Milly Dowler 'killer' tried to snatch me, witness tells

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The Independent Online

A student told a court yesterday how she came close to being abducted by the man charged with the murder of the schoolgirl Milly Dowler, just one day before Milly disappeared.

Rachel Cowles was 11 when she was walking home from school in March 2002 and a red car pulled up alongside her. The prosecution at the Old Bailey alleges that the man driving the car, 42-year-old Levi Bellfield, drove off when he saw a police car coming towards him, and went on to murder Milly Dowler, 13, the next day.

Miss Cowles, now 21, recalled that she went home after the incident in Upper Halliford Road, Shepperton, Surrey, and her mother rang the police. "I felt scared as I suddenly realised the enormity of what had just happened," she said.

Miss Cowles told the court how Bellfield had offered her a lift as she was walking home on her own.

"I remember him saying 'Hello. I have just moved in next door. Would you like a lift home?'

"I said 'No thank you. It's all right'." A police car was driving in the opposite direction and the car drove off.

Police did not take a statement from her until three years later when her mother wrote to the chief constable after watching a police appeal in 2005 on GMTV for a red car, and suggesting possible links with Milly's murder.