Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Milly, 13, 'Snatched by Serial Killer as She Walked Home'; Milly Was Gone 'In the Blink of an Eye'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Milly, 13, 'Snatched by Serial Killer as She Walked Home'; Milly Was Gone 'In the Blink of an Eye'

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Cheston Courts Correspondent

SCHOOLGIRL Milly Dowler was snatched from the street in "the blink of an eye" by a serial killer, the Old Bailey heard today.

The 13-year-old disappeared nine years ago as she walked home in Walton-on-Thames.

After a nationwide police hunt her naked body was found six months later in woods 25 miles away.

Her killer was Levi Bellfield, the court heard.

He was later convicted of murdering two women and attempting to murder a third in the two years after Milly vanished.

His victims were students Marsha McDonnell, 19, Amelie Delagrange, 22, and former convent school head girl Kate Sheedy, 18, who survived.

The day before he kidnapped and killed Milly, Bellfield also tried to abduct another girl three miles away, the jury was told. Rachel Cowles, 11, was approached in Shepperton by a man who tried to trick her into getting into his car until he was "spooked" by a nearby police car.

Bellfield, 42, a former wheel clamper and club bouncer of West Drayton, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murdering Milly and the attempted abduction of Rachel.

Opening the prosecution's case, Brian Altman QC told the jury that Bellfield had a flat just yards from where Milly disappeared. He lived in Collingwood Place, Walton-on-Thames, with his partner Emma Mills, their two children and a Staffordshire bull terrier.

But at that time in March 2002 Ms Mills and the children were away, house-sitting for a friend in West Drayton.

Milly was on her way home in her school uniform when she made the fateful decision to get off her train at Walton-on-Thames, one stop earlier than normal, and sit and chat with friends over some chips.

She normally travelled from school in Weybridge to Hersham station.

"But on this day an entirely innocent and quite ordinary diversion to a station cafe to buy some chips with some school friends was a decision that was to cost Milly her life," said Mr Altman.

It meant her taking a fateful journey along Station Avenue where, unbeknown to her, her abductor and killer was soon to strike. …

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