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Serial killer Levi Bellfield wins bid to marry behind bars after battle with prison chiefs

New legislation will not be in enforced in time to prevent the twisted killer from marrying his partner

Holly Evans
Friday 16 June 2023 10:18 BST
Levi Bellfield is due to marry his girlfriend after threatening legal action (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Levi Bellfield is due to marry his girlfriend after threatening legal action (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Media)

Serial killer Levi Bellfield will be able to marry his girlfriend behind bars after prison chiefs were forced to concede they could not stop him under existing laws.

Bellfield, 55, is serving two whole-life sentences at HMP Frankland in Durham for murdering three young women, including 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

The infamous murderer is said to have threatened legal action after his application to marry a woman was blocked by the prison governor.

The Sun reported that he had won £30,000 in legal aid and had claimed discrimination after he was banned from wearing an engagement ring.

Alex Chalk KC, the justice secretary, had been advised that his department could do nothing to prevent the marriage, after Bellfield’s lawyers said doing so would breach the European Convention on Human Rights and the 1983 Marriage Act.

Milly Dowler was murdered by Bellfield in 2002 as she travelled home from school (Surrey Police/PA) (PA Media)

Ministers, including former justice secretary Dominic Raab, have vowed to change the law to prevent prisoners serving whole-life terms from being able to marry within prison walls. New legislation launched in March however, will not come in time to prevent Bellfield from marrying his bride.

His engagement was first revealed in May 2022, after The Sun reported that he had proposed during a jail visit. The news sparked outrage, with then-prime minister Boris Johnson saying he was “sickened and appalled”.

Following news that his application to marry would like be successful, Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke said: “This is a disgusting insult to the victims and their families.

“This is a man who took away the human rights of young girls and women, including the right to live their lives and marry.

French student Amelie Delagrange, 22, was visiting the UK when she was murdered by Bellfield on the streets of Twickenham, London (PA)

“Yet he is demanding the right to do so using human rights law.

“The justice secretary needs to move as quickly as possible to get this legislation through and make sure that no other people this evil can exploit this situation again.”

The former bouncer was jailed in 2008 for murdering Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22, as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, 18, in south-west London.

The attacks had taken place in 2003 and 2004, with detectives stating at the time that he was likely to be linked to dozens more of other attacks.

He was found guilty three years later for the murder of schoolgirl Milly who was abducted in Walton-on-Thames in 2002 as she was returning home from school.

Bellfield has “admitted” killing missing student Elizabeth Chau who disappeared in west London in 1999 (PA)

Her disappearance sparked a nationwide search with a £100,000 reward offered for information.

Five months later, her remains were found near Hampshire, with Surrey Police confirming in 2008 that Bellfield was the prime suspect. Bellfield was convicted by an Old Bailey jury and later admitted during an interview in 2016 that he was responsible for her abduction and death.

Last month, he was questioned in prison after allegedly confessing to the murder of 19-year-old student Elizabeth Chau, who vanished in west London in 1999.

It was reported that Bellfield described how he killed her to a prison visitor and showed police a rough area where he had hidden her body.

This latest confession came just a month after he admitted to murdering 45-year-old Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan. The two were found bludgeoned to death in Chillenden, Kent, in July 1996 with Michael Stone currently serving three life sentences for their murders.

Stone has repeatedly protested his innocence and was convicted despite a lack of forensic evidence.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Under current laws there are no legal routes to block this marriage and we recognise the pain and anger this outcome will bring to his victims’ families.

“It is what has driven our plans to stop prisoners on whole-life orders from marrying in prison through our new Victims and Prisoners Bill – ensuring this never happens again.”

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