Bus stop stalker murdered two women

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wheel clamper Levi Bellfield was convicted today of being the bus stop stalker who murdered students Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange.







Bellfield, 39, was also convicted of the attempted murder of schoolgirl Kate Sheedy.



Following the verdicts at the Old Bailey, it can be revealed that Bellfield is the prime suspect for the killing of schoolgirl Milly Dowler.



The jury was unaware that Bellfield is to be interviewed by Surrey detectives investigating the March 2002 disappearance of 13-year-old Milly.



And the Metropolitan police confirmed that Bellfield will be interviewed about other unsolved murders.



Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton said: "Yes, we are looking at other murders which have not been solved."



Milly Dowler vanished on her way home from school after arriving at Walton-on-Thames station in Surrey. Her decomposed body was found in a field six months later.













The jury convicted Bellfield unanimously of the murder of Miss Delagrange.

Majority 10-2 verdicts were reached for Miss McDonnell's murder and the attack on Miss Sheedy.



The jury was unable to reach verdicts in connection with two other attacks, on Anna-Maria Rennie, 17, in Whitton, south west London, in October 2001, and Irma Dragoshi, 33. in December 2003.



Both women were at bus stops when they were attacked.



Bellfield will be sentenced at the Old Bailey tomorrow.



As he faced the prospect of a life sentence, Milly Dowler's parents appealed for help in gathering evidence and police offered a £50,000 reward for capturing her killer.



Bob and Sally Dowler said: "We are pleading for anyone who knows anything to have the courage to speak up.



"Nothing will ever bring Milly back, but even six years on you can still help start easing our pain by letting us know, finally, what happened on our daughter's final days."



It is thought Bellfield may have known Milly as she was in the same primary school class as the daughter of one of his former partners.



This would explain why she may have got into someone's car in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, when she had been warned never to accept lifts from strangers.



Surrey police want to find a red Daewoo Nexia car similar to one that appears in CCTV footage taken from the area shortly after Milly was last seen alive.



The car was bought by Bellfield for his partner and was used by him.



They were living near the station in Collingwood Place, Walton-on-Thames, at the time Milly was killed, according to sources.



Bellfield, a burly 6ft bully, trawled bus stops in suburban streets around London for young women - preferably blondes.



He preyed on teenagers by offering them drink, drugs and sex - and would attack them in a violent rage if they turned him down.



The cunning killer eluded police for many years despite coming to their attention for lesser offences.



But after the shocking death of Miss Delagrange, who was smashed over the head with a hammer in 2004, police were convinced the attacks were the work of one man.



Bellfield sought out blonde women who were young and slim. He could not accept being rejected by them.



Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, told a pre-trial hearing: "He hated women. He hated blonde women."



The attacks were consistent "with someone who has great animosity to women".



He told the jury: "These women were targeted victims of a predatory man who stalked bus stops and bus routes in vehicles looking for young women to attack."



The father of 11 children by five women, Bellfield had a massive ego and a need to control his young partners.



He had been a bouncer who hit upon wheel clamping as an easy way to make money - often lying in wait for motorists in a series of vans and cars with painted-out windows.



It was these vehicles he used to stalk bus stops in the area around Twickenham, west London.



Marsha McDonnell, 19, was on a bus followed by Bellfield's car in February 2003. Bellfield pulled up as she got off at a stop near her home in Hampton. She was found dying from head wounds a few yards away.



Kate Sheedy, 18, had been celebrating her last day as head girl at a convent school when she got off a bus up the road from her home in Isleworth in May 2004.



Bellfield was watching from his vehicle but became enraged when she became suspicious and crossed to the other side of the road.



He turned the vehicle round and drove over her as she was going across a junction - reversing back over her to make sure he was leaving her for dead. She survived horrific injuries to give evidence against him.



Amelie Delagrange, 22, had been out with friends but missed her bus stop as she returned to Twickenham Green in August 2004.



Bellfield spotted her at the bus stop and followed her. He struck her on the head with a hammer two or three times after she refused to talk to him as she crossed the green.



Detectives believe Bellfield was responsible for a number of other unsolved attacks in the area.



He escaped capture for so long because he left no forensic clues and switched his mobile off when cruising around for women.



After attacks, he would move to another area or take his family on "holiday".



He got through around 20 vehicles a year for his business. Some were never registered or were listed in someone else's name.



The vans and cars disappeared after each crime and police have been unable to trace them.



But it was CCTV footage of a battered white Ford Courier van with distinctive markings which helped trace Bellfield.



After a public appeal to trace it, police were given a number for Bellfield.



Detectives linked it up with a call from one of Bellfield's former partners which gave his name and with a complaint he made accusing an Italian neighbour of being in al Qaida.



Outside court, DCI Sutton said: "I am extremely pleased with the verdict today.



"The wicked series of assaults on women and girls ended when Levi Bellfield was arrested in November 2004.



"He is a predator who preyed on women over a period of time. He targeted his victims at random, attacking those much smaller and weaker than him.



"He refused to face what he had done, lied repeatedly to try to save his skin and at all times treated his victims, their families and the authorities with utter contempt.



"I am pleased the jury saw through his lies and deceit and have come to the decision they have, providing justice to his victims and their families."









Speaking after today's verdicts, Andrew Hadik, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the trial was exceptionally complex and distressing.

He added that evidence shown in court was the "tip of the iceberg" of that disclosed to the defence.



He added: "I am greatly relieved by the convictions today. We had to guide the jury through a huge and complex investigation full of distressing detail.



"Deciding what evidence to present in court required careful judgment - the tip of the iceberg compared with the whole package disclosed to the defence.



"The case depended largely on complex circumstantial evidence, which was powerful and compelling but required great care in its presentation.



"The cold-blooded and calculated murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell were part of a series of horrific assaults on young women. Their families have shown great fortitude throughout."