Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield was in grooming gang with six members still at large, council report claims

Previously unreported links revealed between Bellfield and group of paedophiles accused of grooming at least 17 vulnerable girls under age of 16 

Maya Oppenheim
Sunday 30 December 2018 17:12 GMT
Bellfield has converted to Islam and now calls himself Yusuf Rahim
Bellfield has converted to Islam and now calls himself Yusuf Rahim

Serial killer Levi Bellfield was part of a child sex gang that has not been brought to justice, according to a council report.

The report, by Hillingdon Council in west London, looks at previously unreported links between Bellfield, whose victims include schoolgirl Milly Dowler, and a group of paedophiles accused of grooming at least 17 vulnerable girls under the age of 16 for sex.

The document, obtained by The Sunday Times, is by a senior social worker who specialised in child sexual exploitation and it has been handed to the Metropolitan Police.

Bellfield, who has been convicted of three murders and linked to many other violent crimes, is one of seven men named by Debbie Weissang in the report.

Ms Weissang, who was then child sexual exploitation manager at Hillingdon Council, told the publication that although the 50-year-old killer was “locked away” and would never be released, “there are six other men in my report who are not serving full-life tariffs in prison and in my opinion pose a serious threat to children”.

She added: “I am deeply concerned there remains a risk to children both in the community and online from Bellfield’s associates.”

Bellfield, who has converted to Islam and now calls himself Yusuf Rahim, was imprisoned in 2011 after being found guilty of abducting and killing 13-year-old Dowler after a trial at the Old Bailey.

The former owner of a west London wheel-clamping business was already in jail for the murders of Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, 18. He was given three life sentences in 2008 for the murders.

Police at the time said Bellfield was a suspect in the Dowler case, but it took three more years before the case was brought to trial and he was handed his fourth life sentence.

Three witness statements obtained by Operation Yeaddiss, the Delagrange inquiry, had referred to footage which it said showed Bellfield and other men having sex with a 14-year-old girl, according to The Sunday Times.

She was wearing a school uniform that was said to belong to the daughter of a middle-aged Asian man who was also alleged to be taking part.

While the videotape was never found, some of the girls interviewed by police referred to the men as their “dad ring”.

Colin Sutton, the former detective chief inspector who led Operation Yeaddiss, said: “Bellfield was a serial sex predator when it came to young girls and we had evidence that linked him to a number of convicted paedophiles.”

He said he had little doubt the incriminating video of Bellfield existed, “but where it is now, I have no idea”.

“There is new information in [the report] that my investigation was not aware of. I think the police and council should be taking it very seriously indeed,” he said.

Ms Weissang said: “The men of interest have conditioned themselves to believe they have done nothing wrong and are untouchable.”

The social worker called for both the council and the police “to carry out a full review of the findings because [the report] shows evidence of a child sex ring and its members have not been brought to justice”.

The Metropolitan Police said a safeguarding report was received from Hillingdon Council and any allegations of child sexual exploitation contained in the report will be assessed and be “investigated where appropriate”.

A spokesperson for Hillingdon Council said: “Following completion of the report the information was carefully reviewed by Hillingdon Council’s head of safeguarding in partnership with the Metropolitan Police to ensure a timely and proportionate response.

“A dedicated police resource was also assigned to review the information. Hillingdon Council’s children’s social care team conducted numerous safeguarding checks including liaison with all relevant agencies.”

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