England

Milly Dowler murder: Levi Bellfield's confession 'could lead to others'

Levi Bellfield Image copyright PA
Image caption Levi Bellfield was found guilty in 2011 of abducting and killing Milly Dowler

Serial killer Levi Bellfield's admission he murdered Milly Dowler "came out of the blue" and could lead to more confessions, the man who led the efforts to catch him has said.

Colin Sutton told the BBC police thought Bellfield was responsible for "scores" of other crimes but was "not the sort of person to admit anything".

Bellfield was given a whole-life prison term in June 2011 for murdering 13-year-old Milly.

She was killed in March 2002.

Bellfield made the admission during an investigation into whether he had an accomplice, Mr Sutton told the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Milly Dowler, 13, was murdered in 2002

Mr Sutton, a former senior investigating officer with the Met, said Bellfield had always "vehemently denied" killing Milly and had put her parents through a "staggeringly difficult ordeal" during the trial.

He said he initially believed the 47-year-old had confessed "because he was trying to manipulate the system".

"But perhaps he's trying to clear his slate and if that's the case I think we can look forward to a lot more confessions," he said.

Mr Sutton revealed police had suspected he was guilty of numerous other serious crimes, including nine counts of rape and assault left on file.

But authorities had decided the cases were too complex and expensive to pursue because he "can't be put into prison for any longer", Mr Sutton said.

Image caption Colin Sutton led the Metropolitan Police investigation into the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell
Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Levi Bellfield originally denied murdering Milly Dowler

Milly's family have released a statement calling the confession "devastating for a family which has already had to endure so much".

Rose Dixon, who works for a charity that helps the families of murder victims, said people generally welcomed confessions but would still be "left totally traumatised by the whole process".

"Bereaved families do not have rights", she said.

Milly was kidnapped while returning from school to her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

Her body was found months later 25 miles away in Yateley Heath, Hampshire. Experts could not say how she died.

Surrey Police revealed a man in his 40s had been arrested as part of the investigation into a possible accomplice but he had been released without charge.

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