 3, 2003. They watched "Catch Me If You Can", starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and went their separate ways.

The "attractive, blonde and slim" teenager boarded a 111 bus home to her family home in Hampton. It was a ten minute journey and she alighted at 12.17 in Priory Road, where she was "bludgeoned" to death just yards from her front door.

Anna Maria Rennie

Bellfield’s first alleged victim.

The 17-year-old girl was walking alone in Twickenham after a row with her boyfriend on Oct 15, 2001.

She was waiting to catch a bus home when a man in a car offered her a lift.

After she refused, he tried to bundle her into the vehicle.

Miss Rennie, now 23, has lived in Spain since July 2004.

Irma Dragoshi

The hairdresser, 33, of Slough, was assaulted at a bus stop in Longford on Dec 16, 2003.

Bellfield allegedly hit her with a blunt instrument.

She is unable to remember four hours after the incident

Kate Sheedy

The former convent school headgirl was 18 when she the victim of a hit-and-run as she walked home from a night out with friends in Twickenham on 28 May, 2004.

She got off a bus in Isleworth and crossed the road after seeing a suspicious people carrier on the road. As she crossed the vehicle drove towards her at speed, and ran her down, then reversed over her again, causing massive injuries.

She survived, but still carries the physical and mental scars of the attack, the court heard.

Amelie Delagrange

Brought up in Hanvoile, an hour north of Paris, Miss Delagrange was a university graduate who had come to the UK to improve her English. She was 22, the daughter of an architect and a secretary and was working in a patisserie in Richmond.

Miss Delagrange had enjoyed a night out with friends and was returning home nearing midnight on a nightbus in August 2004. She died of severe head injuries after she was attacked as she tried to cross Twickenham Green.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:39 AM        

Levi Bellfield denies murdering students

By Richard Edwards


A "predatory" nightclub doorman murdered two young women, tried to kill two more and attempted to kidnap another while stalking bus stops in a three-year campaign of "brutal" violence, a court heard on Friday.

Levi Bellfield, 39, battered to death two students with a blunt instrument and attacked three other young women as they walked home "in the hours of darkness" in affluent suburbs of west London, the Old Bailey was told.

He used a variety of vehicles to stalk bus stops and bus routes, looking for vulnerable women late at night, jurors were told.

The five victims were attractive women, aged between 17 and 22.

Gap year student Marsha McDonnell was "bludgeoned" to death moments after alighting a bus in a "senseless and violent" attack within yards of her home in Hampton, jurors were told. She was 19.

Killed: Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell

Amelie Delagrange, 22, a French student who had come to England to improve her English, died of severe head injuries after she was attacked on Twickenham Green, following a night out with friends.

Bellfield is also charged with a kidnap and two attempted murders, including that of Kate Sheedy, the former headgirl of a convent school.

She was 18 when she was run down in the street and reversed back over after she had got off a bus in Isleworth in May 2004. She survived, but still suffers the mental and physical scars of the attack to this day, the court was told.

Brian Altman, prosecuting, said: "Bellfield was the perpetrator of all these offences and a pattern emerges - the assailant using his vehicle in the hours of darkness to locate and target lone females, who he then attacks."

Mr Altman said both Miss Sheedy and Miss McDonnell were followed by their attacker from well-lit buses. The attacker took advantage of the lighting to watch the women as they rode home while he drove in his car.

Mr Altman said: "The lighting had a more sinister purpose which could never have been foreseen.

"It allowed the attacker of these women to see into the bus from the outside.

"Thus these women were not chance victims of a street attacker. These women were targeted victims of a predatory man who stalked bus stops and bus routes in vehicles looking for young women to attack."

In total, Bellfield is accused of five attacks between October 2001 and August 2004. Mr Altman said that the prosecution evidence was both direct and circumstantial.

He added: "The prosecution say the chances that these offences were committed by anyone other than Bellfield are so fanciful that you may reject them."

Bellfield sat in the dock wearing a suit with a pink shirt and white stripped tie, carefully taking notes on proceedings. He had grown up and lived all his life in west London and knew the area "extremely well", the court heard.

Mr Altman described him a well-built left-hander, 6ft 1in tall and said he has worked as a doorman and bouncer and recently ran a clamping business.

He had several girlfriends and lived through the late 1990s and early 2000s at various addresses, including in Walton-on-Thames, Twickenham and West Drayton.

Jurors were shown pictures of Bellfield's tattoos - a "boxing devil" with the word Levi on his right shoulder, and a bulldog with a banner bearing the name "Tottenham FC" on his right leg.

The first victim, Anna-Maria Rennie, said she was 17 when she was attacked by a man with a tattoo on his arm and later picked out Bellfield at an official identity parade.

She had gone for a walk in Twickenham to calm down after having a row with her then live-in boyfriend in October 2001.

After she had been sitting at a bus stop to "cool down" she was approached by two men in a car.

She was grabbed by one of them and held in a strong bearhug but escaped after kicking and screaming at the man.

Bellfield denies two murders and two attempted murders. He further denies the kidnap and false imprisonment of Miss Rennie.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:43 AM        

Bellfield linked to Milly killing

25 February 2008

Milly Dowler's body was found six months after her disappearance

Police have named killer Levi Bellfield as a key suspect in the unsolved murder of Surrey teenager Milly Dowler.

He was linked to her killing after his conviction at the Old Bailey of the murders of two young female students and the attempted murder of a third.

Milly's body was discovered six months after she disappeared on the way home from school in Walton-on-Thames, in March 2002.

Her parents say they will not rest until her killer is brought to justice.

It has emerged that Bellfield was arrested and interviewed over Milly's death three years ago.

Officers believe they have compelling circumstantial evidence linking him to the murder.

Milly's parents, Bob and Sally Dowler, appealed to anyone with information about what happened to their daughter to "find it in your heart" to tell police.

"We are pleading for anyone who knows anything to have the courage to speak up," they told a news conference.

"Nothing will ever bring Milly back, but even six years on you can still help start easing our pain by letting us know, finally, what happened on our daughter's final days."

Surrey Police are hoping Levi Bellfield's conviction would encourage people who were previously too afraid to speak out to come forward.

Detectives involved in his trial described him as a controlling womaniser who frequently used his burly physical frame to bully his girlfriends into submission.

Officers are expected to re-interview the former bodybuilder in the coming days.

They have re-launched an appeal for help in tracing a red Daewoo Nexia seen in Walton-on-Thames on 21 March 2002, the day Milly went missing.

'Different method'

A car of the same model and colour was owned by Bellfield's then-girlfriend, Emma Mills, it has emerged.

At the time he was questioned, Bellfield, who ran a wheel-clamping business, failed to account for his whereabouts on 21 March.

But police acknowledge the method of Milly's murder differs significantly from those of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange, who were killed with blunt instruments.

A Surrey Police source said: "We have not given up on Milly.

"We have to keep plugging away until we get the break we want and the family get the justice they deserve."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:46 AM        

Ten 'compelling points' against Levi Bellfield

By Richard Edwards
Crime Correspondent


Police sources have told The Daily Telegraph about 10 "compelling" points which put Levi Bellfield as prime suspect in the murder of Milly Dowler.

The 13-year-old was snatched from the street as she walked home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on March 21, 2002 and her body was found 20 miles away in Yateley Heath Woods, near Farnborough, six months later.

There were no witnesses to the abduction, and despite the largest inquiry in the history of Surrey police, no one has ever been charged.

However in the course of investigating the murder of Amelie Delagrange in 2004, the Met police contacted detectives in Surrey to tip them off about Bellfield.

A senior detective revealed to the Telegraph the 10 pieces of evidence.


At Bellfield's Old Bailey trial he was convicted of randomly attacking and killing two young women as he "cruised" the streets in a series of different cars, often stalking them near bus stops. Detectives claim the same modus operandi fits Milly's case.

Geographical links

Bellfield was staying at the Walton-on-Thames flat of his girlfriend at the time – 24 Collingwood Place - just 70 yards away from where Milly disappeared on Station Avenue.

Officers believe Bellfield also knew the woodland near Yateley where her remains were found, because he made regular visits to the nearby Blackbushe car auctions, two miles away.

The car

The former bouncer regularly used his girlfriend's red N-registration Daewoo Nexia – which was captured in the area on CCTV on the day Milly was snatched.

It was seen being driven away from his Walton flat 25 minutes after she was last seen.

Did Bellfield know Milly?

Detectives believe he may have been able to engage Milly in conversation because she was at primary school with the daughter of Bellfield's former girlfriend, Sonya Allen. One detective said: "Milly used to go round to Sonya's place to play with her daughter Donna".

Burning bedsheets and a stolen car

Nothing is known of what happened during the afternoon of March 21, 2002, but according to a witness statement, Bellfield was elsewhere with his girlfriend that evening and returned to the Walton flat in the early hours, alone.

When his girlfriend went back to the flat days later she found all the bedding had been discarded and burned.

She also found that the car had gone.

Bellfield said it was "stolen" from a pub car park and it was never seen again.

He persuaded his girlfriend to report it stolen and to move out of the flat very soon afterwards and move with him into London.

Similar incidents beforehand

As detectives investigated further, they uncovered more potentially crucial evidence.

A day before Milly was snatched, a 12-year-old girl returning from school in Upper Halliford – two miles away – was approached by a man in a red saloon car, who said he was her next door neighbour and asked if she wanted a lift.

She refused and he drove away when he saw a marked police car on a routine patrol driving past.

A month beforehand, a 18-year-old girl reported that she had been followed and confronted by a man with a similar appearance to Bellfield - "a fat, white man wearing two earrings" - at the exact spot where Milly disappeared on Station Avenue.

He flashed her and she fled.

The defence

Police first questioned Bellfield about the murder of Milly in July 2005, while he was awaiting trial for other offences.

It is understood he gave no comment in interview.

However he denies the red car caught on camera at the scene of a crime is his and continues to protest his innocence.

There are still no witnesses to the abduction and police have not discovered any forensic evidence, despite many hundreds of items being tested – including Bellfield's clothing.

The Crown Prosecution Service have considered a file of evidence presented so far and decided it was not enough to charge.

Police hope that following a reappeal yesterday new information will come to light.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:48 AM        

Levi Bellfield guilty of murdering two women

By Matthew Moore and agencies


Levi Bellfield, a former night-club bouncer, was today found guilty of murdering two young women in London.

Levi Bellfield

Following his conviction it can be revealed that police suspect Bellfield of other violent crimes, including the killing of Milly Dowler. The 13-year old disappeared on her way home from school in Surrey in March 2002.

A jury at the Old Bailey convicted Bellfield, 39, of the murders of students Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange this afternoon. He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of schoolgirl Kate Sheedy.

Bellfield, who was wearing a grey suit and pink tie and shirt, showed no reaction as the verdicts were delivered.

The jury of seven women and five men, which retired last week, was unable to reach verdicts on four other counts.

The prosecution alleged that Bellfield, from west London, trawled buses and bus stops for women - particularly young blonde women - and attacked them when they rejected him.

Miss McDonnell, 19, was on a bus followed by Bellfield's car in February 2003. Bellfield pulled up as she got off at a stop near her home in Hampton. She was found dying from head wounds a few yards away.

Miss Delagrange, 22, had been out with friends but missed her bus stop as she returned to Twickenham Green in August 2004. Bellfield spotted her at the bus stop and followed her. He struck her on the head with a hammer two or three times after she refused to talk to him as she crossed the green.

Miss Sheedy, 18, had been celebrating her last day as head girl at a convent school when she got off a bus up the road from her home in Isleworth in May 2004. Bellfield was watching from his vehicle but became enraged when she became suspicious and crossed to the other side of the road.

He turned the vehicle round and drove over her as she was going across a junction - reversing back over her to make sure he was leaving her for dead. She survived horrific injuries to give evidence against him.

Police believe that Bellfield, who worked as a wheel clamper, was also responsible for a number of other unsolved attacks in the suburbs of south west London.

He escaped capture for so long because he left no forensic clues and switched his mobile off when cruising around for women.

The jury was unaware that Bellfield is to be interviewed by Surrey detectives investigating the disappearance of Milly Dowler.

Bob and Sally Dowler, Milly's parents, today launched an appeal for new information that could lead to the conviction of their daughter's killer.

"We are pleading for anyone who knows anything to have the courage to speak up," they said in a statement.

"Nothing will ever bring Milly back, but even six years on you can still help start easing our pain by letting us know, finally, what happened on our daughter's final days."

Andrew Hadik, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the evidence shown in court was only the "tip of the iceberg" of what had been amassed by detectives.

Speaking after the verdicts, he said: "I am greatly relieved by the convictions today. We had to guide the jury through a huge and complex investigation full of distressing detail.

"Deciding what evidence to present in court required careful judgment - the tip of the iceberg compared with the whole package disclosed to the defence."

He added: "The cold-blooded and calculated murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell were part of a series of horrific assaults on young women. Their families have shown great fortitude throughout."

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that Bellfield will be interviewed about other unsolved murders.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton said: "Yes, we are looking at other murders which have not been solved."

The jury was unable to reach verdicts on four counts in connection with two other attacks, on Anna-Maria Rennie, 17, in Whitton, south west London, in October 2001, and Irma Dragoshi, 33, in December 2003.

The CPS said later that it would not seek a retrial in relation to those attacks.

Bellfield will be sentenced tomorrow.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:50 AM        

Bellfield Victims' Families Speak

February 25, 2008

Relatives of two young women murdered by Levi Bellfield have welcomed his conviction, saying the jury did well to bring him to justice.

The family of murdered teenager Marsha McDonnell say their lives have been left incomplete, "like a rainbow with a colour missing".

Shane McDonnell, uncle of the 19-year-old A-level student, said the girl who had only love in her heart had been taken away by a man filled with hate.

He condemned the "cowardly charade of innocence" put up by Bellfield, who always denied he was responsible.

Miss McDonnell was struck on the back of the head with a hammer and left lying in a pool of blood just feet away from her family home in Hampton, west London.

She had been making her way home from the bus stop after a night out at the cinema in February 2003.

Outside the Old Bailey, Mr McDonnell said: "Five years have passed since the night our beloved Marsha was so cruelly taken from this world, the girl who only had love in her heart cruelly slain by a man who only had hate in his.

"Life will never be the same again. The pain and hurt we carry will always be there, always something which we remember.

"The man responsible for these barbaric crimes has finally been proved to be guilty.

"For five years we have had to endure the cowardly charade of innocence put forward by the defence. Now we at last get to see Levi Bellfield for what he truly is."

The family now hope to "close this particular chapter" of their lives and to be left only with the "happy memories" of Miss McDonnell, he said.

"Marsha, we miss you," said Mr McDonnell. "We are incomplete, like a rainbow with a colour missing.

"We thank you for the joy that you brought to us in your short life. Your goodness, sense of fun, your spirit and passion for life remain with us."

Amelie Delagrange's parents, Jean-Francois and Dominique Delagrange, travelled from their home in Amiens, France, to hear details of their daughter's murder.

Mrs Delagrange wept as she heard a pathologist describe the head injuries which caused her daughter's death.

She was bludgeoned over the back of the head with a blunt instrument as she walked home over Twickenham Green following a night out in August 2004.

Miss Delagrange was passionate about English and had arrived in Britain four months earlier to further her studies.

The court heard she had a close circle of both French and English friends and she was happy.

Outside court, Mr Delagrange said: "We are very emotional but we would like to compliment the prosecutor, Mr (Brian) Altman, the police, and especially the jury, who didn't give in to the arguments of the defence who... didn't manage to wipe out the important charges against the accused, who is now the guilty party.

"We are very emotional and are very much thinking of Amelie."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:52 AM        

Levi Bellfield 'shouldn't walk free in the world'

By Richard Edwards
Crime Correspondent


The family of a girl bludgeoned to death by Levi Bellfield has demanded that he should never be allowed to "walk free in the world" again.

Shane McDonnell, the uncle of gap-year student Marsha McDonnell, 19, said her murder yards from her home in Hampton, west London, had inflicted a life sentence of torment on her family "that has no remission".

In a emotional statement on behalf of her parents, Phil and Ute, Mr McDonnell said Bellfield’s "barbaric" attack on an innocent girl was "an act of pure evil".

"On the day Marsha died, a part of Phil and Ute died with her," he said.

"The street where they have lived for over twenty years and raised all their children is forever tainted and every day provides a grim reminder of that fateful night.

"She was a person who truly made this world a better place for everyone – without her now our world is not complete anymore. A missing colour in a rainbow."

Mr McDonnell added: "We have had to wait five long years to find some sort of answer as to what happened on that night Marsha was killed.

"The pain and hurt that we as a family carry, will be with us for life. Marsha’s murder was an act of pure evil, an innocent girl attacked from behind with no motive, no reason and no justification. If our children ever have to face the fact that the man who impacted their lives in such a way is allowed to walk free in the world, then that is a day when they would have to question whose life is more important in the eyes of the law, ‘the victims’ or ‘the perpetrator’; ‘the murdered’ or ‘the murderer’."

The parents of Amelie Delagrange, flew to London from their home in Hanvoile, north of Paris, and attended court for every day of the four-month trial.

Dominque Delagrange, her mother, spoke of her death as an "open wound that will never heal".

She said that her grave, in their tiny garden, is not marked by a stone but her body instead rests amongst the flowers she loved to pick in the Spring.

"It will always hurt us not to know what would have become of Amelie had her life not been severed in such a way," she said.

"Alexis, her five-year-old godson, still cries today for his godmother. His parents told him she has become an angel and from time to time he sticks some drawings on the glass of his bedroom window so that she may see them from heaven."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:54 AM        

Profile: Levi Bellfield, psychopath who preyed on young women

Girlfriends saw warning signs in sexual predator who married four times and had 11 children by five different mothers

Steve Bird
From Times Online

February 25, 2008

Only now can the true extent of Bellfield’s intense loathing and predatory attitude towards women be revealed. The judge in the case ruled that much of the evidence gleaned while Bellfield was a suspect was too prejudicial for the jury to hear.

It included how undercover detectives had watched him sexually insult underage teenage girls at a bus stop and how, while even on remand, he earned the reputation as a "caveman" because of his barbaric attitude towards the opposite sex.

Paul Jarvis, a fellow inmate, said that Bellfield had confessed to killing Amelie Delagrange and had boasted "you can do what you want" to women. "He is like a caveman. He treats women like dogs," Jarvis told police.

In his home town of West Drayton, Bellfield, was renowned for pestering underage girls – invariably thin blondes – and trying to chat them up as he followed them in his Toyota Previa, complete with blacked out windows and a mattress, blankets and a baseball bat in the back.

Born in Hounslow, West London, the son of Joseph and Jean Bellfield, he was of Romany Gypsy descent and one of three sons and a daughter. His father, a motor mechanic, died from a heart attack when his son was just 10 years old.

Bellfield's criminal career — he has convictions for assaults and driving offences — began when he was only 13. By the age of 23 he was jailed for a year for hitting a police constable in the face when he was asked to turn the music down at a house party.

He went on to marry four times and had eleven children by five different women.

Even while married, he singled out teenagers. To some he offered drugs — a ploy which police believe he had tried on at least one of his murder victims and possibly even Milly Dowler — or boasted of his body-building exploits; he had enhanced his physique with steroids. Rejection of his advances could trigger an incandescent rage.

Ricky Brouillard, who had worked for Bellfield, told police that his former boss had even offered to sell sex with his "naïve" girlfriend, 16, and her sister, 14.

"I would describe Levi as an animal," Mr Brouillard told police. "I remember being disgusted. I met his girlfriend on one occasion and he said ’Do you want to buy her off me?'."

Bellfield, who had a tattoo of a boxing devil bearing his name, confessed to one former girlfriend that he would wait in alleyways wanting to "hurt, kill, stab or rape women". She also told police of her horror at discovering in his bin pornographic pictures on which he had slashed the faces of blonde models.

Another one-time girlfriend said in her police statement that Bellfield "had a thing for his 13-year-old cousin" as well as a desire for his lovers to dress in school uniforms.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton, who led the inquiry, said Bellfield had a deeply unhealthy interest in the opposite sex, which turned to violence when his advances were rejected.

With access to hundreds of cars through his clamping firm, which operated in Surrey, Oxford, Middlesex and London, Bellfield was able to prowl the streets reasonably confident that he could evade detection.

His immaturity and obsession with his build is evident even in his entry on the Friends Reunited website.

"I feel stupid coming on here. I was short at school and am now over 6ft," he writes, before referring to his wheel-clamping business, adding: "I hope I ain’t clamped you." He continues: "I haven’t grown up. I still think I am 18. I’m out clubbing: Ibiza, Tenerife.

"Doing OK, good laugh, the slippers ain’t out yet. A bit flash, like the labels. Am I sounding a prat????" He closes his message: "Any single girls out there, e-mail me."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:57 AM        

Girl's desperate call to mother

25 February 2008

Kate Sheedy

Kate Sheedy was on her way home from a party celebrating her last day of school when she was run over twice by Levi Bellfield and left for dead.

Just months after the May 2004 attack, the then 18-year-old spoke to BBC News reporter Alison Freeman about her ordeal.

When she saw Levi Bellfield's car rev its engine and speed straight towards her, teenager Kate Sheedy tried desperately to run away.

She was not fast enough. As the car hit her, knocking her face-down into the road, the wheels of the car ran over her torso.

Bellfield, who was behind the wheel, then reversed and drove over her again.

"When the car hit me I felt disbelief," Ms Sheedy said in a BBC interview in August 2004.

"I didn't scream or make a sound.

"I just felt crushed. I stood up but fell straight back down again.

"I thought, 'I've got to go home, I'm very badly hurt', and started crawling."

The injuries Ms Sheedy suffered in the attack in Islesworth, west London, were horrific.

Her back was torn open, her liver was ruptured, one of her lungs had collapsed and the other was punctured.

She also suffered a broken collarbone and broken ribs.

Despite her injuries, the 18-year-old stayed conscious throughout the ordeal and managed to crawl several metres before making a desperate phone call to her mother Eileen.

During Bellfield's trial, the Old Bailey heard how Ms Sheedy had rung her mother at home, saying "Mummy, I've been run over, I'm in our road."

In a statement read to the court, Mrs Sheedy recounted hearing her daughter sounding "panicky" on the other end of the phone.

She said: "Kate said 'if they don't get here soon I'm going to die'."

As she was transferred to the intensive care unit of Kings College Hospital, Ms Sheedy's mother was told to prepare herself for the possible death of her daughter.

Months after the attack, Ms Sheedy, was told she would make a full recovery, but her life had already been changed forever.

Unable to sit her A-Levels with her schoolmates, her exam board agreed to grade her on the work she had already completed.

But plans for university were postponed for a year, as the former head girl of Gumley House Convent School in Isleworth found it difficult to walk far, got tired easily and said she was scared to go out alone at night.

She remained mystified by what could have motivated her attacker.

She said: "I think it was just my misfortune to be there at that time, but I can't comprehend the fact that another human being could do that for no particular reason."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 11:58 AM        

Teenager murdered on way home from cinema


25 February 2008

Marsha McDonnell, 19, had finished her A-levels and was enjoying a gap year before starting university when she fell into Levi Bellfield's trap.

She was working at a gift shop in the Bentalls centre in Kingston and met up with friends after work in February 2003.

The pretty teenager and her friends went to see the Leonardo di Caprio film Catch Me If You Can.

Catching a well-lit number 111 bus back home to Hampton, she caught the eye of Bellfield, who was cruising around in a Vauxhall Corsa.

As Bellfield passed the bus and parked near a stop, the outline of the car was caught on CCTV footage in the vehicle and on other buses.

Police believe Bellfield rarely used public transport and did not realise that there are now cameras in most vehicles.

As the bus doors opened at 12.07am, Miss McDonnell, who had been waiting to get off, was illuminated even more by extra lighting.

As she walked to her family home a few feet away, she was approached by Bellfield and struck over the head with a hammer.

A neighbour heard a short scream and she lay dying in a pool of blood just after midnight.

Another neighbour, David Fuller, was woken by a "loud thud" which sounded like a car door slamming in front of his house in Priory Road, Hampton.

It was as he began drifting back to sleep about 15 to 20 minutes later that he heard moaning and spotted a pool of blood by a pillar near his front garden.

His wife Bernadette said: "I could see a pool of liquid running down the pavement.

"When I looked again there was a hand stretched out from the pool so we knew there was somebody there."

Mrs Fuller said they rushed outside. She said: "She was face down with her arm underneath her. Her other arm was stretched out in front of her and she clawed her arm backwards.

"She was obviously bleeding quite a lot. It was quite matted through her hair.

"Initially she made a low moaning sound but that stopped quite soon when I was first out there."

Mr Fuller said: "She was still moaning at that point and my wife was still trying to talk to her."

She died the following afternoon from severe brain injuries with her parents at her hospital bedside.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 12:00 PM        

'He treated women like dogs'

Karen McVeigh

February 25 2008

In evidence ruled inadmissible by the judge at the trial of Levi Bellfield, a former girlfriend told how he admitted he hated blondes and would hang around alleyways "wanting to hurt women, stab them or rape them".

She found magazine pictures in which the faces of blonde models had been slashed, she said. Bellfield's cellmate, Paul Jarvis, said the former bouncer "treated women like dogs".

Born in Isleworth, west London, on May 17 1968, Bellfield never strayed far from his old home. His attacks on at least five women, carried out between 2001 and 2004, took place in an area of west London south of the M4 corridor, just east of the M25.

During this time, Bellfield, of West Drayton, west London, ran a wheelclamping firm under a number of aliases.

He admitted using up to 42, including Lee Johnson and David Bennett, but claimed they were for "tax reasons" and to avoid people whose cars were clamped seeking revenge.

Bellfield, who has 11 children by five different mothers, was described as a "ladies' man" by friends. But while he liked to play the charmer, he had a low regard for women, seeing them as sexual objects. According to the prosecution, he would turn violent when rejected.

Police believe he initially propositioned the French student Amelie Delagrange on the night of August 19 2004 and, when rebuffed, killed her in a rage.

Separate CCTV images showed his white Ford Courier van and Delagrange, on foot, both slowing down as they approached Twickenham Green, appearing to fit this theory.

Giving evidence during his Old Bailey trial, Bellfield cut a strange figure as he attempted to charm the jury, portraying himself as an ordinary man who could not understand why he was there.

He admitted a range of previous offences, from stealing vehicles to assaulting a police officer, telling the jury in his high-pitched voice: "I'm no angel, but I'm not a killer."

The first sign he was a danger to women came three years before he killed Delagrange when he allegedly tried to abduct Anna Maria Rennie from a bus stop in Twickenham on October 15 2001.

When she refused his offer of a lift, the trial heard that Bellfield picked her up, placed a hand over her mouth and tried to drag her into the car. When she escaped, he shouted after her: "You're a whore, a slut."

Rennie, who now lives in Spain, identified him in a video ID parade in 2005 as her case was reinvestigated following his arrest. She said he had destroyed her confidence for a long time.

In court, Bellfield insisted she was mistaken and tried to claim that two witnesses had given evidence against him because they "wanted their day at the Old Bailey".

Bellfield's next alleged victim was Irma Dragoshi, a 33-year-old hairdresser who worked in Slough. On December 16 2003, she was standing at a bus stop in Longfield Village, near Heathrow. She woke in hospital with no memory of what had happened.

But Sunil Gharu, who worked with Bellfield, told police he had seen the attack. He said Bellfield suddenly pulled over on the opposite side of the road and told him: "Watch this."

Gharu said he then ran up to Dragoshi, spun her round and smashed her to the ground. He ran back, got in the car and drove off, laughing. Bellfield admitted he had been present during the attack, but tried to claim Gharu had been responsible.

Bellfield's conviction does not bring police interest in him to a close, with detectives analysing a string of unsolved attacks for evidence of his possible involvement.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 12:03 PM        

Bellfield 'is controlling and evil'

By Sarah Bell
BBC News

25 February 2008

A former nightclub bouncer has been convicted of bludgeoning Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange to death, and of another savage attack on a woman in south-west London.

But what is known about a man who stalked the streets, attacking lone women near bus stops?

Levi Bellfield is by all accounts a charismatic and charming man.

But he can change in a flash.

"When we started dealing with him he came across as very jokey, like he's your best mate," said Det Ch Insp Colin Sutton, who led the murder hunt.

"But he's a cunning individual, violent. He can switch from being nice to being nasty, instantly."

Born and raised in west London, Bellfield, 39, prowled for victims on streets he knew intimately.

Detectives believe he could be responsible for a number of other attacks, other than the three he has been convicted of.

He had lived in, had family in or had business links with all the locations where his attacks took place.

'Controlling womaniser'

Despite his unattractive appearance in the dock - overweight, with slicked-back hair and a squeaky voice - he was reputedly a womaniser, boasting 11 children by five women.

Detectives tracked down a number of ex-girlfriends, who all described a similar pattern of behaviour when they got involved with him.

"He was lovely at first, charming, then completely controlling and evil. They all said the same," said Det Sgt Jo Brunt, who spoke to several of them.

After a couple of weeks of them being together, Bellfield would take their mobile phone and swap it with another which contained only his number, saying it was all they needed.

He would then stop them from seeing friends, parents or going out without his permission, and would constantly phone to check what they were doing.

One girlfriend said following an argument he told her to sit on a stool in the kitchen and not move. He went to bed and she sat there all night.

Det Sgt Brunt said: "We asked her what she did about going to the toilet and she said she would rather wet herself than have moved from that stool. That shows how frightened they were of him."

Bellfield, "a psychology PhD waiting to happen", according to Det Ch Insp Sutton, was very close to his mother. His father died when he was young.

"He dotes on his mother and her on him. It's a troubling relationship," said Det Ch Insp Sutton.

'Massive ego'

At the time of the attacks, he ran a wheel-clamping business which operated in the western suburbs of London, with a motley crew of workers with names like "Builder Bob" and "Fat Brian."

At times he made good money, and while giving evidence at the Old Bailey he explained to the jury formula on how to succeed in the clamping business.

Bellfield, a former body-builder, constantly denied any involvement in the attacks - and detectives could only guess at his motivation.

Det Ch Insp Sutton explained his own theory: "He has a massive ego to feed, he thinks he's God's gift to everyone.

"He drives around in his car, feels a bit 'whatever' and sees some young blonde girl.

"Young blonde girl says 'go away' and he thinks 'you dare to turn down Levi Bellfield, you're worth nothing' - and then she gets a whack over the head.

"It is shown in the case of Kate Sheedy - she was smart enough to think she didn't like the look of his car and crosses the road. He thinks 'you think you're so clever' and whoosh, he runs her over."

While he was under police surveillance, Bellfield was seen driving around in his van, talking to young girls at bus stops.

Det Ch Insp Sutton's theory is also suggested in the timing of Amelie's last movements.

CCTV cameras captured her walking towards Twickenham Green after she missed her stop on the bus home.

She slowed her pace between the last two sightings, around the time Bellfield passed her in his van.

Det Ch Insp Sutton said she probably stopped to speak to him. Minutes later she lay dying from massive head wounds in the middle of a cricket pitch.

Victims chosen

He said it was no coincidence all his victims were of a similar appearance.

His last girlfriend, Emma Mills, told police Bellfield always chased after small blonde girls with large chests.

Bellfield faces a life sentence for his murderous trail of senseless violence.

Det Ch Insp Sutton said: "We looked at a dozen crimes in west London and we have not been able to eliminate Levi from any of them.

"I fear we may have only scratched the surface."



Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 12:05 PM        

Levi Bellfield prosecution was a shocking and exceptional case says CPS

25 February 2008

Even for prosecutors and caseworkers used to dealing with murder, the Levi Bellfield trial was an exception in its complexity and distressing detail, according to reviewing lawyer Andrew Hadik of Special Casework CPS London, who began advising the police some 18 months before charge.

Commenting on the verdict he said:

"I am greatly relieved by the convictions today. We had to guide the jury through a huge and complex investigation full of distressing detail. Deciding what evidence to present in court required careful judgement - the tip of the iceberg compared with the whole package disclosed to the defence. The case depended largely on complex circumstantial evidence, which was powerful and compelling but required great care in its presentation.

"The cold-blooded and calculated murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell were part of a series of horrific assaults on young women. Their families have shown great fortitude throughout.

Kate Sheedy, who survived an attack by Levi Bellfield, showed immense courage in giving evidence against him."

The CPS called several experts to explain highly specialised aspects to the jury. CCTV footage was also a crucial part of the case, helping in the identification of Bellfield's Vauxhall Corsa, Toyota Previa and Ford Courier van. This was matched to ownership data and vehicle movements painstakingly researched by the Metropolitan police. "The effective prosecution of this case was assisted enormously by the close and sustained cooperation of everyone involved in the prosecution," said Mr Hadik.

Notes to Editors

1. Prosecution counsel were:
* Mr Brian Altman (2 Bedford Row) Senior Treasury Counsel;
* Mr Mark Heywood (5 King's Bench Walk) Junior Treasury Counsel;
* Miss Navaz Daruwalla (2 Bedford Row) Disclosure junior and second junior at trial.
2. Overall, around 18,000 pages of evidence were used in the Crown's case together with a large quantity of graphic material.
3. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6088.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 12:08 PM        

Bellfield named as prime suspect in Dowler murder

# David Batty and agencies

February 25 2008

Milly Dowler

Detectives investigating the abduction and murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler six years ago today named Levi Bellfield as the prime suspect in the case.

The revelation came after Bellfield was found guilty at the Old Bailey of the murder of two young women - French student Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19 - and the attempted murder of a third, Kate Sheedy, 18.

Amanda Dowler, known as Milly, vanished while walking home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on March 21 2002.

The 13-year-old's skeletal remains were found six months later by mushroom pickers on Yateley Heath, Hampshire, 30 miles from her home.

Surrey police have been building their own case against Bellfield since he was arrested by the Metropolitan police in November 2004.

Detectives hope the conclusion of the Old Bailey trial will lead to a breakthrough in the Dowling investigation, codenamed Operation Ruby.

Bellfield could not be linked publicly to the investigation while he faced other charges. But police revealed today he was arrested and interviewed over Milly's death three years ago.

Officers believe they have compelling circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime and will soon interview him again.

Milly vanished on the afternoon of March 21. After leaving a cafe where she had been with friends, she began walking to her home a mile away in Walton, Surrey. When she failed to return, a huge hunt was launched and police concluded that she was taken by an opportunist abductor.

Five people have been previously detained in connection with the murder. The last was a 57-year-old registered sex offender from London, who was released in late 2005. In June of the same year a 52-year-old prisoner was arrested and questioned. The previous month police arrested a 36-year-old man in Chertsey, three miles from Milly's home, but he was released the next day.

Milly's parents Bob and Sally Dowler said today they would not find peace until her killer is brought to justice.

"Six years ago our beautiful daughter Milly was callously murdered and still no one has been brought to justice," they said. "How can we find peace? How can we ever understand who could commit such an evil act and why?"

"Imagine not knowing how your daughter died, or where or when and by whose hand, and imagine how we as a family live. If you know anything that could help answer these questions, please find it in your heart to let us know."

In their first statement on the case since 2005, the couple urged anyone with information to come forward. "We are pleading for anyone who knows anything to have the courage to speak up," they said.

"Nothing will ever bring Milly back, but even six years on you can still help start easing our pain by letting us know, finally, what happened on our daughter's final days.

"We grieve and always will for what happened to Milly, for the damage done to us as a family and to the future we have all lost."

Detectives investigating the case have collected a database of more than 11,000 people, including several suspects - of whom the prime suspect is Bellfield.

Surrey police have relaunched an appeal to help trace a red Daewoo Nexia captured on CCTV in Walton-on-Thames minutes after Milly disappeared.

It can now be reported that a car of the same colour and model was owned by Bellfield's then-girlfriend Emma Mills.

The Daewoo, an old banger worth no more than £500, was reported stolen several days after Milly disappeared and has never been found. Police fear it was crushed. Detectives have released the vehicle registration, N503 GLT, and chassis number, KLATF68V1SB554108, of the Daewoo in a new bid to locate it.

It has not been seen since Mills reported it stolen from a Hounslow pub car park several days after Milly disappeared.

Detectives cannot account for Bellfield's movements on the day Milly disappeared. His mobile phone was switched off. But they know he was familiar with Walton-on-Thames, and Milly's final resting place on Yateley Heath.

They hope the end of the Old Bailey trial will encourage people to come forward with new information. The police source said: "We are looking for Levi Bellfield's girlfriend's car and have been for some time.

"We are appealing to people who may have been scared in the past and now, for whatever reason, are not. Or people who had allegiances in the past which may no longer exist.

"We are appealing to Bellfield's criminal associates and we think they may have a change of heart now."

The car was captured at the junction of Copenhagen Way and Station Avenue by a CCTV camera on the roof of the Unilever building at 4.33pm. Forensic experts believed the rear of the car appeared to be lower than normal, suggesting it was carrying a heavy load.

Despite sending the CCTV to the FBI for state-of-the-art analysis, police were unable to identify how many people were in the car or any further details. The incident, written off by Surrey police as a "non-crime", was not initially linked to the Milly investigation.

Bellfield was arrested while on remand in July 2005 and questioned by detectives investigating Milly's disappearance. But he made no comment about the case. Despite their suspicions, officers admit the method of Milly's abduction was very different from the offences dealt with by the Metropolitan police inquiry.

Careful analysis of Milly's bones, scattered by animal activity, revealed no injuries. This is inconsistent with the explosive violence shown in the hammer attacks on Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell.

None of Milly's clothing or possessions were recovered from the woodland. Officers found only bones and a small amount of hair.

Police are still trying to trace her Heathside school uniform jacket, Nokia mobile phone and distinctive white purse with an ace of hearts logo on it.

The police source added: "We have not given up on Milly. It is a current investigation and we have to keep plugging away until we get the break we want and the family get the justice they deserve."

Milly Dowler




Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2008
        February 25th, 2008 12:16 PM        

Attack victim welcomes Bellfield's conviction


25 February 2008

Kate Sheedy

The woman who as a convent schoolgirl survived a near-fatal attack by bus stop stalker Levi Bellfield said his conviction today meant more than words could say.

Kate Sheedy, now a 21-year-old university student, said she hoped the verdict would bring some comfort to the other victims of the "despicable" killer.

She said: "The fact that Bellfield has been found guilty means more to me than I can possibly say."

Miss Sheedy survived being run over twice by Bellfield just yards from home as she made her way home from a bus stop in May 2004.

She had been out celebrating her last day at Gumley House Convent School, where she was head girl.

Miss Sheedy wept and hugged friends and family after jurors returned their verdicts today and was loudly cheered as she left the Old Bailey.

She said: "I have waited for nearly four years for this day and it is hard to express how much it means to me.

"At the time I was celebrating moving on to a new chapter in my life.

"All that hope and excitement was taken from me.

"The road to recovery has been long and hard. There were times when I thought I would never get better.

"I will never be able to forget what happened to me."

Meeting the families of Bellfield's murder victims had been "a powerful reminder of what could have been", she added.

"I hope that this verdict brings some comfort to all those families that have been affected by the despicable actions of just one man."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 09:35 PM        


Bus-stop killer delivers final insult to victims' families as judge tells him: 'You'll die in jail'


26th February 2008

Levi Bellfield refused to come to court to be sentenced because of the 'bad publicity' after his convictions.

Levi Bellfield will spend the rest of his life in jail, a judge has ruled - but the hammer killer was not there to hear his sentence.

He refused to appear in the dock at the Old Bailey because he was upset at being named as the prime suspect for the murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler.

His non-appearance drew nothing but contempt from his victims' families, who criticised his cowardice.

Bellfield, 39, will die behind bars after the judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty, said he must serve the maximum "whole life" tariff.

The former wheelclamper killed 19-year-old Marsha McDonnell in 2003 and Amelie Delagrange, 22, the following year by hitting them over the head with a hammer.

The sexual predator also attempted to kill 18-year-old Kate Sheedy by running her over

He is the prime suspect in the abduction and murder of 13-yearold Milly, who vanished on her way home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in 2002.

Yesterday, addressing an empty dock, Mrs Justice Rafferty told Bellfield: "You have reduced three families to unimagined grief. What dreadful feelings went through your head as you attacked and in two cases snuffed out a young life is beyond understanding."

Amelie's father Jean-Francois said of Bellfield's non-appearance: "It is just another show of his cowardice. He was cowardly in his attacks, and a coward today."

Miss Sheedy, now 21, said: "I think that shows the kind of person he was - a complete coward."

Also watching the sentencing was one of Bellfield's first victims, Jesse Wilson. She was 17 when he struck her with a hammer yards from her home in Strawberry Hill, South-West London, in January 2003.

Though he has never been charged, detectives are convinced Bellfield is responsible and are preparing to re-investigate.

Victim Kate Sheedy gives a thumbs up after Bellfield is told he will die in jail, but she branded him a coward for refusing to attend the sentencing.

Jesse, who was left for dead, has since recovered enough to complete a BA but is still having medical treatment on her jaw.

Detectives have linked Bellfield to at least 20 more attacks, including three murders.

They are convinced he abducted and killed Milly as she walked past his flat in Walton-on-Thames in March 2002.

Surrey Police have renewed appeals over a red Daewoo Nexia, registration N503 GLT, driven by Bellfield at the time of Milly's abduction. Its chassis number is KLATF68V1SB554108 and has never been recovered.

In a rare move, the judge singled out Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton for his team's "determination and skill" in bringing Bellfield to justice - prompting the court to break into applause.

Kate Sheedy branded Bellfield a coward for refusing to appear to hear his fate.

Although jubilant at the sentence, the former convent school head girl said outside court: "I am disappointed that he wasn't here to hear the judge's words, which were so strong.

Bellfield was described in court as a predator who stalked bus stops looking for likely victims. He had a particular animosity towards women with blonde hair.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 09:37 PM        

"I think that shows the kind of person he was - a complete coward.

"It means so much to me that he got life for my attempted murder, as well as the murders of Marsha and Amelie.

"It's what I wanted. To know he is never going to see the light of day again is brilliant and a relief."

She added: "Even if it were 40 years time, I would not have felt safe if he had been let out on the streets again.

"He now has the rest of his days to think about what he has done."

Impact statements given to the judge spoke of the pain and suffering of Bellfield's victims and their families.

The judge said: "The statements I have read and the words the court heard this morning were hard for many an experienced professional to bear."

Miss McDonnell's uncle, Shane, said: "Marsha's murder was an act of pure evil, an innocent girl attacked from behind with no motive, no reason and no justification.

"Losing a child in any circumstances is always an extremely hard loss to bear.

"To lose a child to such a barbaric act of violence that has no reason or explanation just compounds that grief further."

Dominique Delagrange also spoke of the pain of losing her daughter, Amelie.

"Our world fell apart on the August 19, 2004. It will always hurt us not to know what would have become of Amelie had her life not been severed in such a way.

"Her loss is an open wound that will never heal. We shall never get over it."

Earlier it was revealed that a series of appalling police blunders could let bus-stop killer Levi Bellfield cheat justice for the murder of Milly Dowler.

The 39-year-old thug, who was today given a "whole life" jail term at the Old Bailey, murdered two young women and attempted to kill another.

Police believe Bellfield, who had a pathological hatred of blonde women, is also responsible for killing 13-year-old Milly.

Attacked: Amelie Delagrange, left, and Marsha McDonnell were killed by Bellfield.

He lived only yards from where she was last seen in Surrey and might even have known her. Incredibly, police knocked on his door ten times, failed to get a reply and gave up.

They ignored his attempts to target two other young girls in the weeks before Milly disappeared plus the failure to identify a red car he drove, captured on CCTV the day she vanished.

And, in the two years before Milly's abduction, he was also reported a staggering 93 times to police for alleged indecent assaults, physical attacks and obscene phone calls.

These missed opportunities left the serial killer free to hunt down other victims.

He bludgeoned to death 22-year-old French shop assistant Amelie Delagrange and gap-year student Marsha McDonnell, 19.

And he tried to kill Miss Sheedy, then 18, by driving into her then reversing his car over her body.

Because of the failures to gather information which plagued the start of the Milly case, a file naming Bellfield as the killer has already been rejected by the Crown Prosecution Service and police fear it will never reach court.

But following yesterday's revelation that he was the prime suspect in Milly's murder, they have received a flood of calls from members of the public.

More than 20 people phoned a police hotline last night, some with information on the convicted killer's whereabouts around the time of the schoolgirl's disappearance.

Callers included former friends and associates of the murderer, who in a statement through his lawyer has today denied killing Milly.

Detective Chief Inspector Maria Woodall, who is leading the Milly inquiry, said: "We have had more than 20 calls from the public, a number of which have the potential to be significant.

"We still need to find the red Daewoo car seen leaving the area shortly after Milly disappeared."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 09:40 PM        

Surrey Police have released the vehicle registration - N503 GLT - and its chassis number to help job people's memory in the hope of tracing the vehicle.

It has also emerged that Bellfield told his girlfriend of the time during a police appeal about Milly: "You never know, I could be the killer, I might be famous one day."

Prison sources said last night that Bellfield, a club bouncer and wheel clamper, had also confessed to the murder of an unnamed prostitute in Manchester.

In recent weeks he has been kept in Belmarsh jail, South London, in an adjoining cell to Mark Dixie, the killer of Sally Anne Bowman.

Prison sources said the pair had been coaching each other over what to say in court.

Jesse Wilson: One of Levi Bellfield's first vctims.

Other astonishing facts to emerge about Bellfield include:

• Scotland Yard will now investigate 20 unsolved attacks across Britain

• These include the murder of Bellfield's 14-year-old friend Patsy Morris, who was strangled in 1980 when Bellfield was just 12, and Judith Gold, killed on Hampstead Heath in 1990

• Up to six teenage girls have come forward to claim he drugged and raped them

Bellfield, a Romany gypsy from West Drayton, West London, is said to have gained sadistic pleasure from extreme violence against women who rejected his advances.

Milly's parents said they will never find peace until her killer is brought to justice.

Bob and Sally Dowler said in a statement that the murder of their "beautiful, vivacious, kind-natured" daughter had destroyed their lives.

Bellfield was finally tracked down after Amelie was bludgeoned to death on Twickenham Green, South West London, in August 2004.

Miss Delagrange was walking along a bus route after missing her stop when she was attacked and detectives linked the attack with the bus stop killing of Marsha McDonnell, 18 months earlier.

Murder squad officers trawled through more than 2,000 hours of CCTV images to find the damning images of Bellfield's white Ford Courier van as he stalked Amelie.

But it was a call into the police incident room by one of Bellfield's ex-partners which finally led to the psychopathic doorman.

Metropolitan police officers who have worked on the case for almost four years were visibly moved at the verdict and shed tears outside the courtroom.

The families of the victims criticised Bellfield for his arrogance in court when the judge and jury were not there.

Dominique Delagrange accused the killer of "making gestures, winking at us, mouthing obscenities and deliberately yawning" during evidence.

During the trial, the jury heard how Bellfield trawled bus stops and followed buses late at night looking for young blondes on their own.

If they turned him down, he reacted with rage.

Within minutes of Bellfield's conviction, Surrey Police renewed their appeals on the Milly case and offered a £50,000 reward.

Anyone with information about her death should call the investigation team on 01483 637637.

Why couldn't they make him?

Under English common law criminal trial defendants cannot be compelled to appear in court if they do not want to, so long as a lawyer is present to represent their interests.

This is because if they are forced to appear, there is a danger they may disrupt the dignity of the court.

Levi Bellfield exercised his right not to appear in court yesterday, choosing instead to remain in the cells beneath the Old Bailey courtroom.

Bellfield's barrister, William Boyce, QC, explained that his client chose not to appear because of the "quite extraordinary explosion of bad publicity" which followed his conviction on Monday.

In 2006, professional hitman Gary Nelson failed to appear at the Old Bailey for large portions of his trial for murdering police officer Patrick Dunne.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 09:44 PM        


Families of the murdered girls tell of bus-stop stalker's 'pure evil'

26th February 2008

Levi Bellfield's victims and the families of those he killed today spoke of how his 'evil' acts had blighted their lives forever in impact statements given to the judge before Bellfield was sentenced to three life terms.

The 'bus stop stalker' was given a "whole life" jail term at the Old Bailey today for the murder of two young women and the attempted murder of a third.

Marsha McDonnell's uncle Shane said the 19-year-old's parents Phil and Ute still found it too painful to talk about her death.

He said: "On the day Marsha died, a part of Phil and Ute died with her.

"Marsha's murder was an act of pure evil, an innocent girl attacked from behind with no motive, no reason and no justification.

"Since the night five years ago when she was cruelly and unexpectedly taken away from this world, they as her family have had to endure a suffering that can only truly be known to those that have been through it.

"Losing a child in any circumstances is always an extremely hard loss to bear.

"To lose a child to such a barbaric act of violence that has no reason or explanation just compounds that grief further.

"The psychological and physical effects on us as a result of the manner of Marsha's death compromise their lives to this day."

He added: "Marsha was a generous, loving, thoughtful girl. Her goodness, her sense of fun, her spirit and her zest for life is as fresh in our minds today as it was then.

"Marsha was enjoying a gap year after finishing school, deciding what career path to take.

"Like any teenager about to embark on the next stage of her life she had many dreams and aspirations which one man shattered.

"She was an artistic girl and her next step was to have fulfilled one of her passions by going to college to study photography.

Victims: Amelie Delagrange (left) and Marsha McDonnell (right).

"However, her other passion being music, there was a strong likelihood that she would have ended up following in her father's footsteps and embarked on a career working alongside him in his music industry business.

"Whatever Marsha chose to do there is no doubt she would have achieved great success."

Marsha's siblings Nathalie, Maya, and Jack, who were 21, 15 and five respectively when their sister was killed, would "never know what it means to walk carefree down a street again".

"For the rest of their young lives this will remain a shadow over their happiness," said Mr McDonnell.

"One can only speculate on the damage this event has had on their education and careers. What are for certain though, are the nightmares, the panic attacks, the hurt and sadness that is an ongoing fact of life for the three of them."

They were constantly reminded of Marsha's death because the family still lived in the street where she was battered.

He continued: "On his way to the hospital the night of her attack, Phil had to pass the blood-soaked scene 60 yards from his home.

"The street where they have lived for over 20 years and raised all their children is forever tainted and every day provides a grim reminder of that fateful night.

"Despite this, the fact that the family home holds so many happy memories of Marsha means they could never consider moving.

"She was a person who truly made this world a better place for everyone - without her now our world is not complete any more. A missing colour in a rainbow.

"Only through our faith and the everlasting love for Marsha have we managed to be able to stay a close family.

"The effects on our business were very serious and we almost became victims of losing our livelihoods as well.

"The pain and hurt that we as a family carry will be with us for life. It is a sentence that has no remission."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 09:46 PM        

Amelie's mother Dominique Delagrange said that her world fell apart when her daughter was killled.

Amelie Delagrange

Dominique Delagrange spoke of the pain of losing her daughter Amelie.

She said: "Our world fell apart on the 19th August 2004.

"Amelie had a warm nature, she was lovely, she loved to laugh and joke. She was loving, always smiling and we could not be any closer. We laughed a lot together.

"I was proud of her, of her intention to travel alone like a mature adult. We did not want to let her go but it was not possible to stand in her way.

Amelie Delagrange came to London to improive her English.

"It will always hurt us not to know what would have become of Amelie had her life not been severed in such a way. She wanted to marry, have children and her sister to be the godmother of her first child, so many unfulfilled hopes which are now intangible.

"Alexis, her five-year-old godson, cries still today for his godmother who, as his parents told him, has become an angel for whom he sticks some drawings on the glass of his window so that she may see them from heaven.

"In fact, we are so reluctant to accept the death of Amelie that her grave is in reality a little garden always covered with flowers and grass.

"A stone will never be placed on it in the secret hope that Amelie will thus remain in our hearts the playful being, full of laughter, loved by her parents, relatives and friends, resting in the midst of crocuses that she so loved to pick in the spring.

"Her loss is an open wound that will never heal. We shall never get over it."

Kate Sheedy said she had suffered mentally and physically since being run over by Bellfield in 2004. She said: "I was in hospital. I was heavily sedated and was having horrible nightmares and hallucinations whilst I was awake.

"To this day I still suffer from nightmares. This is both reliving the incident itself and also the nightmares I had whilst I was in hospital.

"For a period of several months I suffered really bad panic attacks, flashbacks and nightmares. I couldn't be alone at all, even during the day.

"Even now I will not go out alone if it is dark, I'm too frightened to.

"If I'm out in the evening, even with lots of people I dread the journey home because of what happened.

"Now I am able to get out alone if it is daylight but for the first few months I couldn't ever do that.

"I then started seeing a counsellor. I saw the counsellor for a period of six weeks. I was then sent to West Middlesex Hospital and tested for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"I was found to be suffering from PTSD and mild depression. I was told that it could take up to two years on the NHS to see a suitable counsellor so I ended up seeing a private counsellor. This started around the beginning of 2005.

"Although I still have some anxiety and nightmares, the counselling has greatly reduced these."

The university student added: "I was run over only a few weeks before I was due to sit my A-levels and was in fact in hospital when I should have been sitting my exams.

"It wasn't until the early part of 2005 that I knew I could get my place at York.

"A lot of my friends went off to university in September 2004 when I should also have been going. I found this very hard to deal with as all my friends had moved away and I was at home almost unable to do anything for myself." Miss Sheedy spoke of her horrific injuries and the long road to recovery.

She said: "Whilst in hospital I had been unable to walk so I had to retrain my body to do all the things it should do and rebuild the strength in my muscles.

"I was still in a lot of pain. The sciatic nerve in my left leg had been badly bruised and this took a long time to fully recover.

"I still get pain in my right shoulder and down the back of my shoulder blade. This is especially so after repetitive arm movements such as typing and if I've been carrying bags.

"I'm not able to play tennis or anything like that. Once when I went canoeing I was in a lot of pain and had to have several physio sessions.

"I still have a large visible scar on my lower back. The nerves in the area under the scar were completely severed and I have no feeling in the skin around this area.

"I suffered major muscle damage to my back and it took many months to rebuild these muscles and they are still not as strong as they were and may never get back to full strength.

"It still hurts to sit upright in a straight chair for any longer than an hour. This causes problems when I do things like going to the cinema.

"In the last 12 months I have required four or five physio treatments. Since January 2005 I have had to pay for all the physio as it has not been available to me on the NHS."



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 09:54 PM        


Did bus-stop killer murder his teenage girlfriend when he was just 12?

26th February 2008

Patsy, who was strangled at the age of 14.

The family of a schoolgirl murdered 28 years ago believe Levi Bellfield could be her killer, after it emerged that they dated while at school.

Patsy Morris disappeared from school one lunchtime and her body was found hidden in undergrowth on Hounslow Heath in June 1980.

The 14-year-old had been strangled, but was not sexually assaulted.

Police never solved the case but they now intend to re-examine the murder to determine if Bellfield was involved.

The news comes as it emerged the killer could be responsible for up to 20 murders, rapes and assaults on women following his convictions for the murders of AmÈlie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell.

George Morris, father of Patsy, and his daughter Nicola today told of their fears that Bellfield could have begun killing as young as 12 and said he should pay with his life for the crime.

Ms Morris, 44, said her sister never brought the murderer home and the family only discovered the connection very recently. She said: "We did not know him. It was a shock when we found out they knew each other. Friends told us about it. It is horrendous.

"The crimes he has committed and the pain and suffering he has put on other families - we understand what they have gone through. People say it heals over time but it never does."

Still grieving: Patsy's father George and sister Nicola.

Patsy, along with her sister and two brothers, attended Feltham Community School, in Middlesex, where she met and became close to Bellfield.

Mr Morris, 72, said soon after his daughter's murder he received a death threat from a young teenage boy, whom he now suspects could have been Bellfield.

He said: "The phone rang and someone said 'I'm going to kill you.' It was a young male voice and a local call. It was very strange.

"He [Bellfield] is a local man which is why it could be him. It is terrifying that someone of 12 or 13 could have done it.

"If the police are going to investigate that would be great. We can only hope and pray that we do get a result, it would be a blessing.

"We have had 28 years of it, you have to deal with it the best you can. It is something that never leaves you.

"If he has taken my daughter's life and countless others, there is only one thing for him. I would not be happy that he is still alive.

"I don't know why I should keep him in prison paying taxes when he has done what he has done."

Anyone with information is asked to call a special Surrey Police hotline on 01483 637 637.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 09:57 PM        


Bellfield: The killer with a hatred of blondes who boasted 'I'm above the law'


26th February 2008

As countless female victims can report, Levi Bellfield never takes no for an answer.

Overweight, with an effeminate squeak of a voice, he could hardly be described as irresistible. But the 39-year-old former bouncer and wheelclamper never let that cramp his style.

At first, his hunt for new conquests brought him girls who were naive or drunk enough to fall for his crude propositions.

Those who were unwise enough to resist were drugged and raped on a mattress in the back of his van.

As the years passed, fuelled by cocaine and mental instability, Bellfield became increasingly more violent and fixated on young blondes.

Johanna Collings, mother of two of his children, told detectives that he slashed photographs of blonde models in magazines and confessed that he would wait in alleyways wanting to "hurt" such women.

Bellfield told others that girls who dyed their hair blonde were "sluts", "impure", and "deserved to be messed around with".

Cynically, he acted as a registered police informant for a number of years, passing on bits of "unimportant tittle-tattle", according to one source, to stay "in" with the law.

But at the same time, he was boasting to friends that he had shaved his entire body to avoid leaving any DNA evidence and was "untouchable".

Bellfield told one of his victims, former friend Peter Rodriguez, before he beat him into a coma: "The law doesn't apply to people like me."

In the dock, Bellfield, nicknamed Mr Truthful by friends because of his ability to lie, tried to win over the jury of seven women and five men.

He told them: "No airs and graces. This is me. I'm not trying to fool anyone. I'm not an angel, I'm not claiming to be an angel."

But what the jury did not hear was that since his teens, Levi Bellfield has been obsessed with sex and the power he believes it gives him over women.

Former employee Ricky Brouilliard said simply: "I would describe Levi as an animal", after he offered to sell him a 14-year-old girl for sex.

Bellfield told another friend that women were like "pet dogs" adding: "You feed them and you keep them, you can do what you want."

The cause of this twisted attitude might never be known but it has emerged that Bellfield's first love was a murder victim.

Patsy Morris was 14 when she went missing from a playground in West London in 1980.

She was found strangled and hidden in undergrowth on Hounslow Heath 48 hours later and Bellfield, then just 12, was said to have been fascinated by the unsolved killing.

He will now be questioned over it.

Early in life, Bellfield developed a schizophrenic hatred and desire for women.

A former girlfriend said: "He would start off extremely nicely, playing the fool and trying to convince them that he wasn't a threat.

"But once they trusted them, he turned into a controlling monster."

One partner was made to sit on a stool all night because she answered him back and others were beaten into submission.

Over the years, he notched up a string of girlfriends and fathered 11 children by five different mothers - but that was not enough to satisfy his rapacious appetite.

Bellfield regularly used prostitutes and kept an empty flat near his home for sex sessions.

At night, he stalked nightclubs and bus stops looking for blondes.

A former colleague recalled how, while working as a bouncer in Maidenhead, Berkshire, Bellfield gave Rohypnol to a young clubber before raping her in the nightclub car park and stealing her mobile phone.

When the girl's mother rang her number, Bellfield answered and boasted about the attack.

Another girl was assaulted in a toilet cubicle at a club in Cobham, Surrey.

A friend of the victim later told police she looked over the top of the door and asked the girl, who was extremely drunk, if she was all right.

Bellfield is said to have held the girl's jaw and moved her mouth like a ventriloquist's dummy to make her say "yes".

No one but Bellfield knows what he said to Marsha McDonnell or Amelie Delagrange before he murdered them.

A prisoner who shared a cell with him while on remand claimed the ex-bouncer confessed to offering cocaine to Miss Delagrange before attacking her.

The young Frenchwoman had missed her bus after a night out with friends in August 2004 and was retracing her steps home when Bellfield spotted her about to cross Twickenham Green.

Eighteen months earlier he had stalked Marsha McDonnell as she, too, travelled home late at night.

The teenager stepped from a bus just yards from her home in Hampton.

Moments later, Bellfield struck her about the head with a blunt instrument, leaving her fatally injured.

Detectives believe he probably tried to entice both girls into his car for sex but they refused and his retribution was swift and savage.

Convent schoolgirl Kate Sheedy, 18, suffered an equally violent attack but survived, despite being run over twice by Bellfield.

A sixth sense made her cross the road to avoid walking past the car but her actions so angered Bellfield that he drove straight at her before reversing over her gravely injured body.

Murder squad officers suspect these women are just the tip of the iceberg.

They believe the ex-bouncer may have bludgeoned a total of 20 women with a hammer, leaving those who survived with devastating head injuries.

They are now trawling through cases where victims were so severely injured that they have no memory of being attacked, and their injuries were put down to the victim being drunk or having fainted.

During the Old Bailey trial, it emerged that Bellfield, who had convictions stretching back to when he was 13 and had been jailed for dangerous driving and assaulting a policeman, suffered wild mood swings, which were worsened by his drug use.

Diagnosed as clinically depressive, he claimed in court that he had tried to hang himself at least twice, and took anti-depressants.

However, they failed to stop him flying into uncontrollable rages.

While this violence was normally directed towards strangers, those closest to Bellfield were also victims.

In 2004 Bellfield attacked Peter Rodriguez, hitting him three times on the head with a hammer and stabbing him with a screwdriver in the stomach and kneecaps.

And many of his girlfriends were raped and savagely beaten if they refused him sex.

One former partner, Becky Wilkinson, believes Bellfield's psychiatric problems stem from his relationship with his mother, Jean, the dominant force in his life.

His father, Joseph, a car mechanic, died when his son was eight and family friends describe Mrs Bellfield, now 71 and seriously ill with emphysema, as a strong-willed matriarch who turned her youngest son into a spoilt "mummy's boy".




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 10:06 PM        

A police interviewer, her identity protected, shows Bellfield pictures of his victims. He turns away.

After Bellfield moved out of the family home aged 22, rarely a day passed without him visiting his mother who, friends claim, thought he could do no wrong.

Even now, she is adamant her boy is innocent of all crimes and detectives are convinced that Bellfield will never confess while his mother is still alive.

Levi Bellfield was brought up with two sisters, a brother and a number of step-siblings in a shabby terrace house on a West London council estate.

All the children were told they should be proud of being Romanies and Bellfield would boast of his "pure" gypsy blood, claiming it made him superior to other races.

But, as a boy, he made little impression.

He left Feltham Community School at 16 to do casual work for a house clearance and removals firm.

An ex-colleague recalled: "He had an inferiority complex. I remember that sometimes, when he was driving the van, he would stare into space and rock back and forth at the steering wheel, like he was in a trance."

Kate Sheedy would later see her attacker rocking over the steering wheel just before she was mown down.

It was when he started his first proper relationship, with 19-year-old barmaid Becky Wilkinson, that he started to gain some self-confidence.

Bellfield, who used up to 23 aliases, started to deal drugs, mainly cocaine, armed with a knuckleduster and a baseball bat.

At 30, he was a licensed doorman working at bars and nightclubs across South-West London and the Home Counties.

When he lost his licence, after being convicted of assaulting a police officer, he simply carried on but now answered to no one when he handed out ferocious beatings.

A doorman, who worked regularly with Bellfield, recalled: "One evening I saw him put chalk lines on the floor so that he knew which areas were being recorded by CCTV and which areas he could operate in safely.

"Later on he beat the living daylights out of an Asian man in the area he had outlined.

"It was absolutely brutal. I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

It was in 2000 that Bellfield hit upon his first chance to make real money.

With a motley crew of friends - including Noel Moran, who was sentenced to life last July for murdering a friend with a samurai sword - he set up a wheel-clamping business.

The company was notorious for its bullying tactics.

The clampers demanded £245 in cash to release vehicles and reminded those who argued that there was a claw hammer and baseball bat in their van.

Bellfield boasted he was making £60,000 a year cash and would show off bricks of £20 notes held together with rubber bands.

His arrogance - and recklessness - increased with his growing wealth.

In 2003, the year he killed Marsha McDonnell, the 35-year-old was living with Emma Mills, the privately-educated mother of his three youngest children.

But his misspelt entry on the Friends Reunited website crowed: "i havnt grown up still think im 18 out clubing, ibiza, tenerife doing ok good laugh the slippers aint out yet.

"A bit flash like the labels am i 2sounding a prat???? ...any single girls out there e mail me....LATERS."

How many responded to his crude invitation is not known but his search for ever more sexual partners carried on right up until his arrest.

Bellfield thought he had been clever, disposing of vehicles and clothing used in the attacks, but he had not counted on CCTV catching him on film or the evidence of mobile phone records.

Cameras on buses and buildings captured detailed images of four of his vehicles and placed him at the scene of the murders of Marsha and Amelie, and the attack on Kate Sheedy.

Unaware that the net was closing in, Bellfield spent his last day of freedom prowling for another victim.

Detectives who had him under close surveillance watched in horror as he drove up to a bus stop in broad daylight and talked to two young girls waiting there.

They later told the police that he had offered them a lift and asked how old they were.

When they said they were 14, he said: "You must be virgins. I bet you are nice and tight" before driving away.

Hours later, Levi Bellfield's reign was finally ended.

The man who once boasted he was "untouchable" was hauled from the loft of his West Drayton home, where the serial attacker had been cowering naked under a roll of insulation.

Additional reporting: DAN NEWLING


Becky Wilkinson: She described her life with Bellfield as a 'nightmare'.

Becky Wilkinson has lived her entire adult life in terror.

For 18 years, she was totally in Levi Bellfield's power.

She was beaten, raped, kept prisoner in her own home and stalked. She also had four children by him.

She was a 19-year-old barmaid, with a child from a previous relationship, when she fell for his flattery.

"He was a real charmer," she said. "I thought he was a nice bloke. But he ruined my life."

Photographs from that time show a pretty blonde with a warm smile. Now 37, she rarely makes eye contact and speaks hesitantly.

Within months of their meeting she was pregnant. She was not the only one to be trapped in this way.

Bellfield appears to have used pregnancy to ensnare at least four girlfriends.

He told a friend they were like dogs - "You feed them and you keep them, you can do what you want".

"He was a control freak," she said. "He felt having all these children

"The night I went into labour, it was snowing and we didn't have a phone but he would not take me to hospital.

"I had to walk to a phone box and call my mum to take me. Two days after I got home, he kicked me down the stairs.

"He began hitting me and bringing other women back to the house when I was out."

Bellfield was still living with his mother. "He is a real Mummy's boy", Miss Wilkinson said. "He once joked that she wiped his bum until he was 12.

"She knew he was hitting me but he could do no wrong in her eyes."

Why did she not leave? "I was young and naive and when he hit me, he would say sorry afterwards and I would forgive him."

In 1995, Miss Wilkinson claimed Bellfield raped her, leaving her pregnant with their fourth child.

"If I refused him sex, he would hold me down and rape me," she says. "He didn't like being turned down.

"I didn't go to the police because I thought they wouldn't listen to me."

Breaking point finally came when Bellfield raped her at knifepoint.

She moved house to try to escape but Bellfield would not let her go.

"He has never left me alone. It has been a nightmare."

She claims he broke into her new home and waited for her return.

"He raped me," she said. "He said it was to teach me a lesson. He carried on watching and tormenting me for years."

The torture stopped only when Bellfield was arrested for the murder of Amelie Delagrange in November 2004. But his children are still suffering.

"Our eldest tried to take an overdose because she was being bullied at school over her dad. They are ashamed they are related to him."



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 10:10 PM        


Bus-stop killer's car-clamping gang of paedophiles and murderers

26th February 2008

Killer Levi Bellfield led a car-clamping gang of thugs, paedophiles and murderers which preyed on motorists across the South-East.

Bellfield clamped cars even when they were not illegally parked and blackmailed vistors to brothels in order to fund his insatiable appetite for drugs.

Among his grim ring of associates was Suraj Gharu, who was jailed fo five years in 2005 for having sex with a 14-year-old who was in care at Hillingdon Council children's home.

Bellfield's gang of villains( from left to right): Paedophile Vic Kelly, Suraj Gharu, jailed for having sex with a 14-year-old girl and Samurai sword killer Noel Moran.

Bellfield's drug dealer was paedophile Vic Kelly, also jailed in 2005 for grooming underage girls for sex by giving them cocaine.

According to one of Bellfield's former friends, Richard Hughes, the bus-stop stalker would stop at nothing to bring in money to fund his habit.

His car-clamping company was notorious for its bullying tactics.

The clampers demanded £245 in cash to release vehicles and threatened anyone who dared to argue that there was a claw hammer and baseball bat in their van.

Bellfield's gang of car-clampers frequently used threats of violence to extort money.

"Levi would clamp their cars, even if they weren't illegally parked," Hughes told the Sun.

"He'd get threatening if anyone complained. It was demanding money with menaces."

Bellfield used aliases and different company names for his operation.

Hughes added: “There was nothing Levi wouldn't do to make a pound. He sold drugs by the bucket while working as a bouncer.”

Bellfield boasted he was making £60,000 a year cash and would show off bricks of £20 notes held together with rubber bands.

He would wait outside a brothel in West Drayton, West London, with a video camera to blackmail men going inside, according to Hughes.

He said: "When they came out he would tell them they were on film and threaten to send it to their homes unless they paid up."

Another member of Bellfield's vicious car-clamping operation was Noel 'Tinker' Moran, who was jailed last year for hacking a man to death with a samurai sword.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 10:15 PM        


Milly: The litany of police mistakes which let her murderer escape justice


26th February 2008

Codenamed Operation Ruby, the murder of Milly Dowler remains one of the most high-profile investigations ever undertaken by a UK constabulary.

Milly disappeared on March 21, 2002. She lived with her father Bob, now 56, an IT consultant, and mother Sally, 48, a maths teacher, in Walton-on-Thames. Her elder sister, Gemma, is now 22.

On the way home from school, Milly caught the train from Weybridge to Walton, where she popped into the station cafe to share a plate of chips with her friends before beginning her ten-minute walk home to Station Avenue at 4.08pm.

Her father Bob reported her missing at 7pm. Her mutilated body was found in woods in Yateley, Hampshire, six months later.

Failures: A review of Operation Ruby, the investigation into Milly Dowler's murder in 2002, was scathing of Surrey Police who were accused of treating the case as a missing persons inquiry for too long, and counter to all evidence.

To anyone who knew Milly, her disappearance was out of character. She had never disappeared before and did not have a boyfriend.

In a grim foreshadowing of the Soham blunders which would overwhelm Cambridgeshire police six months later, Surrey officers received sightings from across Britain including the North of England and even Scotland.

A source admitted: "We were chasing shadows all over the country for the first two weeks. We were sitting by the phone chasing up all these leads. What we didn't do was check the ground under our own feet."

Behind the scenes, experienced detectives feared the worst - mindful that analysis of similar cases suggested it was almost certain Milly was already dead.

A month after her disappearance, Sussex Police carried out a review of Operation Ruby.

According to informed sources, the report - written by Detective Chief Superintendent Jeremy Paine (a former presenter on BBC1's Crimewatch) - contained damning criticism.

"It was particularly scathing of the investigative strategies adopted by Surrey Police and the fact that for too long they treated Milly's disappearance as a missing persons inquiry, when history pointed to her being abducted and murdered."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 10:17 PM        

The review also criticised the command structure in Surrey and the lack of CID experience in the force.

Surrey officers then pinned their hopes on a CCTV breakthrough, in particular

cameras placed on an office block 100 yards from the station.

This was where another mistake was made. There was no film of Milly.

But the cameras were later found not to provide a complete picture of the street, so the schoolgirl could indeed have walked past.

In any event, police attention had been fatally diverted.

For months, Milly's father was under surveillance because Surrey Police considered him a "viable suspect" for his daughter's death.

His house, car and telephone was bugged by officers who believed he would lead them to her grave.

Every part of his private life was scrutinised.

Officers checked the family computer and carried out exhaustive inquiries into his relationship with Milly.

He was eventually formally questioned over her disappearance, after which police accepted his account that he was at home when she was abducted.

But the highly-sensitive bugging operation consumed valuable resources and diverted attention from the most obvious answer: Milly was killed by a predatory sex offender.

And her abduction fitted an identical pattern to that used by Bellfield, who preyed on girls at bus stops.

She had been close to a bus stop shortly before she was snatched off the streets, and also bore a remarkable resemblance to Bellfield's other victims - young, slightly-built and blonde.

At the time of Milly's disappearance, Bellfield was living with his girlfriend, Emma Mills, in Collingwood Place, a few yards from Station Avenue.

The address was visited ten times by police over the two years after her murder.

It was only on the 11th call, on May 28 2004, that officers finally spoke to the occupants.

But they were new tenants and police failed to track back to establish that Bellfield was living there at the time Milly vanished.

Insiders say it is "scandalous" that officers did not "search and eliminate" the property.

A source said: "Had they got there early and identified Bellfield, they might have been able to gather incriminating forensic evidence.

"There were a number of police intelligence reports about this man's worrying behaviour."

We know now that Bellfield knew Walton well and lived there with another girlfriend, Sonya Allen, between 1996 and 1997.

He also knew Miss Allen's daughter, Donna, who went to primary school with Milly.

One theory is that Milly could have met Bellfield years before when she played with Donna.

Away from Collingwood Place, other jigsaw pieces were also being overlooked.

The day before Milly vanished, a man tried to lure a 12-year- old into his red car on her way home from school in nearby Shepperton.

He offered her a lift but she refused and her mother reported the incident to police 30 minutes later.

Crucially, the incident was not treated as a crime and was logged merely as "suspicious behaviour".

A report was sent to the local intelligence officer covering Shepperton who ignored it.

He never told the Dowler squad because he did not think it was "relevant".

A month before Milly vanished, Bellfield is thought to have exposed himself to an 18-year-old girl as she walked down Station Avenue.

She immediately reported the incident to police. The description of the offender matched that of Bellfield.

Twenty-four hours after Milly disappeared, the Dowler team were alerted to the incident.

But two months later, they had "screened it out" simply because the victim was five years older than the missing youngster.

It was only in November 2004, after Bellfield had been arrested over the murder of Amelie Delagrange, that officers belatedly learned of his links to Collingwood Place.

They established that Bellfield had access to a red Daewoo car, his girlfriend's, which was reported stolen 24 hours after Milly vanished.

Officers revisited CCTV cameras and discovered a "red splodge" coming out of Copenhagen Way into Station Avenue about 30 minutes after Milly was last seen.

FBI analysis of the film also showed the N-registered Daewoo Nexia parked in the street half an hour before Milly vanished.

Bellfield immediately became the prime suspect.

So what other facts leave many officers now convinced that Bellfield murdered Milly?

On the day of her disappearance, he was alone at 24, Collingwood Place.

Three days earlier, his girlfriend Emma Mills had driven to West Drayton to the home of her friend Christine Hawgood to dog-sit-Bellfield arrived there and spent the night of March 20 with her but they had a row.

He left on March 21 - the day Milly vanished. That afternoon, he uncharacteristically turned off his mobile phone.

At 11pm, he arrived at Miss Hawgood's house wearing a change of clothes which, police believe, means he had returned home to Walton.

He brought beer and Kentucky Fried Chicken and went to bed at midnight.

At 3.30am he got up and said "I am going home (to Walton) because I can't get a lie-in here."

Two days later on March 23, with the Milly search in full cry, Emma took a taxi home.

All the bedding was missing. Bellfield said the dog had fouled it and he had thrown it in the dustbin.

But Miss Mills was suspicious because her dog was well trained.

In addition, there had been no rubbish collection that week but the sheets were not there.

Following his arrest, Bellfield rang his ex-girlfriend Miss Allen from prison and she told him police had been round to speak to her about Milly.

Their conversation, revealed by prison sources, also suggests that Bellfield had previous contact with Milly.

One theory is that he offered her a lift and she got in willingly because she knew him.

Sources believe Bellfield could then have given Milly an accidental overdose of the horse tranquilliser ketamine and killed her.

Her body was dumped down a lane in Yateley Heath Forest, a lane Bellfield had used when driving another girlfriend, Johanna Collins, to show jumping.

Surrey Police insists Operation Ruby was well resourced with 100 officers and says the force should not be blamed for the long delay in identifying Bellfield as prime suspect.

A source said: "An awful lot of officers were put on that investigation from day one.

"One hypothesis we were working on was that she had been abducted and killed. It was treated as a 'critical incident'."

But insiders counter: "The first rule of good detective work is to clear the ground from underneath your feet.

"The initial Surrey inquiry was a mess with no proper organisation. Bellfield was on the doorstep and could and should have been caught earlier."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 10:20 PM        


Anguish: Milly Dowler's parents Bob and Sally have suffered years of torment.

"Six years ago our beautiful daughter Milly was callously murdered and still no one has been brought to justice.

How can we find peace? How can we ever understand who could commit such an evil act and why?

Imagine not knowing how your daughter died, or where or when and by whose hand, and imagine how we as a family live.

If you know anything that could help answer these questions, please find it in your heart to let us know.

Not a day passes when we don't think of her. Our lives have been in turmoil ever since and the effects on our family and friends have been devastating.

Some days even the smallest of tasks seem insurmountable. The pain never goes away even though we have learned to live alongside it.

We feel as if our lives have been destroyed and all we can do is try not to let the pain and anger overwhelm us. There are times when we don't succeed.

The past six years have been indescribable. In 2006 Milly would have been 18.

All her birthdays are anguish for us but this was particularly hard to bear and made us think what could have been.

As all her friends go off to university and carry on with their lives, we wonder about what she might have studied, the boyfriends she might have had, the places she might have lived; the day-to-day trivia we would have shared and, above all, how her many dreams and aspirations may have unfolded.

Sadly we will never know.

Thankfully, during her short life we had wonderful times and we treasure our many happy memories.

Our lovely Milly was a beautiful, vivacious, kind-natured 13-year-old girl.

She was popular and bubbly with a great sense of humour. She was bright and musical.

She always had a little twinkle in her eye. Milly was a loved and loving daughter and sister.

She had every right to expect a happy, rich life ahead of her. As parents, how could we imagine anything else?

We are pleading for anyone who knows anything to have the courage to speak up.

Nothing will ever bring Milly back, but even six years on you can still help start easing our pain by letting us know, finally, what happened on our daughter's final days.

We grieve and always will for what happened to Milly, for the damage done to us as a family and to the future we have all lost."



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 10:27 PM        


The young victims of bus-stop predator


26th February 2008

Amelie - The French Student

The last picture her family have of Amelie Delagrange: It was taken at an amusement park.

The last photograph Amelie Delagrange's family have of her is slightly out of focus; a snapshot of the young Frenchwoman having fun with friends at an amusement park.

Her mother Dominique shows me the picture, stroking the smiling face gently as she talks of her youngest daughter's violent, senseless murder.

It is almost impossible for the Delagranges to believe that the child they raised in the safety of a small village in Picardy, northern France, died hundreds of miles away at the hands of a stranger wielding a hammer.

The shock of her death, at just 22, appears undiminished on the faces of Jean-Francois and Dominique Delagrange.

Amelie's father, a 57-year-old architect says: "It is very difficult to go on from day to day. Three years on, we still miss her every day, like it is the first day."

In the small cemetery in Hanvoile, Amelie's headstone is surrounded by flowers and plants and a tiny white marble cherub peers out from beneath the blooms.

"We have made it a beautiful because that is where she is," Mme Delagrange says. "She is there but she is everywhere. In the house, everywhere."

On the mantlepiece of their living room stands a portrait of their daughter, smiling on her 21st birthday.

We look at photographs of the celebration in the village's Salle des Fetes, festooned for the occasion. The champagne and glasses are ready on the table with the birthday cake. Amelie's life was just beginning.

Mme Delagrange, a 54-year-old secretary with the same warm smile as her daughter, says: "Amelie was a girl who loved life, who loved to laugh. She was small and kind and had a lot of love.

"She always had a gang of friends. Even in England, she had already made friends. She loved reading, embroidery, children and TV.

"She was very bright at school and found learning easy. Her ambition was to travel and to write about the countries she visited.

"We were a close family, close to each other.

"She chose to go to England because she enjoyed the language and wanted to speak it better.

"When she finished school, she looked for a bi-linplacegual job but couldn't find one so she worked as a secretary for a year and a half before going to London.

"We were worried about her going - like any parents - but we respected her choice."

Amelie found a job at a French patisserie, Maison Blanc in Richmond, and quickly settled into her new life.

"She spoke on the phone every three or four days when she was away," Mme Delagrange says.

"She told us she was having a wonderful time. Sometimes she emailed from internet cafes to tell me little stories and anecdotes about what had happened to her, if she was well and all those everyday things. I told her all the news from the family.

"The last time we spoke to her other was the evening before she was killed. She was on the phone, happy as usual."

Amelie had last been home in July to celebrate France's national day, July 14, with her family.

Her parents show me the snapshots of the family gathering, everyone laughing.

"Everything was going so well. She was so happy with her life. She had met a young man, Olivier.

"He has now gone to Australia. He suffered terribly after Amelie's death."

They too have suffered grievously.

Mme Delagrange says: "We have changed so much.

"We have lost our joie de vivre, my husband has been made ill and we have become very fragile and vulnerable. We miss her every day."

The couple brought home some of Amelie's belongings.

"We have her glasses, her hairbrush and a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear. We have kept her room just as it was."

And there is the last photograph of their youngest daughter- developed by police from Amelie's camera.

The Delagranges refused to give in to their grief and decided as soon as Levi Bellfield was charged with the murder of their daughter that they would attend his trial, to make sure that justice was done.

Amelie's mother says: "It was painful and very difficult to be in the same room with him.

"His appearance made a big impression on us. He was big and powerfully built - like a rugby player.

"Amelie was small and she didn't stand a chance against a man like that".

Carefree after a night out: Amelie boards a bus just before her death.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        February 26th, 2008 10:28 PM        

Marsha - The gap-year girl

Marsha McDonnell: Died yards from home.

Marsha McDonnell was just 19, an academic high flyer with musical talents, when she was picked at random and battered to death yards from her front door.

The pretty blonde had said goodbye to her friends at a bus stop just after midnight on February 3 2003, telling them: "I'll be fine as she set off on the short journey home to Hampton, West London.

The last image of Marsha alive was captured as she stepped off the 111 bus.

The same CCTV also recorded Levi Bellfields car waiting for her in the shadows.

Minutes later, she was coshed from behind and left with massive head injuries.

For two days, her devastated parents Phil and Ute sat at her hospital bedside but nothing could be done to save their child.

After her death, German-born Mrs McDonnell described her despair: "As a mother, its like part of you dying.

"You have all these hopes and dreams for them, and you do everything you can to keep them safe.

"How can you bear it when something like this happens?"

She told how she had fretted about her daughters plan to travel abroad and worried about her being out of contact. And then the unspeakable happened on our own doorstep.

Marsha, one of four children, was enjoying a gap year when she was attacked.

The talented violinist and guitarist had spent the first six months of her year off working in a shop to raise the money for a long trip to Australia.

She was extremely close to her parents, sisters Maya and Natalie, and brother Jack.

Mr McDonnell is a former tour manager with acts including Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac and the Irish folk band Clannad.

He now runs a business supplying stage equipment from home.

Former Oasis drummer Alan White is a family friend and at the time of Marshas death, Kylie Minogue is said to have sent flowers to the family.

After Bellfields conviction yesterday Marshas uncle Shane McDonnell spoke for the family.

He called for Bellfields friends and relatives to help solve other crimes committed by him and allow families to grieve.

Outside the Old Bailey, he said: "Five years have passed since our beloved Marsha was so cruelly taken from this world, the girl who only had love in her heart cruelly slain by a man who only had hate in his.

"Life will never be the same again. The pain and hurt we carry will always be there. 

"For five years we have had to endure the cowardly charade of innocence put forward by the defence. Now we at last get to see Levi Bellfield for what he truly is.

Mr McDonnell added: "Marsha, we miss you. We are incomplete, like a rainbow with a colour missing. 

"We thank you for the joy that you brought to us in your short life. Your goodness, sense of fun, your spirit and passion for life remain with us.

His wife said: "The pain will never go away, particularly for my children. It has been very, very difficult.

"Since Marshas death, the family have raised more £50,000 in her memory for the Shooting Star Trust childrens hospice in Hampton.



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