Milly Dowler 'murder scene' steam-cleaned

A flat where schoolgirl Milly Dowler is alleged to have been killed was repainted and steam-cleaned before police became suspicious, the Old Bailey heard today.

Levi Bellfield and his partner Emma Mills moved out within days of Milly, 13, disappearing in March 2002.

They had not been due to move out for two months under a tenancy agreement.

And by the time police investigated the ground floor, two-bed apartment in Collingwood Place, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, there had been two further tenants.

Letting agent Carmen Lippold told the court Miss Mills and her two children by Bellfield were living in the flat after a separation.

But neighbours later complained about an extra car blocking their garages and parking spaces.

She assumed Bellfield was living with them because she received a complaint about a dog being kept in the flat.

After being unable to contact Miss Mills, the flat was entered on May 28, 2002.

Miss Lippold said: "It was very dirty. The carpets were filthy. She had also left toys and quite a lot of furniture. It was obvious no one had been living there for some time."

Landlord Stephen Cooper said he had spent more than £900 to have the mouldy walls and ceilings repainted and the carpets steam cleaned.

Bellfield, 43, denies abducting and murdering Milly and attempting to kidnap Rachel Cowles, aged 11, in March 2002.

Milly disappeared "in the blink of an eye" after leaving Walton-on-Thames station, Surrey, and beginning her walk home along Station Avenue.

The prosecution says Bellfield was living yards away and murdered Milly in his flat before dumping the body.

Her remains were found six months later in woods 25 miles away.

The former wheelclamper and bouncer was convicted in 2008 of murdering Marsha McDonnell, 19, Amelie Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Kate Sheedy, 18.

The trial was adjourned to tomorrow.