Levi Bellfield

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Levi Bellfield
Born
Levi Rabetts

(1968-05-17) 17 May 1968 (age 53)
Isleworth, London, England
Other namesYusuf Rahim[1]
The Bus Stop Stalker
The Bus Stop Killer
The Hammer Man
OccupationNightclub bouncer
Business owner
Known forMurders of
Milly Dowler
Marsha McDonnell
Amélie Delagrange[2]
Criminal statusIn prison
Criminal chargeBurglary, assault, theft, abduction, attempted murder, murder
PenaltyLife imprisonment (whole life order)
Details
Victims3+
Span of crimes
21 March 2002–19 August 2004
Date apprehended
22 November 2004
Imprisoned atHM Prison Frankland

Yusuf Rahim (born Levi Rabetts;[3] 17 May 1968),[4] better known as Levi Bellfield, is an English serial killer and sex offender. He was found guilty on 25 February 2008 of the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amélie Delagrange[5] and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, and sentenced to life imprisonment.[5] On 23 June 2011, Bellfield was further found guilty of the murder of Milly Dowler.[6]

On both occasions, the judge recommended that Bellfield should never be released from prison,[7] making him the only serial killer in the United Kingdom to be sanctioned with two whole life orders — meaning he will never be considered for parole.[8]

Early life[edit]

Levi Bellfield was born at the West Middlesex Hospital, Isleworth, London,[9][10] to Jean and Joseph Rabetts (née Bellfield);[11] he is of Romani descent.[10][12] When Bellfield was ten years old, his father died from leukaemia.[10]

Bellfield and his siblings (two brothers and two sisters) were brought up on a southwest London council estate.[10] He attended Forge Lane Junior School then Rectory Secondary School, Hampton, later moving to Feltham Community College.[13]

Career[edit]

Bellfield's first conviction was for burglary in 1981.[14] He was convicted of assaulting a police officer in 1990.[15] He also has convictions for theft and driving offences.[10] By 2002, Bellfield had nine convictions and had spent almost one year in prison for them.[16]

In an interview with the media, Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton of the Metropolitan Police, who led the murder investigation, said of Bellfield: "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."[17]

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.[17]

Modus operandi[edit]

At the time of the attacks, Bellfield ran a wheel-clamping business which operated in and around West Drayton, where he lived. Sutton speculated:[17]

[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.[17] Amélie Delagrange was seen by CCTV cameras which showed her walking towards Twickenham Green after she missed her stop on the bus home.[17] She may have stopped and spoken to Bellfield between the last two sightings of her. She was attacked shortly afterwards.[17]

Arrest and charges[edit]

Bellfield was arrested early on the morning of 22 November 2004 on suspicion of the murder of Amélie Delagrange. On 25 November, he was charged with three counts of rape in Surrey and West London. On 9 December 2004, he was charged with assaulting a woman in Twickenham between 1995 and 1997 and remanded in custody. Bellfield was rearrested and charged with Delagrange's murder on 2 March 2006, along with the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy and the attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm to Irma Dragoshi. On 25 May 2006, Bellfield was charged with the murder of Marsha McDonnell.

Victims[edit]

Milly Dowler[edit]

Amanda Jane "Milly" Dowler was a 13-year-old girl who went missing on leaving Walton-on-Thames railway station on 21 March 2002 and was found dead in Yateley Heath Woods, Yateley, six months later. In August 2009, Surrey Police submitted a dossier to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) containing evidence of Bellfield's involvement in the murder of Dowler. On 30 March 2010, Bellfield was charged with the kidnapping and murder of Dowler, as well as the attempted kidnapping of then 12-year-old Rachel Cowles on 20 March 2002.[18] Bellfield refused to give evidence at his trial and denied any involvement in Dowler's death. A jury convicted Bellfield of Dowler's murder on 23 June 2011.[6]

Marsha McDonnell[edit]

Marsha Louise McDonnell, a 19-year-old woman, was 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.[19] McDonnell died in hospital two days after being admitted. Bellfield sold his Vauxhall Corsa car for £1,500 six days after the murder, having bought it for £6,000 just five months earlier.[20]

Kate Sheedy[edit]

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. Nearly four years later, Sheedy gave evidence against Bellfield when he was tried for her attempted murder.[21] Sheedy had been able to describe the car in some detail after the attack as a white people carrier with blacked out windows and a broken wing mirror; Bellfield was found to have owned, at the time of the attack, a Toyota Previa with blacked out windows and a broken wing mirror.[22]

Amélie Delagrange[edit]

Amélie Delagrange was a 22-year-old French student visiting the UK. She was found at Twickenham Green on the evening of 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.[23] Bellfield reportedly confessed to the murder while on remand.[9]

Charges of abduction and attempted murder[edit]

Bellfield was also charged with the abduction and false imprisonment of Anna-Maria 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.[9]

Conviction and imprisonment[edit]

Bellfield was found guilty of the murders of McDonnell and Delagrange, as well as the attempted murder of Sheedy, on 25 February 2008, more than three years after the last of the three attacks. The following day, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should never be released.[24] Bellfield was not in court to hear his sentence, as he had refused to attend court owing to "unfair press coverage" following his conviction.

On 30 March 2010, Bellfield was charged with Dowler's abduction and murder, pre-dating the earliest of the other three charges by almost a year. He was named as the prime suspect in connection with the murder in the immediate aftermath of his first trial in 2008.[25] As a result, the inquest into Dowler's death was adjourned.[26] 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[citation needed] and murder.

Bellfield's second trial began at the Old Bailey on 10 May 2011[27] and on 23 June the jury found Bellfield guilty.[28] He was again sentenced to life imprisonment[29] 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, that of the attempted abduction of an 11-year-old girl who was 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,[30][31] and the judge ordered that the charge should remain on file.[citation needed]

On 27 January 2016, Surrey Police announced that Bellfield had admitted, for the first time, abducting, raping and murdering Dowler after being interviewed about whether he had an accomplice.[32] Bellfield later issued a denial that he made any such confession, but Surrey Police stood by their earlier statement.[33]

Links to other crimes[edit]

After his February 2008 convictions, 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 his childhood girlfriend, 14-year-old Patsy Morris, in 1980.[34][35] Morris was killed one year before Bellfield's first conviction, for burglary, at age 13.[36] Bellfield has reportedly boasted in prison of killing Morris and police said they would be investigating him for the murder in 2008 after he confessed to a cellmate.[37]

After Bellfield's 2008 conviction, police revealed they were reviewing the murder of 51-year-old Judith Gold in Hampstead in October 1990.[38] She had died yards from her home after being hit several times in the face by an unidentified weapon.[39] Police believed Bellfield could have been responsible for this alongside around 20 other unsolved attacks on women in London.[40]

Police were informed in early 2015 that Bellfield, in his cell at HM Prison Wakefield, had admitted to unsolved rape and murder cases.[41] The Metropolitan Police co-ordinated the subsequent investigations of ten police forces. On 9 November 2016, they issued a statement which said: "All lines of inquiry have now been exhausted and the decision has been taken to close this investigation as there is no evidence to link the individual to any case for which he has not already been convicted."[42] It was later revealed by police that Bellfield may have lied about other murders so he could inflict pain on their families.[43]

Regarding the 1996 murders of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan, BBC Cymru Wales reported that Bellfield had allegedly confessed to the murders to a fellow prisoner, giving details that "would only be known by the killer". Bellfield denied the confession. A 2017 BBC Two programme, The Chillenden Murders, in which a team of independent experts re-examined the evidence, supported the idea Bellfield should be investigated for the killings. The legal team of Michael Stone, convicted of the crimes, maintains Bellfield is the true perpetrator of the attack.[44] In December 2017, The Sunday Times reported that Bellfield's ex-wife had told investigators in the Delagrange case that he was with her on the day for her 25th birthday, the time of the Russell murders, and had spent all day in Twickenham and Windsor, 100 miles away from the scene of the murders which occurred at around 4.30pm. It was an alibi which detectives found credible.[45]

Personal life[edit]

Bellfield has fathered eleven children with three women, the three youngest with his most recent girlfriend, Emma Mills.[9][46]

In popular media[edit]

The investigation that led to Bellfield's arrest was dramatised by ITV in a three-part television series that premiered in early 2019; Manhunt was adapted from the memoir of Colin Sutton, with actor Martin Clunes playing Sutton.[47]

The third episode of the eight-part series Making a Monster commissioned by the Crime & Investigation channel focuses on Levi Bellfield's character and motivations.[48]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Milly Dowler torment revealed by family". BBC News. BBC. 10 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Levi Bellfield finally admits killing Milly Dowler". ITV News. ITV. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  3. ^ Barron, Alexander (26 May 2011). "Levi Bellfield - a timeline". Digital Journal. Abingdon, England: Taylor & Francis. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Levi Bellfield". Crime+Investigation UK.
  5. ^ a b "Stalker guilty of student murders". BBC News. 25 February 2008.
  6. ^ a b "Levi Bellfield guilty of Milly Dowler murder". BBC News. 23 June 2011.
  7. ^ Barrett, David (28 January 2016). "Levi Bellfield admits killing Milly Dowler for the first time". The Daily Telegraph. London, England. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  8. ^ Lavender, Jane (17 February 2020). "Terrifying childhood trigger that set Levi Bellfield on path to becoming killer". mirror. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d Bird, Steve (25 February 2008). "Levi Bellfield: timeline of a killer". The Times. London.
  10. ^ a b c d e Bird, Steve (25 February 2008). "Profile: Levi Bellfield, psychopath who preyed on young women". The Sunday Times. London.
  11. ^ Twomey, John (26 February 2008). "He loathed women...especially blondes". The Daily Express. London, England: Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  12. ^ Davies, Caroline (24 June 2011). "Levi Bellfield: obsessed with schoolgirls and sexual violence". The Guardian. London, England. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  13. ^ Edwards, Richard (30 March 2010). "Milly Dowler murder: parents to learn if Levi Bellfield will face trial". The Daily Telegraph. London, England. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  14. ^ Edwards, Richard (26 February 2008). "Levi Bellfield: A violent control freak". The Daily Telegraph. London, England. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  15. ^ Ando, Ben (15 January 2008). "Levi Bellfield takes the stand". BBC News. London, England: BBC. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  16. ^ Bird, Steve; O'Neill, Susan (26 February 2008). "Violent woman-hater Levi Bellfield is main Milly Dowler murder suspect". The Times. London, England. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Bell, Sarah (25 February 2008). "Bellfield 'is controlling and evil'". BBC News. London, England: BBC. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  18. ^ Bird, Steve (30 March 2010). "Levi Bellfield to be charged with Milly Dowler murder". The Times. London, England. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  19. ^ "Student's death 'was murder'". BBC News. London, England: BBC. 6 February 2003. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  20. ^ Baron, Alexander (26 May 2011). "Levi Bellfield—a timeline". Digital Journal. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Hit-and-run student phoned mother". BBC News. 4 June 2004. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  22. ^ "Taken: The Milly Dowler Story" (TV Documentary). Crimewatch.
  23. ^ Murder police probe Marsha 'link' 20 August 2004
  24. ^ "Bellfield given 'whole life' term". BBC News. 26 February 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  25. ^ Bird, Steve (4 August 2009). "Levi Bellfield to be charged with Milly Dowler murder". The Times. London. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  26. ^ "Levi Bellfield trial delays Milly Dowler inquest". London Evening Standard. London. 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  27. ^ "Levi Bellfield guilty of Milly Dowler murder". BBC News. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  28. ^ "Levi Bellfield trial jury discharged". BBC News. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  29. ^ Joshua Rozenberg (27 June 2011). "The Dowler family's ordeal is no case for silent witnesses". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  30. ^ Roy Greenslade (24 June 2011). "Were the media wrong to report on serial murderer Bellfield?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  31. ^ "Levi Bellfield admits Milly Dowler murder". BBC News. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  32. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (12 February 2016). "Levi Bellfield denies confessing to Milly Dowler's murder". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  33. ^ Herald Staff (25 February 2008). "He murdered two... how many more did Bellfield target?". The Herald. Scotland. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  34. ^ Darbyshire, Robyn (9 May 2019). "Murder of Hounslow girl remains a mystery almost 40 years on". MyLondon.
  35. ^ Davies, Caroline (24 June 2011). "Levi Bellfield: obsessed with schoolgirls and sexual violence". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  36. ^ "Brutal murder of Hounslow girl Patsy Morris remains a mystery almost 40 years on". MyLondon. 9 May 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  37. ^ "Milly calls uncover 97 new leads". BBC News. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  38. ^ Banks, Emily (28 January 2016). "Did Milly Dowler's killer Levi Bellfield murder Hampstead mother?". Ham&High. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  39. ^ "Did Milly Dowler's killer Levi Bellfield murder Hampstead mother?". Ham&High. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  40. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (9 November 2016). "No evidence to link Levi Bellfield to fresh crimes, says Met police". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  41. ^ "Levi Bellfield: 'No link' to other crimes found by inquiry". BBC News. 9 November 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  42. ^ Pettifor, Tom (10 November 2016). "Serial killer Levi Bellfield may have lied about other murders to hurt victims' families". The Mirror. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  43. ^ "Levi Bellfield allegedly confessed to Russell murders". BBC News. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  44. ^ Collins, David (3 December 2017). "Detective rejects Levi Bellfield 'confession' to Russell murders". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 3 December 2017. (subscription required)
  45. ^ Sarfraz Manzoor (30 January 2009). "The murderer in our midst". The Guardian. London.
  46. ^ Mangan, Lucy (6 January 2019). "Manhunt review – a sober, responsible drama about the murder of three young females by Levi Bellfield". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  47. ^ "Making a Monster". Crime+ Investigation. Retrieved 24 October 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Wansell, Geoffrey (2011). The Bus Stop Killer: Milly Dowler, Her Murder and the Full Story of the Sadistic Serial Killer Levi Bellfield. London: Penguin. ISBN 9780241952818.