Levi Bellfield: The Bus Stop Stalker

Levi Bellfield: The Bus Stop Stalker

Shannon DeBlasio
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9668-5.ch003
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Levi Bellfield, now known as Yusuf Rahim, was the first person within the UK to be handed a life sentence whilst already serving a whole life sentence within Her Majesty's Prison. He was convicted in 2008 of the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delgrange as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy. Then in 2011 he was further convicted for the murder of Milly Dowler. The UK press coverage of Bellfield's crimes has been monumental, with the media serving as both a help and a hinderance during the police investigation and years to follow. This chapter provides a detailed overview of Bellfield's crimes, an insight into the complex police investigation, and a glimpse at how the media impacted events which unfolded. Finally, Bellfield's motivations will be explored through the criminal narrative framework, offering a theoretical overview of his likely personal story.
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In February 2008 Levi Bellfield, who has since changed his name to ‘Yusuf Rahim’, was found guilty of the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delgrange, as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy. Bellfield was sentenced to life imprisonment (BBC, 2008). On 23rd June 2011, more than three years later, Bellfield was found guilty of an additional murder, that of Milly Dowler (BBC, 2011). This additional conviction means that Bellfield is the only prisoner within the United Kingdom who is serving two whole life orders. Bellfield will never be released from custody or eligible for a parole hearing (Lavender, 2020).

Since his convictions, the case of Bellfield has been subject to mass media coverage. The crimes that Bellfield committed rocked the nation, credited in part to the period of time in which Bellfield remained undetected, as well as the accused failings of the police during each of the investigations. Various books have documented the unfolding events, and a three-part television series ‘Manhunt’, dramatised the criminal investigation that proceeded Bellfield’s arrest (Mangan, 2019).

Bellfield had a relatively normal start to life; he was born in London in 1968 to parents of Romani descent, and he is one of five siblings who attended mainstream school in southwest London. In 1978, Bellfield’s father died from a heart attack, and it was here that Bellfield appeared to embark on his criminal career. Aged just 13, Bellfield picked up his first conviction for burglary, and by 2002 Bellfield had racked up nine convictions and a short-term custodial stay (Edwards, 2008). It is not known when Bellfield’s involvement in sexual offending began, but the earliest proven offence is that of 13-year-old Milly Dowler, who was reported missing on 21st March 2002 (Bird, 2010). There have been rumours surrounding Bellfield’s involvement in crime against women from as early as 1980, including the death of an ex-girlfriend, Patsy Morris (HeraldScotland, 2008), however these have remained speculation.

In response to the three murders and one attempted murder, Bellfield has shown little remorse. He failed to appear in court on several occasions during the hearings and provided ‘no comment’ responses to police during their investigations (Lavender, 2020). Surprisingly, Bellfield did admit to the lone involvement in the Milly Dowler case to Surrey Police in 2016, however he retracted his statement a short time later and issued a denial (Rawlinson, 2016).

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