Justice Secretary Dominic Raab vows to bring in new laws ‘quickly’ to stop serial killer Levi Bellfield from using legal aid to marry blonde prison visitor
- The serial killer had launched a bid to marry a female visitor at HMP Frankfield
- A new bill is aimed at stopping murderers and rapists tying the knot behind bars
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has today vowed to bring in new laws ‘quickly’ to stop jailed serial killer Levi Bellfield from using legal aid to get married behind bars.
The 54-year-old brute, who is known to have murdered at least three people including 13-year-old Milly Dowler, has got engaged to a regular female visitor at HMP Frankfield, Durham, where he is serving a whole-life tariff.
News of his proposed nuptials with the blonde woman, who is in her 40s, sparked outrage when they were revealed last year. The Government has already vowed action, with Bellfield boasting his fight against them is ‘costing me f*** all’.
Deputy Prime Minister Mr Raab – who is set to unveil his new Victim’s Bill in the coming weeks, which would ban people serving whole life terms getting hitched behind bars – branded Bellfield’s bid to use taxpayer money as ‘wrong’.
He told LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: ‘Let me just be crystal clear with you, Nick – I don’t think it is appropriate and I’m going to change the law.
Serial killer Levi Bellfield (pictured) is currently serving two whole life tariffs for murdering at least three people. He now wants to use legal aid to get married
Collision course: Justice Secretary Dominic Raab says he will introduce new laws to stop the jailed serial killer from using tax-payers’ money to fund his fight to marry his lover behind bars
‘But I also think there’s a question around the risk to anyone that would marry an offender as egregious as in this case Levi Bellfield.
READ MORE HERE: Murderers and rapists on life sentences to be banned from marrying in prison after Milly Dowler’s murderer Levi Bellfield’s proposal to blonde visitor sparked outrage
‘What we’re protectively do to make sure vulnerable people aren’t subject to that element of risk. So on both factors, I’m committed to doing what we can to prevent that taking place.’
Pressed on how rapidly the change could be introduced, Mr Raab insisted: ‘I plan to move quickly.’
Bellfield, who is serving two whole-life terms for the murder of 13-year-old Milli, well as Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22, has demanded prison bosses bend to his request to get married.
A letter sent on his behalf by law firm Carringtons claims the delay in approving his marriage request is ‘unlawful’ and is a breach of the 1983 Marriage Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, The Sun reports.
A source told the paper: ‘Bellfield’s laughing that he’s getting all this help for free. It’s alarming that, as things stand, his barristers have the law on their side.
‘The prison has kicked this into the long grass because they don’t want it to happen, but legally they will probably have to allow it.’
A spokesperson for the Prison Service told outlet: ‘The application is being considered.’
Some 60 prisoners, many of them serving long jail terms, applied to marry last year.
Speaking today, Mr Raab said he wants to ban all prisoners serving whole-life orders from marrying under his Victims Bill.
‘Passing law is never about any individual case, but I don’t think it is appropriate and both therefore within the realm of the existing powers I have, but also the legislative agenda on which ill be saying more shortly, I think it is wrong,’ he added.
The deputy PM’s plans to ban the practice were pushed back amid fears of potential legal challenges, but Rishi Sunak’s Government is confident it would face off any legal battle, with backing from the Attorney General.
Levi Bellfield’s fiance (pictured), a woman in her 40s, is one of the jailed serial killer’s regular visitors
Bellfield is currently behind bars at HMP Frankfield (pictured) and is unlikely to ever be released
Bellfield is known to have killed three people, including 13-year-old Milly Dowler (pictured)
He also killed 19-year-old Marsha McDonnell (left) and 22-year-old Amelie Delagrange (right)
In a leaked letter to a cabinet colleague, Mr Raab said: ‘I consider there is a very real risk that marriage in such cases would undermine public and victims’ confidence in the Criminal Justice System.
‘Even where there is no risk of direct physical harm there is a significant risk of coercive or controlling behaviour.
‘I have seen how Bellfield seeking to marry has caused distress and trauma to his victims.’
A Government source said allowing egregious criminals to wed would add to the distress the surviving relatives of victims
Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith has also lent his support, saying vulnerable members of the public could be ‘groomed’ into marriage by manipulative crooks.
Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Steve Reed criticised the Conservatives for failing to enact a bill sooner, insisting that Labour has led calls for a Victims Bill for eight years.
His new fiancee previously told the Mirror: ‘He is not a monster. Yes he has a bad past, but 17 years in prison changes a person.
‘He has changed, he has remorse, and there are always reasons a person goes wrong in life.
Bellfield was put in touch with his now-fiance by Peter Sutcliffe (pictured), after seeing a picture of her in the Yorkshire Ripper’s cell
‘There is always a far bigger picture. He is 53 years old, still young and has to live knowing he will just grow old and die in that horrendous place.’
Bellfield was introduced to his fiancée through Peter Sutcliffe, who was friends with the woman before he died in 2020.
Bellfield and Sutcliffe were on the same wing in HMP Frankland. Bellfield asked to be put in touch with her after seeing her picture in Sutcliffe’s cell, the Sun reported.
They spoke on the phone, before she then began visiting Bellfield at the County Durham prison.
‘What people don’t realise is that the woman was friends with Sutcliffe for years before he died, although there was no romance between them,’ a source told the Sun.
They said that Bellfield asked for Sutcliffe’s consent to write to her, around a year before he died.
His fiancée has now said that she is ‘not ashamed’ of their relationship, and believes that Bellfield has ‘changed’ and is ‘not a monster’.
She described herself to the Mirror as ‘extremely non-judgemental’, adding that her and her fiancé have had ‘kisses and cuddles’ in the County Durham prison.
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