Surrey

Milly Dowler 'cause of death not known'

Milly Dowler
Image caption Milly lived in Walton Park with her parents Robert and Sally and older sister Gemma

A pathologist has told the Old Bailey it was not possible to say how murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler died by examining her remains.

The remains of the 13-year-old were found in woodland in Yateley Heath, Hampshire, six months after she went missing in 2002.

Pathologist Hugh White said there was nothing on the bones to suggest how she died.

Levi Bellfied, 43, denies abducting and murdering Milly.

Bellfield also denies attempting to kidnap 11-year-old Rachel Cowles in March 2002.

Dr White told the jury some of Milly's bones had been scattered by wild animals and that the remains had probably been in the wood for "months not weeks".

"The remains were incomplete because of animal activity but there was no other obvious cause of injury," he said.

He could not exclude suffocation or strangulation but was unable to say what had caused her death.

Asked if he could exclude natural causes, Dr White said: "Yes."

Image caption Bellfield denies abducting and murdering Milly

"This is a girl of 13-years-old found in an environment where she could not have got to by herself - and she was without any clothes."

Milly vanished on 21 March 2002, in Station Avenue, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, as she was walking home from school.

The prosecution allege Bellfield, who was living in a flat there, abducted and killed her before dumping her body.

The former wheelclamper was convicted in 2008 of the murders of Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, 18.

The trial has been adjourned until Tuesday.

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