Man questioned in Milly Dowler murder case

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The Independent Online

Police investigating the death of Milly Dowler, the schoolgirl who was abducted and murdered on her way home from school seven years ago, today questioned a 40-year-old man as part of the investigation into her death.

The suspect, from west London, was arrested by Surrey Police over the disposal of a red Daewoo Nexia car. Detectives believe that Levi Bellfield, the prime suspect in the unsolved murder, used the car to transport Milly’s body from Walton-on-Thames in March 2002.

Police sources suggested that the man was not believed to have been involved in Milly’s death but detectives want to question him about the fate of the car which is central to the murder inquiry. He was later released without charge. The investigation is ongoing, despite a £50,000 reward on offer. A Surrey Police spokeswoman said yesterday: “A 40-year-old man from West London was arrested by Surrey Police at 10am this morning after voluntarily attending a police station.” She said the man was questioned about the potential disposal of a red Daewoo Nexia car, which police had appealed for information about as part of their investigation.

Amanda “Milly” Dowler’s death remains one of Britain’s most notorious unsolved murders. She vanished while walking home on 21 March, 2002. Six months later, mushroom pickers found her body 30 miles away, in Yateley Heath, Hampshire.

Officers have been building a case against Bellfield since the Metropolitan Police arrested him in November 2004 over other matters.

Bellfield, 41, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering students Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of schoolgirl Kate Sheedy, 18. All were attacked near bus stops in south-west London.

The former nightclub bouncer and wheel-clamper was arrested and interviewed over Milly’s death four years ago. Officers believe they have compelling circumstantial evidence which links him to the crime and plan to interview him again.

They want to trace the red Daewoo, then owned by Bellfield’s girlfriend at the time, Emma Mills, because it may contain forensic evidence linking him to the murder. The car was captured on CCTV in Walton-on-Thames minutes after Milly disappeared and Bellfield has since admitted driving it.

The vehicle was reported stolen from a pub car park in Hounslow several days later and has not been seen since. Police searched 35 miles of waterways for the car and 40 other water sites, including reservoirs and lakes in Surrey and nearby counties.

Detectives believe it is likely that one of Bellfield’s contacts in the motor trade arranged for the car to be crushed by a scrap dealer.

Bellfield admitted driving the car in an interview with a Daily Mirror reporter. His mother, Jean Bellfield, complained to the Press Complaints Commission, saying that the reporter misled her son by telling him it would help his case to admit being in the car.

But yesterday the PCC rejected the claim and said it was acceptable for reporters to use subterfuge in matters of public interest that could not be examined by other means.