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Levi Bellfield

Crime Files
Levi Bellfield

'You feed them and keep them - you can do what you want to them.'

Levi Bellfield on how he treats women, The Telegraph, February 2008.

Levi Bellfield is born in Isleworth, Middlesex on 17 May 1968. His parents are Joseph and Jean Rabbetts (later Bellfield). But by the time Bellfield is 10 years old his father dies of a heart attack. Jean, a formidable mother who dotes on her youngest son Levi, is left to raise her family of four children in a South West London council flat.

His life of crime begins as a teenager. Aged 13 he’s convicted of burglary. By 2002, aged 34, he’s amassed nine convictions, ranging from assault of a police officer to theft and driving offences.

Always short at school, it’s during his teenage years that Bellfield reaches the respectable height of 6ft tall. Despite his rather high pitched voice and caveman habits he believes he has an allure with the ladies. As a result he enjoys a string of relationships, and has dozens of lovers. In total, he fathers 11 children with five different women.

Despite being married four times he spends his spare time looking for women and sex, and his job as a nightclub bouncer provides the perfect opportunity. He has a separate flat where he takes prostitutes and young women he’s plied with drink and drugs, which fuel his voracious sexual appetite. Bellfield has a huge ego and believes he’s god’s gift to everyone.

However, when women fail to fall under his spell, his charming side quickly disappears, replaced by an evil rage. Underneath Bellfield is a brutal and controlling womaniser. A number of ex-girlfriends all describe a similar pattern of behaviour. He’s lovely and charming when they first meet him, but within weeks he stops them from seeing their friends and relatives.

Eventually they need his permission to go out and he rings constantly, checking up on them.

Bellfield views women as objects to be chatted up, abused and then dumped. He particularly loathes blonde women with large breasts and admits to an ex-girlfriend that he hangs around alleyways wanting to hurt, stab or rape women.


15 October 2001:  Levi Bellfield attempts to abduct Anna-Maria Rennie. He fails.

20 March 2002:  Rachel Cowles is stopped by a man thought to be Levi Bellfield and offered a lift in a red car.

21 March 2002:  Milly Dowler disappears after getting off the train at Walton-on-Thames, close to Levi Bellfield’s home.

18 September 2002:  Milly Dowler’s remains are found on Yateley Heath Wood in Hampshire.

4 February 2003:  Marsha McDonnell is murdered by Levi Bellfield in Hampton, Surrey.

28 May 2004:  Levi Bellfield attempts to murder Kate Sheedy by running her over in Isleworth. She survives.

19 August 2004:  Amelie Delagrange is murdered by Levi Bellfield as she crosses Twickenham Green.

25 February 2008:  Levi Bellfield receives a life sentence for the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.

23 June 2011:  Levi Bellfield receives another life sentence for the murder of Milly Dowler

27 January 2016:  Surrey Police reveal that Bellfield has admitted to the crime for the first time

The Aftermath


The Dowler Family

After the trial the Dowler family reach the conclusion that they paid too high a price for Bellfield’s conviction. Bob Dowler feels that the justice system weighed too heavily in favour of the criminal. The Director of Public Prosecutions says the trial had certainly raised ‘fundamental questions’ about the treatment of victims.

Much worse is to come for the Dowler family when on 4 June 2011 it’s revealed that News of the World’s Glenn Mulcaire hacked into Milly’s mobile phone while she was still missing, and may have deleted voicemail messages. At the time this had resulted in giving the family false hope that she was alive.

The family’s mobile phones were also hacked, which Surrey Police had been aware of since 2002. News International is reportedly forced to pay damages of around £3million to the family, with some of the money going to charities.

New revelations

On January 27th 2016, Surrey Police revealed that Bellfield has admitted to the crime for the first time. Milly's family said the news was "devastating for a family which has already had to endure so much".

From the new information obtained from Bellfield - who now calls himself Yusuf Rahim - about a possible accomplice, Surrey Police arrested a man in his 40s. He was then released without charge, as the police said there was no evidence to support the claim.

Milly Dowler
Image Credit: Collect/Handout / Alamy Stock Photo | Above: A Surrey Police Handout Photograph of murdered Surrey school girl Amanda Jane "Milly" Dowler.

The Trials

"You have reduced three families to unimagined grief.”

Mrs Justice Rafferty, BBC News Online, February 2008

Trial in connection with the murder of Amelie Delagrange

Levi Bellfield’s trial begins at The Old Bailey, London on Friday 12 October 2007 for the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange, the attempted murder of Irma Dragoshi & Kate Sheedy, and the attempted kidnap of Anna-Maria Rennie. He denies all counts.

Brian Altman prosecuting states that "these women were targeted victims of a predatory man who stalked bus stops and bus routes in vehicles looking for young women to attack." He calls on witness Sunil Gharu who was an associate of Bellfield. He had been in the car with Bellfield when he announced “watch this” and then proceeded to attack Irma Dragoshi. Despite this testimony Bellfield tries instead to frame Gharu for the attack.

The jury discover that six days after the murder of Amelie Delagrange, Bellfield breaks down in his bedroom, having taken an overdose of anti-depressants. He’s found by a friend. And it’s here that Bellfield announces “You don’t know what I have done”. He’s admitted to a mental hospital where he tells staff he’s feeling low and suicidal. However, he discharges himself the next day.

During the trial Bellfield repeatedly denies being present at the attacks. He claims his work as a wheel clamper gives him access to a variety of cars that other people within his team can also use. Brian Altman suggests to the jury that Bellfield is massaging evidence and providing fictitious accounts. Bellfield appeals to the jury that he’s the victim of mistaken identity.

Despite this on 25 February 2008, the jury find him guilty of the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy. Bellfield shows his true cowardly colours when he chooses not to attend his sentencing. Bad publicity overnight is blamed for his non-appearance. He’s sentenced by Mrs Justice Rafferty to a whole life term.

Trial in connection with the murder of Milly Dowler

On 10 May 2011 the trial begins of the murder of Milly Dowler and the attempted abduction of Rachel Cowles, at the Old Bailey.

It emerges at the trial that Bellfield’s family weren’t at home on the day of Milly’s disappearance. And Emma Mills remembers that she was unable to get hold of Bellfield on his mobile phone which was highly unusual.

She also recalls how he was wearing different clothes to the ones he had on in the morning. Despite saying that he was spending the night at the Collingwood address, when Mills went there the next day the bed had no sheets, duvet or pillow cases on. Bellfield tells her that the dog had fouled on the bedding, so he’d disposed of it. Emma knows this is something he would never do. He then mentions that he wants her to move back to West Drayton. She agrees and the next day, in great haste, he moves his family out of the Collingwood address, one day after the disappearance of Milly Dowler.

It’s also discovered in court that the red Daewoo Nexia that Bellfield had use of was seen leaving the area within 22 minutes of Milly’s disappearance. Sadly Milly’s remains found on Yateley Heath are so decomposed that it’s impossible to establish the cause of death.

In a cruel twist Bellfield tells Mr Justice Wilkie that he will not be giving evidence in his defence. It’s his attempt to put Bob and Sally Dowler on trial. Bellfield’s defence team drag up all the dirt they can find involving Bob Dowler and they reveal that he was even a suspect at one point. They also disclose a note written by Milly and go out of their way to prove she was an unhappy teenager who wanted to run away from her family. These accusations are deeply distressing to the family, and it’s left to the prosecution team to remind the jury that it’s not the Dowlers who are on trial.On the 23 June 2011 Bellfield is found guilty and sentenced to another whole life sentence.

The Arrests

CCTV holds the key

"He's a cunning individual, violent. He can switch from being nice to being nasty, instantly."

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton, BBC News Online, February 2008

First arrest in connection with the murder of Amelie Delagrange

With growing fears that a serial killer is on the loose, the police are eager for the murder of Bellfield’s final victim Amelie Delagrange to be solved. But they have absolutely nothing to go on. Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton leading the investigation decides that clues might be found on CCTV cameras within the vicinity. They track down over 2,000 hours of footage and painstakingly view everything, not knowing exactly what they are looking for.

Eventually a white Ford Courier van comes to light. It arrives at Twickenham Green just before Amelie is murdered, and waits for eight minutes before speeding off. The police need to talk to the owner, but they have 26,000 vans to eliminate first. Even help from the DVLA can’t help them and the trail for the killer goes cold.

But a mobile police unit stationed at Twickenham Green has been taking statements from various people in the area. One officer remembers a woman coming in saying that her ex-boyfriend, Levi Bellfield, is a potential suspect. His name is added to the 129 names on the ‘Ex-girlfriends list’. Detectives decide to cross reference this list to see if any own a white van. Bellfield’s name fits the brief. Armed with this information it doesn’t take long to match him to the murder of Marsha McDonnell and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy. In all three cases Bellfield owned cars that could be placed at each scene.

Bellfield is their prime suspect and in March 2006 he’s arrested at his house in West Drayton, London.

Second arrest in connection with the Milly Dowler murderIt’s only after Bellfield is convicted of the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell that police start to realise that he may also have murdered Milly Dowler in 2002.

During the course of the investigation officers carry out 3,500 house-to-house inquiries, take 1,850 statements, search 350 sites and trawl through 35 miles of waterways. They discover that at the time of Milly’s disappearance Bellfield lived with his girlfriend Emma Mills at her own home in Collingwood Place, Walton-on-Thames. It’s less than 100 yards from the train station where Milly had last been seen. CCTV also reveals a red Daewoo Nexia was seen in the vicinity the day that Milly disappeared. It’s no coincidence when it’s discovered that Mills owned a car of the same make and model, although to this day, it’s never been found.

During his questioning in July 2005, Bellfield is unable to account for his whereabouts on 21 March 2002. Police also become aware that Bellfield is familiar with Walton-on-Thames and Yateley Heath, where Milly’s body was found. He owns a wheel-clamping business where he’s a frequent visitor to Blackbushe car auctions nearby.

With this compelling evidence Surrey Police submit their report and findings to the Crown Prosecution Service. They in turn decide there is sufficient evidence to charge Bellfield with Milly’s murder. He will once again face a court-room.

The Crimes

Lucky escape

On 15 October 2001, Anna-Maria Rennie, 17, is waiting at a bus stop on Hospital Bridge Road, Twickenham. The young blonde girl has just had a row with her boyfriend, when Bellfield walks up to her and offers her a lift. She refuses. Enraged he grabs her and attempts an abduction. Fearing for her life she struggles free and escapes just metres from his car.

On 20 March 2002 Rachel Cowles, 11, is walking home from school in Sunbury. Bellfield pulls over and tells her he’s a new neighbour. He offers her a lift, but she refuses. He drives off, spooked by a police car driving in the opposite direction. Rachel realises her lucky escape when she notices that none of her neighbours have a red car fitting the description of the one that Bellfield was driving. Her mother calls the police.

One day later, on 21 March 2002, Amanda Jane (Milly) Dowler, 13, decides she wants some chips and gets off the train one stop early at Walton-on-Thames. Having just called her dad to say she’ll be home in 30 minutes she disappears. It takes six months to find her remains and a further nine years for Bellfield to be found guilty of her murder.

In February 2003 Marsha McDonnell, 19, is heading home to Hampton on the 111 bus after an evening out with friends. After stepping off the bus she doesn’t realise that she’s being followed by Bellfield. She walks along her quiet street and she approaches her front door she is fatally hit over the head with a lump hammer. She dies in hospital the next day.

Later in December 2003 Irma Dragoshi, 36, is waiting at a bus stop in Longford, West Drayton, when Bellfield, showing off to a friend, gets out of the car and attacks her with a blunt instrument. She survives but has no recollection of the incident due to amnesia.

In May 2004 Kate Sheedy, 18, gets off a bus in Isleworth and begins the walk home. She spots a suspicious looking people carrier parked in a side road and attempts to avoid it. As she steps into the road, the car, driven by Bellfield, runs her over. But this is not enough; he then proceeds to reverse over her, leaving Kate with life threatening injuries. She survives.

On 20 August 2004 Amelie Delagrange, 22, a blonde French student, is walking home across Twickenham Green, after missing her bus stop. Following her every move since she left the bus, is Bellfield. He hits her over the head with a blunt instrument and she falls to the ground. Later that night she dies in hospital from her injuries.