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Milly Dowler suffered 'bullying over looks'

Milly Dowler
Image caption Milly Dowler disappeared as she walked home from a railway station after school in March 2002

Murdered Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler was bullied over her looks when she started secondary school, the Old Bailey has heard.

Her best friend Hannah McDonald said Milly told her she was called names at Heathside School, Weybridge.

Giving evidence in the trial of Levi Bellfield, who denies murder, Miss McDonald said 13-year-old Milly half-heartedly tried to cut her wrists.

Milly disappeared on 21 March 2002 in Walton-on-Thames.

Miss McDonald said Milly had used a dinner knife to try and cut her wrists but had not broken the skin.

The court heard the pair made friends during a school trip to Germany, where Milly told Miss McDonald she had suffered minor bullying at Heathside School, in Weybridge, Surrey.

She told the court: "She did mention that prior to going on the trip she had a fall-out with girls in her form. Then I met Milly and we became friends."

'Fairly trivial'

The court was told Milly had been called "big nose" and other names and was sensitive about her nostrils.

"I think it was fairly trivial," Miss McDonald told the jury. "At the time of our friendship, she was not depressed but she was depressed during the bullying in year seven.

"She was a joker. She would always make you smile. She had funny voices she used."

The jury also heard statements from other friends of Milly Dowler.

George Reid said Milly would chat to him if she was upset at school.

He added: "I never suspected at all that she had any inclination to run away from home.

"I hope I would know her well enough to detect any change in her if she was thinking about this."

Milly was "her usual, bubbly self" on the morning of her disappearance, according to Elize Lomas, who described herself as a "school chum".

She said they talked about Gareth Gates from Pop Idol later on and then hugged and said goodbye.

Her statement continued: "She said goodbye and that she would see me tomorrow. I didn't see Amanda again."

Cheryl Fryer, who had been at the Brownies with Milly, said: "I do not believe that Amanda would go anywhere with a stranger because she is too sensible."

The remains of Amanda Dowler, who was known as Milly, were found six months after her disappearance in woods in Yateley Heath, Hampshire.

Bellfield, 42, denies murdering her, and also denies attempting to kidnap another girl the day before.

The case was adjourned until Friday.

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