England

Levi Bellfield: Profile of 'heinous' serial killer

Levi Bellfield Image copyright PA
Image caption Levi Bellfield, who now calls himself Yusuf Rahim, will never be released from prison

Described by his most high-profile victim's family as "truly heinous", who is serial killer Levi Bellfield?

We know he murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler, 19-year-old Marsha McDonnell, and 22-year-old Amelie Delagrange. He also tried to kill 18-year-old Kate Sheedy, who survived.

A jury failed to reach verdicts on charges relating to attacks on two other women.

The Dowler family has released details of how Bellfield repeatedly raped, tortured and eventually strangled the schoolgirl. The specifics emerged in May 2015 when Bellfield, already serving a whole-life term for the crime after being convicted in 2011, finally confessed.

Eight months later the Dowler family said they were issuing the statement because they believed what had been revealed so far did not reflect Bellfield's "true heinousness" to the general public.

Early life

Bellfield was born on 17 May 1968 in Isleworth, London. He had two brothers and two sisters, and when he was 10 his father died from leukaemia.

Det Ch Insp Colin Sutton, who led the investigation into the murders of Miss McDonnell and Miss Delagrange, called Bellfield "a psychology PhD waiting to happen".

"He dotes on his mother and her on him. It's a troubling relationship."

Bellfield went on to father 11 children with five different women.

Working life

On trial in 2008 for bludgeoning Miss McDonnell and Miss Delagrange to death, Bellfield told the jury he had spent his entire life in the Hounslow, Hanworth and Feltham areas of south-west London.

He said that until 2002 he had worked as a bouncer - or "door supervisor" as he described it - in various bars and nightclubs in Uxbridge, Watford, Ealing and Sunbury.

Then he changed professions and became a wheel-clamper, at first working with two brothers, then branching out on his own.

But he also spent time stalking the streets, attacking lone women near bus stops.

Image copyright bbc

Personality

Det Ch Insp Sutton said: "When we started dealing with him he came across as very jokey, like he's your best mate. But he's a cunning individual, violent. He can switch from being nice to being nasty, instantly."

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 Det Sgt Jo Brunt, who spoke to several of them.

He would take their mobile phone and swap it with another which contained only his number, saying it was all they needed. He would then stop them from seeing friends, parents or going out without his permission, and would constantly phone to check what they were doing.

One girlfriend said, following an argument, he told her to sit on a stool in the kitchen and not move. He went to bed and she sat there all night.

Det Sgt Brunt said: "We asked her what she did about going to the toilet and she said she would rather wet herself than have moved from that stool. That shows how frightened they were of him."

At the trial for Ms Dowler's murder, the jury heard at least one of his ex-girlfriends had moved to a women's refuge in a bid to escape from his clutches.

Attacks

While he was under police surveillance, Bellfield, a former body-builder, was seen driving around in his van, talking to girls at bus stops.

He constantly denied any involvement in the attacks - and detectives could only guess at his motivation. In a video released by police in 2011, showing an interview with Bellfield filmed in 2005, he refused to engage with his questioners.

He repeatedly answered "no comment" in a high, soft voice, seemingly incongruous with the acts of extreme violence he had committed.

Det Ch Insp Sutton explained his own theory: "He has a massive ego to feed, he thinks he's God's gift to everyone.

"He drives around in his car, feels a bit 'whatever' and sees some young blonde girl.

"Young blonde girl says 'go away' and he thinks 'you dare to turn down Levi Bellfield, you're worth nothing' - and then she gets a whack over the head."

Detectives believe he could be responsible for a number of other attacks, other than the four he has been convicted of.

He had lived in, had family in or had business links with all the locations where his attacks took place.

Det Ch Insp Sutton said: "I fear we may have only scratched the surface."

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