Murdered French student loved England

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The Independent Online

French student Amelie Delagrange, 22, loved England but she met a violent end on a suburban cricket pitch after refusing a killer's advances.

Bus stop stalker Levi Bellfield struck her down as she crossed Twickenham Green, west London, at night after getting off at the wrong bus stop in August 2004.

Bellfield was cruising around in a white van trying to pick up women who took his fancy.

Miss Delagrange fitted the bill - young, blonde, attractive and alone. "She was looking lost and was a bit tipsy," said prosecutor Brian Altman.

"She was walking along alone and she had made herself a vulnerable target to a predatory male looking for someone just like her."

Miss Delagrange had been to see friends and caught the bus home. But before she knew it, she had passed her stop and ended up at Fulwell garage.

Bellfield saw her looking anxiously at the timetable on the last bus stop.

He followed her in the van as she decided to walk back to Twickenham Green instead.

He overtook her and waited but she did not want to talk to him or get in his van.

And as she crossed the dark green, he went after her with a hammer shortly after 10pm.

Mr Altman challenged him in court: "You tried it on but she would not engage you and in an outburst of sudden temper, you lashed out and hit her from behind.

"It was not enough to hit her once, you struck her again and possibly a third time.

"Amelie rejected you and paid the price for that rejection."

Bellfield replied coolly: "I have never met Miss Delagrange in my life."

Pc George Roberts was flagged down in his patrol car by an Indian restaurant employee after Miss Delagrange was found.

"I remember immediately seeing that she was in a very bad condition. There was a large pool of blood surrounding her head," he said.

"She didn't appear conscious and I knew that she was breathing because it was almost like she was snoring."

He went with Miss Delagrange to West Middlesex Hospital in an ambulance and was with her when she was declared dead shortly after midnight.

Miss Delagrange's handbag was missing along with two mobile phones. Her CD player and purse were later recovered in the River Thames at Walton Bridge.

Miss Delagrange's parents, Jean-Francois and Dominique Delagrange, travelled from their home in Amiens, France, to hear details of their daughter's murder.

Mrs Delagrange wept as she heard a pathologist describe the head injuries which caused her daughter's death.

Miss Delagrange was passionate about English and had arrived in Britain in April 2004 to further her studies.

The court heard she had a close circle of both French and English friends and she was happy.