Uncle may have seen Milly killer, court told
Milly Dowler's uncle may have come face to face with the schoolgirl's killer hours after she was snatched off the street, the Old Bailey heard today.
Jurors were told Levi Bellfield returned to his home to dispose of the 13-year-old's body in the middle of the night as Brian Gilbertson searched for her by torchlight.
Mr Gilbertson said he saw a man of Bellfield's description with a dog walking towards a bin shed at the block of flats near where Milly was last seen and where Bellfield lived.
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said Mr Gilbertson was a long-lost uncle of Milly who had recently been re-acquainted with the family.
He had become concerned about his missing niece and began his own search in the early hours of the morning after she vanished in Station Avenue, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on March 21, 2002.
After searching the railway station, Mr Gilbertson found himself at flats in Collingwood Place, off Station Avenue, where he saw a man with a dog walking towards him.
Mr Altman told the jury: "You can conclude that the man Mr Gilbertson saw in the early hours was the defendant who had returned with the dog.
"If the prosecution is right that he abducted and killed Milly Dowler, then he had to dispose of her body and clean up."
Bellfield's phone had allegedly been silent for nine and a half hours overnight -- ample time to drive Milly's body to the woods where it was found six months later.
Bellfield went on to murder two students -- Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange -- and attempt to murder a third, Kate Sheedy, during the next two years. Former bouncer Bellfield (42), denies Milly's kidnap and murder.