Levi Bellfield is one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers but despite available evidence and tip-offs, it took police several years to arrest him for the murder of three women, including British teenager Milly Dowler.
On Monday Four Corners examines the failures in the investigation into the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler.
“Had they joined up all the dots, it could have led to his arrest much earlier, and that could have saved a lot of other people being attacked by him.” Crime reporter
This gripping film features interviews with senior police and those covering the case as evidence mounted up against the killer.
“There was a loft hatch which was closed. So they got a ladder, they got up into the loft hatch, and under the loft insulation, there he was, stark naked.” Former crime reporter.
Also speaking out is the murderer’s ex-partner who provided the crucial tip-off which led to Bellfield’s arrest.
“When they asked me, ‘Why do you think you know who might have killed her?’ and I said, ‘Because my kids’ father, my ex-boyfriend, is violent, he hates blondes, he knows the area very well, and he drives a white van ‘cos he’s a wheel clamper’.” Ex-partner of Levi Bellfield
The true crime documentary also sheds light on the role of the media in the Milly Dowler case, in particular the illegal activity undertaken by the Murdoch owned tabloid News of the World.
“We absolutely felt we were above the law, and we were above the law. If you could produce a News of the World press card, it was a get out of jail card.” Former News of the World reporter
Former senior police reveal investigators did not initially pursue the News of the World when it was clear the tabloid had information about the missing teenager that was obtained through criminal activity.
“The only way they could have achieved that was through hacking into Milly Dowler’s phone. Now, instead of actually investigating that, in effect, it seems as if they turned a blind eye to it, in order to appease the media.” Retired Det Chief Superintendent.
The newspaper was eventually shut down as a result of the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone and serial killer Levi Bellfield was sentenced to life in prison.
“There’s always been a picture of Milly in the incident room and it was always a 13-year-old schoolgirl. When we eventually got to court, all her school friends, were women now… and that brought it home really that Milly had missed out on all that.” Retired Detective Constable
Bellfield will die behind bars, but Milly Dowler’s death and the harm he caused to many others still haunts those left behind.
“It just seems so harrowing that someone’s taken someone from you… and then actually went on to hurt more people. I think that’s what’s really upsetting, is that more people got hurt after that.” Milly Dowler’s best friend.