How reporting left possible victim 'robbed of justice'
The Cowles case
Saturday 25 June 2011
While Milly Dowler's family were at least able to watch in court as a judge handed down a life sentence to their daughter's killer, one woman who allegedly almost became Levi Bellfield's fourth victim will never see justice.
Rachel Cowles was walking home from school on 20 March 2002 when a man fitting Bellfield's description stopped his car and asked if she wanted a lift home.
She declined and, according to prosecutors, only managed to escape being abducted because a police car scared Bellfield away. Milly Dowler was murdered by Bellfield the following day.
As well as charging Bellfield for the murder of Milly Dowles, the Crown Prosecution Service tried to bring an attempted abduction case against the former nightclub bouncer and wheel clamper.
But yesterday, Mr Justice Wilkie discharged the jury after an "avalanche" of publicity in the tabloid press following Bellfield's conviction of murder the day before.
Speaking outside court yesterday, Miss Cowles, now 21, described how she felt "robbed".
"I am extremely hurt and angry that some of the media reporting has meant that this case has now robbed me of the chance of justice for what happened to me in 2002," she said.
"Giving evidence in court has brought back many memories, and I hope that now I can put this ordeal behind me and move on with my life. I am pleased that justice has been served for the Dowlers today and that the verdict will start to bring some closure to them."
The jury heard that Miss Cowles did not originally give police any description of the driver in 2002. Then on 17 March 2005, her mother rang police after watching a TV appeal about Milly's case.
Speaking during the trial, Miss Cowels described how she had burst into tears when she called a police officer and "realised the enormity of what just happened".
Bellfield's defence lawyer asked her if she had been influenced by media coverage of the murder of Amélie Delagrange in 2004. The court was also told that Miss Cowles failed to pick Bellfield out of a later identity parade.
arts + entsThere were towering ideas, some scintillating performances and revelatory grooves... our writers pick out their personal highlights
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
peoplePrepare to be entranced by worms as the molecular biologist gets ready to give the Royal Institution science lectures
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
voicesPeople moan that Christmas is too commercial, the spirit lost. But it is a time to over-indulge, and always has been, says DJ Taylor
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
food + drinkA trifle without custard? Surely not! Nonsense – and here’s three to finish your festive meal that prove it
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
Scientists ‘incredibly concerned’ for fate of banana as plagues and fungus infections spread across world’s supplies
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >