UK

Serial killer Levi Bellfield wins battle to marry in prison

Serial killer Levi Bellfield will be allowed to marry in prison (Met Police/PA)
Serial killer Levi Bellfield will be allowed to marry in prison (Met Police/PA)

Serial killer Levi Bellfield is to be allowed to marry after prison officials accepted there is no way to stop him under current laws.

Bellfield, 55, who is serving two whole life orders for killing 13-year-old Milly Dowler, Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange, as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, applied to marry his girlfriend and made a bid for legal aid to challenge a decision to block his marriage.

The Sun reports he has won a bid to be granted up to £30,000 in legal aid after his lawyers cited the European Convention on Human Rights and the 1983 Marriage Act.

It comes after Bellfield threatened legal action to get married after proposing during one of her visits.

Bellfield also claimed to have been the victim of discrimination after officers banned him from wearing an engagement ring, the paper reports.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Under current laws there are no legal routes to block this marriage and we recognise the pain and anger this outcome will bring to his victims’ families.

“It is what has driven our plans to stop prisoners on whole life orders from marrying in prison through our new Victims and Prisoners Bill – ensuring this never happens again.”

The government has been trying to block the release of dangerous prisoners and ban criminals serving whole life orders from marrying behind bars under plans to overhaul the parole system.

Plans, unveiled in March, included the prospect of prisoners serving whole life orders – where the offender spends the rest of their life behind bars apart from in exceptional circumstances – being barred from marrying or forming a civil partnership in jail.

The then-Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “There is a history of vulnerable women who have become pen pals with serial killers or particularly nasty offenders who get into relationships and then there is an issue around marriage.

“We’re doing this as a safeguarding issue but also as a public confidence in the justice system issue.”

Milly Dowler Murder
Amelie Delagrange, left, and Amanda (known as Milly) Dowler, centre, and Marsha McDonnell, right (Family handouts/PA)

Mr Raab told MPs that public protection would be the “exclusive focus” of the Parole Board decision-making process under new reforms.

Upon receiving Bellfield’s application for marriage in 2022, Mr Raab said: “What I can tell you is it is inconceivable that the prison or the Ministry of Justice would authorise that marriage unless the very significant concerns about the safeguarding were addressed.”

Bellfield received a whole life sentence for the murder of Marsha McDonnell, 19, in 2003, Amelie Delagrange, 22, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, 18, in 2004.

He was already serving his sentence when he went on trial for killing schoolgirl Milly, who was snatched from the street walking home from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.

He was found guilty of abducting and killing the 13-year-old following a trial at the Old Bailey in 2011.

More than 60 criminals are believed to be currently serving whole life orders.