Milly Dowler, Marsha McDonnell, Amélie Delagrange, and Kate Sheedy are the known victims of English serial killer and sex offender Levi Bellfield, also known as Yusuf Rahim.
The first three were brutally murdered but Kate escaped and bravely gave court testimony four years after her attempted murder.
Irma Dragoshi and Anna-Maria Rennie were attacked and their testimony was used in court, but Bellfield was not found guilty of either attack by a jury. Many other sexual assaults and murders may be linked to him.
The former nightclub bouncer was born and raised in south-west London. At the time of the attacks he was the manager of a car clamping business.
By the year 2002 Bellfield had nine convictions, including driving offenses and assaulting a police officer, and had spent almost a year in prison.
People that interviewed him said, “He can switch from being nice to being nasty, instantly.” A former partner said she found a magazine with the faces of blonde models slashed out.
- Arrested late 2004 on suspicion of the murder of Amélie Delagrange on the 20th August 2004. He was also charged with three counts of rape and assaulting a woman in her mid to late nineties. He was found hiding in his girlfriend’s loft, naked, when police arrived.
- This kept him remanded in jail until 2006 when he was rearrested for Amélie’s murder, along with the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy on the 28th May 2004 and the attempted murder and causing of grievous bodily harm to Irma Dragoshi on the 16th December 2003.
- On the 25th May 2006, Bellfield was charged with the murder of Marsha McDonnell.
- He was found guilty of the murders of McDonnell and Delagrange, as well as the attempted murder of Sheedy, on the 25th February 2008. He was given a “whole life” sentence, meaning he will never leave prison. Whole life is a rare term in the UK but had been given to another man, serial killer Steve Wright, just four days before.
- On the 30th March 2010, Bellfield was charged with Dowler’s abduction, rape and murder.
- Bellfield’s second trial began at the Old Bailey on the 10th May 2011.
- On the 23rd June 2011 the jury found Bellfield guilty and he was sentenced to life.
Amélie Delagrange was a 22-year-old French student. She passed her bachelor’s degree and had been living in the UK for around five months. She had moved there hoping to better her English.
After a night out in south-west London, she was discovered near the cricket pitch on Twickenham Green (some sources say by passers-by, others say by police) battered, with blood pouring from her head.
She died in hospital later that night. Her cause of death was severe head injuries.
CCTV footage showed Amélie boarding a 267 bus outside a Wetherspoons pub in Twickenham, just after 9.30pm.
Accidentally missing her stop, she got off the bus at Fulwell Bus Garage and proceeded to walk back in the dark in the opposite direction towards home.
She was last seen alive by passers-by at around 10pm and found around 30 minutes later, unconscious.
After getting off to backtrack, Amélie was spotted by passing van driver Bellfield. After approaching her, she refused to speak to him, which police say sent him into a rage. He hit her over the head several times from behind and dumped her personal items such as her phone and handbag, which were later found, in the River Thames.
The hunt began for her killer, and within 24 hours the police established that she might have been killed by the same person who had killed Marsha McDonnell 18 months earlier.
They looked through hours of CCTV to trace the van that eventually lead to Levi. It later came out in court that his then-girlfriend called him the night of Amélie’s murder, asking him to buy some milk. The call went straight to voicemail, and his phone connected to a mast covering the murder site.
He also told his girlfriend days later “I am in trouble with the police” and threatened to kill himself.
19-year-old Marsha McDonnell was found dead, yards from her front door in Hampton, south-west London, on the 5th February 2003.
She had been out with friends at the cinema and got the bus home around midnight. Within moments of getting off and walking down a residential street she was hit over the back of the head three times with a hammer.
Neighbours heard screams and came out to find her beaten and bleeding. She later died in hospital.
CCTV images police gave to the BBC at the time- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2743307.stm
Three months after Marsha’s murder, Bellfield ran over 18-year-old Kate Sheedy in a sickening attempted murder.
After a night out celebrating the last day of school with friends, 18-year-old Kate Sheedy made the journey home.
After getting off a bus in Isleworth, she became suspicious of the vehicle that was parked on a side road and crossed over the road to avoid it. It then sped towards her, hitting her face on, knocked her down, and then reversed back over her, leaving her for dead.
She was able to use her phone and call her mother.
“Mummy, I’ve been run over. I’m in our road. I love you.”
Her mother went out to find her at around 12.15am and she couldn’t see her right away. Kate rang her again.
“Where are you, mummy? Why is it taking you so long?”
She found her daughter laying on the path, trying to crawl home.
Mrs Sheedy said: “I asked Kate how she was feeling. She said, ‘I’m in a lot of pain. Somebody ran me over on purpose. It was definitely on purpose. He is a bastard.'”
Her mother rang 999.
Operator: “Where does it hurt?”
Kate: “Everywhere. The car stopped and checked me out. When he saw I knew he was dodgy he just ran over me. He turned and ran over me again.”
She was in so much pain she told her parents she thought she was going to die, saying “I love you Daddy, I love you Mummy.”
Kate had a crushed liver, broken bones, and punctured lungs and spent months recovering from her life-threatening injuries. She had to learn how to walk, eat and wash herself again.
She was able to tell police about the people carrier, a white Toyota Previa, and the damage it had, like a broken wing mirror. The same as they found Levi Bellfield driving.
“I remember in the third week I was in hospital I woke up and I cried. I cried for hours and hours, for days, at the thought that someone had tried to kill me.
It hadn’t hit me until then. Someone tried to kill me and very nearly succeeded.”Kate told The Telegraph.
During the trial, Bellfield went out of his way to make Kate feel uncomfortable, including laughing during her testimony and he winked at her boyfriend.
“It just made me feel sick, seeing him so arrogant.”
On the 14th October 2001 in Twickenham, London, after a late-night fight with her boyfriend, 17-year-old Anna-Maria Rennie went outside to calm down. While sitting at a bus stop she was approached by a man she identified four years later as Levi, when he was arrested for Amélie Delagrange’s murder.
The man asked her if she was ok and they chatted for a few minutes. He offered her a ride home, which she declined and went to walk away. He grabbed her, throwing her to the ground and covering her mouth, trying to drag her into his car. She kicked and fought until he let her go and she ran across a park to her home.
Anna-Maria moved to Spain after her attack but came to the UK to appear at his murder trial at the Old Bailey in 2008.
“I have always been a confident, open person but for a time after that, it destroyed that.”
The jury failed to reach verdicts on his charges in relation to this attack.
They also failed to reach charges on the bus stop beating of Irma Dragoshi (no photo.)
The 34 year old sat talking to her husband on the phone in Longford, at around 7.30pm on December 16th, 2003.
During her conversation with Mr Dragoshi he heard his wife scream and the phone went dead.
She was hit her on the back of the head before the person fled. She suffered from nausea, amnesia and was left with two black eyes and a lump on the back of her head. She is now unable to remember anything about the attack.
In court it was alleged that a friend and associate of Bellfield’s, Sunil Gharun, watched as Bellfield carried out the attack on Mrs Dragoshi.
“They (Bellfield and Gharun) had been in the Heathrow area driving in Bath Road when suddenly Levi Bellfield pulled over, turned the car headlights off, and turned off the engine. He then said ‘watch this.’ Gharun saw Bellfield jog over to a woman standing at the bus stop and pull up the hood of his hooded top. Bellfield jogged up to this woman and grabbed her shoulder. Bellfield span her round and as Gharun saw it smashed her to the floor.”Prosecuting Brian Altman
When Bellfield was interviewed by police about the attack he said he had no involvement but when presented with Gharun’s statement he said, “great story,” and claimed his friend had attacked Mrs Dragoshi.
During his sentencing in his first, 2008, trial Levi decided not to attend.
In his absence, Mrs Justice Rafferty said:
“You have reduced three families to unimagined grief.
“What dreadful feelings went through your head as you attacked and, in two cases, snuffed out a young life is beyond understanding.”
Explaining her sentencing she said: “Aggravating features are the chronicle of violence directed towards lone vulnerable young women during the hours of darkness and substantial premeditation and planning.”
Now he was locked away for life, police started looking at other unsolved crimes they believed to be linked to Bellfield.
While looking through his intelligence file, DCI Colin Sutton discovered that in 2002 Levi was living in Walton-on-Thames, virtually opposite the station, close to where Milly was abducted.
In August 2009 they handed a dossier of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service that he was involved of the abduction, rape and murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler on March 21st 2003 and the attempted abduction of 12-year-old Rachel Cowles the day before.
Milly rang her father just before 4pm to say she would be a little late home from school. The last person to see her alive was a friend of her sister, sitting at the bus stop outside the train station.
A car was caught on cctv in the area, and later connected to Levi and the attempted abduction the day before.
Her naked human remains were found six months later, on the 18th September 2002, by mushroom pickers in Yateley Heath Woods, near Fleet in Hampshire.
While Milly was missing, her family and police hoped she was still alive as someone was accessing her voicemail. It later turned out that her voicemail had actually been “hacked” by reporters at the News of The World. More information about this scandal is included at the bottom of the blog,
Crimewatch UK March 2008 appeal into Millys murder
This article was published before Levi was linked to her murder. The family had more than just phone hacking to deal with-
In April 2003, a woman from Gloucestershire was jailed for five months for making hoax phone calls to the family.
The 21-year-old had impersonated Milly in calls to the girl’s father, her school and the police.
Then, in May 2005, it emerged that the family had received hate mail from a jailed paedophile, who claimed to have killed the teenager.
It came out later in court that Bellfield abducted Milly and assaulted her at his flat near Walton station.
He then drove her to his mother’s house and raped her.
After this the killer took Milly to another location where her rape and torture continued, until he strangled her the following day, 14 hours after snatching her.
In early 2010 police charged him with the schoolgirl’s murder, and in October of that year he attended court via video. In 2011 he was found guilty and had another life sentence added to the three he was currently serving. This is when the Judge changed it to a Whole Life Tariff.
“For us, the trial has been a truly awful experience. We have had to hear Milly’s name defamed in court; she has been portrayed as an unhappy, depressed young girl… the Milly we knew was a happy, vivacious, fun-loving girl.
Our family life has been scrutinised and laid open for everyone to inspect. We’ve had to lose our right to privacy and sit through day after harrowing day of the trial in order to get a man convicted of this brutal murder.
The lengths the system goes to protect his human rights seems so unfair compared to what we as a family have had to endure.”Milly’s mother.
“My family’s had to pay too high a price for this conviction. The trial has been a truly mentally-scarring experience on an unimaginable scale; you had to have been there to truly understand. During our questioning, my wife and I both felt as if we were on trial; we despair of a justice system that is so loaded in favour of the perpetrator of the crime.”Milly’s father.
On the 27th January 2016, Surrey Police announced that Bellfield had admitted, for the first time, the abduction, rape and murder of Dowler after being interviewed about whether he had an accomplice. Bellfield later issued a denial that he made any such confession, but Surrey Police stood by their earlier statement.
Other victims and rumoured victims:
Detectives tracked down a number of ex-girlfriends, who all described a similar pattern of behaviour when they got involved with him. “He was lovely at first, charming, then completely controlling and evil.”
“They all said the same,” said Detective Sergeant Jo Brunt.
The trial of Bellfield on another charge, that of the attempted abduction of an 11-year-old girl who was offered a lift in the Walton area by a man in a red car on the day preceding Milly’s murder, was abandoned due to newspapers publishing prejudicial material but the judge ordered that the charge should remain on file.
After his February 2008 convictions, Bellfield was named by police as a suspect in connection with numerous unsolved murders and attacks on women dating back to 1990 – as well as the murder of his childhood girlfriend, 14-year-old Patsy Morris, in 1980. Morris was killed one year before Bellfield’s first conviction, for burglary, at age 13.
NOTW phone hacking scandal:
And then there was the phone hacking scandal that Milly’s family got caught up in. For those unfamiliar with this here are some links and videos to sum it up-
Phone-hacking trial explained
Milly’s parents started a charity involving public and children’s safety while out alone. This was later handed over to the Suzy Lamplugh trust.
You can read more about Suzy’s disappearance here-