Levi Bellfield’s trial has continued in the Old Bailey today. The 43 year old bouncer is accused of abducting and murdering 13 year old Milly Dowler and attempting to kidnap Rachel Cowles in March 2002. He denies the charges.
Yesterday the Jury were told that Bellfield and his girlfriend at the time, Emma Mills, had moved out of their house days after Milly went missing. They lived just seconds from where Milly was last seen, and had two months remaining on their tenancy agreement.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, Mills told the court that she met Bellfield at a nightclub when she was 19 years old, and Bellfield was 29. The couple lived together until Summer 2001, when Emma moved out of their house into a Women’s Refuge. Emma’s mother provided a deposit for a flat for Emma to move into. Mills’ children, a female toddler and male baby, were living with her in the flat.
Mills said that Bellfield saw the children at a contact centre, but eventually the couple started to get on and Bellfield stayed over. When questioned over the red car Bellfield is connected with, Mills stated it was her car, which Bellfield borrowed ‘quite a lot’. She admitted he was not insured to drive the car. She described the car as being very messy, with a child’s car seat and booster seat on the back seats, and magazines, crisp packets and toys spread around.
Mills also discussed Bellfield’s dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Shy. She stated Bellfield regularly walked him without a lead, but that the dog did stay with him.
When questioned about housing arrangements, Mills claimed the couple were staying in the flat while they decorated a house. She stated that they gave two months notice on the flat on March 1st 2002. They were also house sitting a nearby house, until Thursday 21st March 2002, the day Milly went missing.
She recalled that on Thursday 21st March 2002, Bellfield went missing with the car. She said he ‘disappeared’, and that is was ‘unusual’ for his phone to be turned off. She recalled that he was not working during the day at the time, and that she couldn’t contact him until 5.30pm, when he answered his phone. She remembered demanding to know where he had been, as he ‘hardly ever’ turned his phone off.
Mills testified she did not see Bellfield until 10/11pm that night, at the house they were house-sitting. She remembered he “had different clothes on to what he had on in the morning” and had a takeaway and “some lagers”. She clarified, stating “He wasn’t drunk, but he’d had a drink.”
She recalled questioning him on where he’d been, but said she gave up as she never got a ‘straight answer’. She said at around 3/4am, Bellfield got out of bed and said he was going back to the flat, so he could have a lie-in in the morning.
On the 22nd March, Mills stated that Bellfield started to talk about moving out of the flat. She recalled him saying they didn’t need to wait for their lease to end – “He was pushing me into thinking it was a good idea”. She said it was then she noticed the main bedroom had no sheets, and asked him where they were. “He said the dog had had an accident on the bed – I didn’t believe him.” Bellfield allegedly told Mills he had thrown the sheets away as they couldn’t be washed. Mills remembers looking – “There was nothing”.
At this point, Mills became very upset, and the Judge suspended evidence giving to allow her to recover.
After the break, Mills recalled seeing police around the neighbourhood, and hearing about Milly Dowler. She stated they moved into the new house on the Sunday or Monday after the 21st, and that while decorating, she had tried to find out where Bellfield had been.
Mills remembers asking Bellfield if he was ‘with a woman’, to which Bellfield replied ‘Why do you keep going on, what do you think? I’ve done Milly?’. Mills sounded tearful as she recalled her reaction – “I thought it’s just so awful – I was so used to him making horrible remarks and jokes about things, I thought oh my god it’s just disgusting, it’s not funny.”
Asked if they had talked about Milly, Mills recalled that they had, because ‘it was so local’. She also recalled that at some point that day, Bellfield told her her car had been stolen from outside a friends house.
The court then adjourned for the day, with Mills due to continue giving evidence tomorrow.