In Brief

Milly Dowler: final hours of teen's life revealed by parents

Schoolgirl's family hope she can 'finally rest in peace' after Levi Bellfield confesses to the 2002 crime

The family of murdered teenager Milly Dowler have revealed for the first time what happened to her after she was abducted by Levi Bellfield on her way home from school in 2002.

Bellfield, who converted to Islam five years ago and now goes by the name Yusuf Rahim, was convicted of the murder in 2011, more than eight years after Milly's body was discovered in Hampshire woodlands. The former bouncer, with a history of violence, was already serving life sentences for the murders of two other women. 

For undisclosed reasons, Bellfield, who until last year had refused to discuss the crime, requested that only female officers be present when he described the abduction and killing of Milly, who was snatched while making her way to her family home in Walton-on-Thames.

After assaulting the 13-year-old schoolgirl at his flat, he drove her to his mother's home and raped her on the driveway, in broad daylight. He then moved to another location, where the rape and torture continued, before he strangled her to death, 14 hours after her disappearance.

Bellfield confessed to the murder in May 2015, although the news was not made public because of an ongoing investigation into a potential accomplice.

Milly's family were informed but bound to secrecy due to Surrey Police's inquiry. The suspected man has now been cleared of any involvement in the abduction.

Despite the harrowing details of the confession, the Dowler family said they believed the public should know the full extent and brutality of Bellfield's crimes.

They also spoke of the "unimaginable" strain of keeping the new information secret for eight months.

"There are no words to describe the additional torment and pain we have been going through since we were told this information," a statement from the family said. "Now we know the final hours of Milly's life, perhaps her soul, at long last, can finally rest in peace."

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