Family of murdered schoolgirl tell of 'torment' after killer's confession
The family of murdered English schoolgirl Milly Dowler have spoken out over their "torment and pain" after her killer Levi Bellfield finally gave harrowing details of his crimes.
In a statement they said they hoped the 13-year-old's "soul, at long last, can finally rest in peace" now that the serial killer has given his account.
Bellfield would only speak to female officers from Surrey Police when he decided to confess and gave them disturbing details of how he repeatedly raped, tortured and murdered Milly.
He was given a whole-life prison sentence in June 2011 for the brutal slaughter of the teenager, but had never admitted killing her until an investigation was launched in to whether he had an accomplice after he bragged to a fellow prison inmate about his crime.
Last month Surrey Police said they had arrested a man in his 40s, but the suspect was released without charge after just 10 hours because there was no evidence.
In their statement today the Dowler family said: "We feel we need to say something in addition to the information that has already been made public, as we do not think what has been revealed reflects the true heinousness of this man.
"In May 2015 - nearly nine months ago - we were informed that Bellfield had requested to speak to Surrey Police about Milly. Bellfield made it clear to police that he would only speak to female police officers. Bellfield provided the officers with a harrowing account of Milly's final 14 hours. Giving details of her abduction, repeated rape, torture and then finally how he murdered her.
"The reason we were told this information last May was because previously Bellfield had shared the information with other prison inmates and one of them was due to be released. This meant there was a risk that this information could be made public without us knowing about it."
He told the officers that he had snatched the schoolgirl, assaulted her at his flat near Walton station, and then driven her to his mother's house where he raped her. The horrifying attack continued at another location for a number of hours before he strangled her.
The statement continued: "A few days after hearing this harrowing information from Surrey Police, they revealed to us that they were also investigating an alleged accomplice involved in the abduction and rape of Milly.
"Hearing Bellfield's account of how Milly spent her final hours before being murdered was shocking enough, but the news that there could have been another individual involved was devastating.There are no words to describe the additional torment and pain we have been going through since we were told this information.
"We had to remain silent for eight months whilst the police conducted their investigation. Finally, when they made the arrest of the suspected accomplice, the person was questioned and released without charge in less than 10 hours as there was no evidence found.
"The pressure this has put us under as a family has been unimaginable and has taken its toll on all of us. We have had to fight every step of the way to get this far. In desperation last November we wrote to the Home Secretary to tell her of our concerns, and she met with us immediately.
"Now we know the final hours of Milly's life, perhaps her soul, at long last, can finally rest in peace. The general public have always played a huge part in supporting us, for which we are eternally grateful and thankful. We believe that they should know what Bellfield did to our beautiful daughter and sister Milly."
Milly was snatched from the street while on her way from school to her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002. Bellfield was found guilty of abducting and killing her following a trial at the Old Bailey.
He was already in jail for the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, when he went on trial accused of killing Milly.
In 2008 he had been given a whole-life term for murdering Ms McDonnell, 19, in 2003, and murdering Ms Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Ms Sheedy, 18, in 2004.
Milly's body was found in a wood in Yateley Heath, Hampshire - 25 miles from Walton-on-Thames. Experts could not say how she died.
Bellfield, who now calls himself Yusuf Rahim, lived 50 yards from where Milly vanished but did not become a suspect until he was arrested by police in London for the other offences in 2004.
Police are now looking into a number of other crimes in the wake of his shock confession. Bellfield is already suspected of several other attacks.
At the time of his conviction in June 2011, detectives said they believed Bellfield may have been responsible for around 20 attacks on women which were never solved.
These included the killing of Judith Gold, who was hit over the head in Hampstead, north London, in 1990, and Bellfield's schoolfriend Patsy Morris, 14, who was strangled on Hounslow Heath, west London, in 1980.
Anna Maria Rennie identified Bellfield as the man who tried to force her in to a car in Whitton, west of London, when she was just 17 in October 2001. But the jury at Bellfield's 2008 trial for the murders of two other women could not agree and the charge was left on file.
Attempts for a retrial for attempted kidnap failed when Miss Rennie refused to attend court.