What happened to Milly Dowler, when did she disappear, who is murderer Levi Bellfield and what's Milly's Fund?

Here is everything you need to know about the crime which shocked the nation and went unsolved for nine years.

Who was Milly Dowler?

Amanda Jane Dowler, known as Milly to her friends and family, was born in Surrey on June 25, 1988.

When she was just 13-years-old she would leave for school and never be seen alive again.

Her disappearance and the ensuing search would shock and stun the nation.

When did Milly go missing?

On March 21, 2002, she was making her way home with friends from Heathside School in Weybridge, Surrey.

Milly caught the train to get back to her parents home in nearby Hersham, but that day she and a friend got off a stop earlier at Walton-on-Thames.

The pair made their way to a cafe for a bite to eat and at 3:47pm Milly called her dad to say she would be home in half an hour.

At 4:05pm the girls left the cafe and went their separate ways.

The last person who would see Milly alive was a friend of her sister who was stood at a nearby bus stop.

Further down the road from the cafe was a CCTV camera which never captured an image of the schoolgirl.

But it did film a red Daewoo Nexia belonging to the girlfriend of Levi Bellfield.

In 2009 the vile killer would admit he was driving that car.

How long did the search for Milly take?

Milly was reported missing at 7pm on March 21, 2002, after she failed to return home.

A nationwide search was sparked with TV and celebrity appeals to find the girl as well as over 100 police and helicopters searching nearby streets, fields and rivers.

Crimewatch staged a reconstruction of her disappearance and her parents and cops made heartfelt pleas for information, but all to no avail.

In April of that year a body was found in the Thames prompting speculation it was Milly but it was revealed to be a pensioner who had gone missing a year earlier.

Despite all these efforts by June she had still not been found and that month police told her parents that their daughter was probably dead.

Three months later, on September 18, 2002, remains were discovered that were eventually identified by dental records as Milly's

They were so decomposed that a cause of death could not be determined and the case then officially switched from a missing person's case to a murder inquiry, codenamed Operation Ruby.

Who is Levi Bellfield?

Levi Bellfield is a multiple murderer who killed at least three young women and girls.

He was named as the prime suspect in Surrey Police's investigation into Milly's murder in 2008 and was eventually charged with the crime on March 30, 2010.

When he was charged Bellfield was already serving three life sentences for murder and attempted murder.

His trial began the following year and on June 23, 2011, he was found guilty of the murder and given another life sentence with a whole life tarriff.

Bellfield had always denied responsibility for murdering Milly but he finally admitted he killed her on January 27 2016.

He later denied making that confession.

Bellfield is behind bars at HMP Frankland in County Durham where he has converted to Islam and now goes by the name Yusuf Rahim.

What is Milly's Fund?

Milly's parents, Sally and Bob launched a charity named Milly's Fund on the day of her memorial service in October 2002.

The fund's mission was to "to promote public safety, and in particular the safety of the children and young people".

It embarked on several campaigns urging kids to stay in touch with their parents and providing a glossary of text slang for parents called "Teach UR Mum 2 TXT".

Milly's Fund was eventually merged with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust which had been set up years earlier by the parents of an estate agent who vanished in 1986.

What is the name of Milly's sister Gemma's book about the tragedy?

Milly's sister penned a book about the tragedy that befell her family in 2002.

Gemma Dowler's tome My Sister Milly gives an insight into the family's “sassy, funny, outgoing, talented, eccentric, cheeky and loving, fashion guru, talented musician and much-loved daughter and sister”

She was just 16 years old when her sister was abducted and murdered by Bellfield.

The book tells of the ongoing aftershock for the Dowlers, who were diagnosed with post- ­traumatic stress disorder in 2013.

They are said to have discovered a new form of therapy which has allowed them to tell their story.

A donation from the book’s proceeds is to be made to the charity Winston’s Wish, which supports bereaved children.

Did Levi Bellfield murder Lin and Megan Russell?

Bellfield is alleged to have confessed to the 1996 murders of Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan.

Lawyers for Michael Stone, twice convicted for the murders and serving a life sentence, today claimed in a press conference they have new evidence of his innocence.

They are said to include a "very detailed confession" to the killings from serial killer Bellfield.

It is alleged he has confessed in length and in detail to a fellow prisoner whom he had grown to trust.

All conversations are said to have been written up contemporaneously and immediately reported to a solicitor.

However Bellfield denied both allegations of the murders and the confession when contacted by BBC Wales.

Lin and her two daughters were attacked as they walked the family dog down a country lane in Chillenden, near Dover, Kent.

They were accosted and blindfolded by their attacker before being bludgeoned with a claw hammer, one by one.


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