Milly Dowler death 20 years on – abduction, brutal murderer and familys torture

On March 21, 2002, Milly Dowler left her school in Weybridge and walked to her local train station.

After a bite to eat at a cafe she began to walk home – the next three minutes would be last time she would be seen alive.

A car later linked to Levi Bellfield was seen on CCTV further down the street, but there was no sign of Dowler.

She was reported missing the same day, sparking a nationwide hunt for the missing schoolgirl.

The search was filled with appeals from celebrities, as well as a reconstruction from Crimewatch. After a month of searching to no avail, police told Milly's family that their beloved child was likely dead.

In September that year, mushroom pickers in Hampshire found human remains, which analysis of dental records later confirmed to match those of Dowler’s.

A cause of death was never settled on as the remains were so decomposed.

The fake calls

As if the family’s pain of losing a daughter wasn't enough, sick individuals made their torment even worse.

Dowler’s sister received letters threatening to kill her and claiming to have killed Dowler. The letters were eventually uncovered to have been sent by Paul Hughes, who received five years in prison for his vicious actions. He was already imprisoned at the time for assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

Meanwhile, a woman made the bizarre decision to repeatedly call Dowler’s suffering parents pretending to be her. She was jailed for five months.

Dowler’s parents also received emails from Gary Farr, who insisted she had been moved out of the country to work as a sex worker in Poland. In 2006, news surfaced that Farr has been sectioned at the time under the Mental Health Act.

Who is Levi Bellfield?

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Levi Bellfield was eventually convicted of killing Milly. He also killed two other women – Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Deagrange – and attempted to murder Kate Sheedy.

He was charged with the crime of killing Milly in 2010, two years after being named as the prime suspect in the case.

At the time of his charge, he was already facing three life sentences for murder and attempted murder. After the Milly trial the following year, he was given another life sentence with a whole life tariff.

In 2016, after years of denying it, Bellfield admitted killing the 13-year-old.

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