Nightclub doorman faces trial for schoolgirl's murder
The parents of Milly Dowler (13) were last night hoping their long wait for justice could soon be over after prosecutors said a former nightclub doorman will go on trial accused of her murder.
Levi Bellfield (41) will be charged with kidnapping the girl eight years ago, as she walked home from school, before killing her. The former doorman and wheelclamper, originally from West Drayton, Middlesex, England, will appear in court on April 13.
He will also be charged with attempting to kidnap 12-year-old Rachel Cowles the day before Milly disappeared.
The decision follows a multi-million euro police inquiry into one of Britain's best-known unsolved murders.
Amanda Dowler, known to her family as Milly, disappeared while walking home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on March 21, 2002.
Six months later her skeletal remains were found 30 miles away by mushroom pickers in Yateley Heath, Hampshire.
Her parents, Bob and Sally Dowler, thanked detectives for their "painstaking work" over the past eight years.
In a statement, they said: "It's very hard to say how we feel after eight long and difficult years.
"We are extremely grateful to Det Supt Maria Woodall and her investigating team for their painstaking work and support to us over the years.
"We are pleased that Levi Bellfield has been charged with abduction and murder and hope this will go some way towards providing justice for our darling Milly."
Bellfield was first interviewed over Milly's death five years ago after he was held by police.
Police officers believe they also have compelling circumstantial evidence which links him to the crime. Bellfield was living with his girlfriend Emma Mills a short distance from where Milly was last seen.
A heavily-loaded red Daewoo Nexia, owned by Ms Mills, was caught on CCTV driving away from the area at about the time Milly disappeared.
The distinctive car has never been recovered by police who have searched lakes and questioned a scrap dealer.