Surrey

Bellfield's partner 'did not think' he killed Milly

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

The former partner of the man accused of murdering Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler has told an Old Bailey jury she did not believe he had killed her.

Emma Mills said she did not contact police about Bellfield "disappearing" on the day Milly went missing or after he made a joke about the teenager.

Milly, 13, was last seen leaving Walton-on-Thames railway station, in Surrey, in March 2002.

Bellfield denies murdering Milly and trying to kidnap Rachel Cowles, 11.

The court was told Miss Mills did not mention Milly Dowler to detectives until Bellfield was arrested on suspicion of two other murders in November 2004.

Bellfield, a former wheelclamper and bouncer, was convicted in 2008 of murdering Marsha McDonnell, 19, Amelie Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Kate Sheedy, 18.

The Old Bailey has heard he joked to Miss Mills days after Milly disappeared: "What, do you think I've done Milly?"

Miss Mills, 33, giving evidence for a second day on Thursday, was asked by defence counsel Jeffrey Samuels QC why she did not harbour any suspicions.

Image caption Emma Mills lived with Levi Bellfield for nine years and had three children

"I didn't think he'd done it, but when he made that comment it made me think, 'Why did he make that comment?'," she said.

"But I didn't think that he had done it."

Miss Mills was asked what her response was to the remark about Milly.

"I asked how he could make a joke like that. I didn't say much... disgusting."

She said that when she found bedding missing at the flat in Walton, she "thought he had disappeared with a woman in my bed".

She denied suggestions by the defence that their move from Collingwood Place had been planned because it was damp, or because Bellfield had been running a credit card scam.

Eight days after Milly vanished, Bellfield told her the red Daewoo Nexia car they had been using was stolen.

Miss Mills was Bellfield's partner for nine years and is the mother of his three children.

The couple lived together at a flat in Walton-on-Thames but on the day Milly went missing they were house-sitting in west London.

The trial was adjourned until Friday, when Miss Mills will complete her evidence.

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