Milly Dowler 'tried to cut her wrists'

Murdered Milly Dowler made a half-hearted attempt to cut her wrists after being called names when she started her secondary school, the Old Bailey heard today.

The youngster later told her best friend Hannah McDonald that she used a dinner knife and had not even broken the skin.

Miss McDonald said Milly made friends with her and others the following year when they went on a school trip to Germany.

It was then that Milly told her that she had suffered minor bullying at Heathside School, in Weybridge, Surrey.

Miss McDonald said: "She did mention that prior to going on the trip she had a fall-out with girls in her form. Then I met Milly and we became friends."

Milly was sensitive about her nostrils and had been upset by being called Big Nose and other names.

Miss McDonald added: "I think it was fairly trivial. At the time of our friendship, she was not depressed but she was depressed during the bullying in year 7."

Milly was "just a normal 13-year-old" when she disappeared.

"She was a joker. She would always make you smile. She had funny voices she used."

Miss McDonald, who shared several lessons with Milly, said her friend had been really looking forward to a school gig, where she was due to see a boy she liked at the end of the week.

Levi 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.

George Reid, who described himself as "good friends" with Milly, said she would talk to him if she was upset at school.

He said: "I never suspected at all that she had any inclination to run away from home. I hope I would know her well enough to detect any change in her if she was thinking about this."

Milly had told him about a "really nice family holiday" over Christmas when she had gone swimming with dolphins, he said in a statement.

Cheryl Fryer, who used to go to Brownies with the schoolgirl, said Milly - whose given name was Amanda - was "friendly, chatty and witty".

She added, in her statement: "I do not believe that Amanda would go anywhere with a stranger because she is too sensible."

Elize Lomas, who described herself as a "school chum", said Milly was "her usual, bubbly self" in a drama class on the morning of her disappearance.

Later in the day they talked about Pop Idol star Gareth Gates, she added, before hugging and saying goodbye, she said in her statement

"She said goodbye and that she would see me tomorrow. I didn't see Amanda again."

The trial was adjourned to tomorrow.