Wednesday 21 March 2018

Milly Dowler's final 14 hours revealed: Levi Bellfield raped and tortured teen before finally strangling her

Schoolgirl's family speak of the "torment and pain" they have been through since her killer Levi Bellfield finally gave police details of his crimes

Milly Dowler disappeared in March 2002 Photo: PA
Milly Dowler disappeared in March 2002 Photo: PA

Gordon Rayner

THE family of murdered English schoolgirl Milly Dowler have spoken out over their "torment and pain" after her killer Levi Bellfield finally gave harrowing details of his crimes.

They disclosed for the first time that Milly, 13, was kept alive by Bellfield for 14 hours, and was repeatedly assaulted by him before he finally strangled her.

Milly Dowler on a family holiday
Milly Dowler on a family holiday
Milly Dowler

Surrey Police told the family last May that Bellfield was ready to confess, but the family had to stay silent until a suspected accomplice had been eliminated from the inquiry.

They also said the Surrey force had decided to tell them about Bellfield's account because he had told other prison inmates who were due for release and might make the details public.

Surrey Police has refused to say when they interviewed Bellfield, how long they waited before passing on the information to the Dowlers or whether they would have told the Dowlers if it had not been for their fears that Bellfield's cellmate would go public.

In a statement which makes clear their frustration at the way they have been treated by Surrey Police, they said staying silent about their new-found knowledge of what happened to Milly had placed "unimaginable" stress on the family.

Levi Bellfield was convicted in June of murdering Milly Dowler in 2002
Levi Bellfield was convicted in June of murdering Milly Dowler in 2002

They said they had had to "fight every step of the way to get this far" and had written to Theresa May, the Home Secretary, in "desperation" and were seen immediately by her.

They said they hoped Milly's "soul, at long last, can finally rest in peace" now that the serial killer has given his account.

Bellfield would only speak to female officers from Surrey Police when he decided to confess and gave them disturbing details of how he repeatedly raped, tortured and murdered Milly.

Milly was abducted on her way home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, shortly after 4.10pm on March 21, 2002. Bellfield, 47, told police he took her to his mother's house in Feltham, around three miles away, before moving her back to another location, thought to be his flat in Walton-on-Thames. The Dowler family statement suggests he murdered her at around 6am the next day.

Her body was discovered on September 18 of that year, and Bellfield, who refused to give evidence in court, was convicted of her murder in June 2011. He had already been convicted of two other murders.

On January 27 this year Surrey Police announced that Bellfield, who had previously given no details of what he did to Milly, had finally admitted to her abduction, rape and murder.

Here is the statement in full from the family of Milly Dowler:

"We feel we need to say something in addition to the information that has already been made public, as we do not think what has been revealed reflects the true heinousness of this man. 

"In May 2015 - nearly nine months ago - we were informed that Bellfield had requested to speak to Surrey Police about Milly. Bellfield made it clear to police that he would only speak to female police officers. Bellfield provided the officers with a harrowing account of Milly's final 14 hours. Giving details of her abduction, repeated rape, torture and then finally how he murdered her. 

"The reason we were told this information last May, was because previously Bellfield had shared the information with other prison inmates and one of them was due to be released. This meant there was a risk that this information could be made public without us knowing about it. 

"Bellfield told the police that after abducting Milly and assaulting her at his flat a few yards from Walton Station, he then drove her to his Mother's house. He reversed down a long driveway and then raped her in broad daylight over the boot of his car. Bellfield then moved her to another location, where the rape and torture continued for a number of hours, until the next day when he finally strangled her to death. 

"Now we know the final hours of Milly's life, perhaps her soul, at long last, can finally rest in peace."

"A few days after hearing this harrowing information from Surrey Police, they revealed to us that they were also investigating an alleged accomplice involved in the abduction and rape of Milly. Hearing Bellfield's account of how Milly spent her final hours before being murdered was shocking enough, but the news that there could have been another individual involved was devastating. 

"There are no words to describe the additional torment and pain we have been going through since we were told this information. We had to remain silent for eight months whilst the police conducted their investigation. Finally, when they made the arrest of the suspected accomplice, the person was questioned and released without charge in less than 10 hours as there was no evidence found. 

"The pressure this has put us under as a family has been unimaginable and has taken its toll on all of us. We have had to fight every step of the way to get this far. In desperation last November we wrote to the Home Secretary to tell her of our concerns, and she met with us immediately. 

"Now we know the final hours of Milly's life, perhaps her soul, at long last, can finally rest in peace. The general public have always played a huge part in supporting us, for which we are eternally grateful and thankful. We believe that they should know what Bellfield did to our beautiful daughter and sister Milly."

A spokesman for Surrey Police said: "The Force has been in regular contact with the Dowler family during this investigation into the circumstances surrounding Milly’s murder. We recognise this continues to be extremely distressing and our thoughts remain with them."

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