17 May 1968 |
Isleworth, Greater London, England
|Other names||The Bus Stop Stalker
The Bus Stop Killer
|Criminal penalty||Three whole life sentences (murder)
Whole life sentence (attempted murder)
Whole life sentence (abduction)
Disposal of evidence
|Number of victims||3+|
|Span of killings||21 March 2002–19 August 2004|
|Date apprehended||22 November 2004|
Levi Bellfield (born 17 May 1968) is an English serial killer. A former nightclub bouncer and manager of a car clamping business, he was convicted on 25 February 2008 of murdering Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy. On 23 June 2011, Bellfield was found guilty of the murder of Milly Dowler, and sentenced to life imprisonment. The judge recommended that he should never be released on both occasions.
Early and personal life
Bellfield was born at the West Middlesex Hospital, Isleworth, Greater London, to Joseph Bellfield and Jean Bellfield, and is of Romani descent. When Bellfield was 10, his father died at age 52 of leukemia. He has 2 brothers and 2 sisters and was brought up on a South West London council estate. He attended Forge Lane Junior School followed by a change of secondary school from Rectory Secondary School, Hampton to Feltham Comprehensive School. He has fathered 5 children with 3 women, the youngest three with his most recent girlfriend, Emma Mills. His first conviction was for burglary in 1981. He was convicted of assaulting a police officer in 1990. He also has convictions for theft and driving offences. By 2002, he had nine convictions while he spent almost 1 year in prison for them.
In an interview with the media, Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton of the Metropolitan Police, who led the murder hunt, described him in some detail: "When we started dealing with him he came across as very jokey, like he's your best mate. But he's a cunning individual, violent. He can switch from being nice to being nasty, instantly."
Bellfield searched for victims on streets he knew intimately. 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 Detective Sergeant Jo Brunt.
At the time of the attacks, Bellfield ran a wheel-clamping business which operated in and around West Drayton in West London where he lived. Detective Chief Inspector Sutton speculated: "[Bellfield] 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."
Bellfield was seen driving around in his van, talking to young girls at bus stops, while under police surveillance. Amelie Delagrange was seen by CCTV cameras which showed her walking towards Twickenham Green after she missed her stop on the bus home. She may have stopped and spoken to Bellfield between the last two sightings of her. She was attacked shortly afterwards.
Bellfield was first identified as a suspect in connection with the crimes on 9 November 2004, and was arrested on 22 November 2004 before being released on bail. He was re-arrested and charged on 1 March 2006.
Amanda "Milly" Dowler was a 13-year-old girl who went missing on leaving the railway station in Walton on Thames on 21 March 2002 and was found dead in Hampshire woods six months later. In August 2009, Surrey Police submitted a dossier to the CPS containing evidence supporting Bellfield's involvement in the murder of Milly Dowler. On 30 March 2010, Bellfield was charged with the kidnap and murder of Milly, as well as the attempted kidnap of then 12-year-old Rachel Cowles on 20 March 2002. A jury convicted Bellfield of Milly's murder on 23 June 2011.
Marsha Louise McDonnell, a 19-year-old woman, died in hospital within two days as a result of being beaten over the head with a blunt instrument near her home in Hampton in February 2003. The wound was inflicted shortly after she got off the 111 bus from Kingston upon Thames at the stop on Percy Road. Bellfield sold his Vauxhall Corsa car for £1,500 six days after the murder, having bought it for £6,000 just five months earlier.
Kate Sheedy, then aged 18, was run over as she crossed the road near an entrance to an industrial estate in Isleworth on 28 May 2004. She survived, but suffered multiple injuries and spent several weeks in hospital. She went on to give evidence against Bellfield when he was tried with her attempted murder nearly four years later.
Amelie Delagrange was a 22-year-old French student visiting the UK. She was found at Twickenham Green on the evening of Thursday 19 August 2004 with serious head injuries, and died in hospital the same night. Within 24 hours, the police established that she might have been killed by the same person who had killed Marsha McDonnell 18 months earlier. Bellfield reportedly confessed to the murder while on remand.
Bellfield was also charged with abduction and false imprisonment of Anna-Marie Rennie (then aged 17) at Whitton on 14 October 2001, after she identified him in a video identity parade four years later. He was also charged with the attempted murder of Irma Dragoshi (then aged 39) at Longford on 16 December 2003. The jury failed to reach verdicts on either of these charges.
Conviction and imprisonment
Bellfield was found guilty of the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange (as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy) on 25 February 2008 more than three years since the last of the three attacks. The following day, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should never be released. Bellfield was not in court to hear his sentence, as he had refused to attend court owing to "unfair press coverage" following his conviction.
Despite the trial judge's sentencing rationale, the European Court of Human Rights has been reviewing whether lifelong imprisonment amounts to a violation of human rights legislation. In July 2013 the Court decided that lifelong imprisonment is unlawful, and that Bellfield and all other prisoners serving such sentences in Europe would have their cases recalled to instead the High Court for a new recommended minimum term to be set.
On 30 March 2010 Bellfield was charged with Milly Dowler's abduction and murder, pre-dating the earliest of the other three charges by almost a year. As a result, the inquest into the death was adjourned. On 6 October 2010 he appeared in court via video link and was formally charged with one count each of attempted abduction, (actual) abduction, disposal of evidence and murder.
Bellfield's second trial began on 10 May 2011 and on 23 June 2011 the jury, having weighed all the evidence for and against, found Bellfield guilty. He was again sentenced to life imprisonment the following day and the trial judge recommended that his life sentence should mean life – just as the judge at his trial for the other crimes had done three years earlier. The trial of Bellfield on another charge of attempted abduction of Rachel Cowles, an 11-year-old girl offered a lift in the Walton area by a man in a red car on the day preceding this murder, was abandoned due to newspapers publishing prejudicial material, and the judge ordered that the charge should remain on file.
On 3 August 2011, it was reported that Bellfield had suffered facial cuts and bruising in an attack by a fellow prisoner in September 2010, and would be claiming compensation of up to £30,000 from the Prison Service. Three months later it was reported that Bellfield had converted to Islam; sources at Wakefield Prison claimed they "are convinced Bellfield is doing this for better meals and a cushier life" and "He has the right to pray five times a day so it gives him a break". A tabloid has obtained suggestive accounts from prisoners that this was to avoid retribution from jailed Islamic extremists. He has changed his name to Yusuf Rahim and is said to be behind a hard implement slashing of murderer Mark Bridger behind bars; an allegation exists that he paid inmate to do it with three ounces of Rodeo tobacco.
As of 2013, following the conviction of Mick Philpott which has influenced prison policy where threats of serious attacks, or serious attacks have taken place against prisoners, he is now in solitary confinement for either unknown reasons or for protective custody.
Links to other crimes
After his 2008 murder trial, Bellfield was named by police as a suspect in connection with numerous unsolved murders and attacks on women dating back to 1990 – as well as the murder of a 14-year-old girl in 1980, when Bellfield was 12 years old and attending the same school as her.
Around the same time, a website campaigning against the conviction of Michael Stone for the murder of Kent woman Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan at Chillenden, Kent, in July 1996, named Bellfield as a suspect for the crime as he was of a similar age and appearance to the attacker described by Russell's other daughter Josie (who was nine years old at the time and suffered near-fatal head injuries) and to a panic-stricken man seen by other witnesses driving a Ford car in the area at the time of the attack. Stone had been jailed for life for the crime in October 1998, but granted a re-trial in 2001 after a key witness at the original trial admitted to giving false information in court. Stone was convicted of the crime again in October that year at his second trial. In the aftermath of Bellfield's conviction for the murder of Amanda Dowler, the suggestion that he killed Lin and Megan Russell was mentioned in the national media for the first time.
In March 2013, Bellfield was linked to the murder of hospital worker Melanie Hall. Hall disappeared from a nightclub in 1996, with her remains not found until 2009.
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- Student's death 'was murder' 6 February 2003
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- Murder police probe Marsha 'link' 20 August 2004
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- "Victory for evil as ECHR judges declare that whole life sentences are inhumane" The Sun, 1 August 2013, Graeme Wilson
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- White, Steve (7 November 2011). "Milly Dowler killer Levi Bellfield changes name to Mohammed and converts to Islam". Daily Mirror (London). Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- He murdered two... how many more did Bellfield target? – Herald Scotland
- Wright, Stephen; Greenwood, Chris (24 June 2011). "Did Milly's murderer kill Lin and Megan Russell? Police face demands to reopen investigation into fatal hammer attack". Daily Mail (London).