On 23 June 2011, Bellfield was found guilty of the murder of Milly Dowler. On both occasions, the judge recommended that he should never be released. He converted to Islam whilst in prison.
Bellfield was born at the West Middlesex Hospital, Isleworth, Greater London, to Jean and Joseph Rabetts (née Bellfield), and is of Romani descent.
When Bellfield was 10, his father died at age 52 of leukaemia. He has two brothers and two sisters and was brought up on a southwest London council estate. He attended Forge Lane Junior School followed by a change of secondary school from Rectory Secondary School, Hampton to Feltham Comprehensive School. He has fathered five children with three women, the youngest three with his most recent girlfriend, Emma Mills. His first conviction was for burglary in 1981.
He was convicted of assaulting a police officer in 1990. He also has convictions for theft and driving offences. By 2002, he had nine convictions and had spent almost one year in prison for them.
In an interview with the media, Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton of the Metropolitan Police, who led the murder hunt, described him in some detail: "When we started dealing with him he came across as very jokey, like he's your best mate. But he's a cunning individual, violent. He can switch from being nice to being nasty, instantly."
Bellfield searched for victims on streets he knew intimately. Detectives tracked down a number of ex-girlfriends, who all described a similar pattern of behaviour when they got involved with him. "He was lovely at first, charming, then completely controlling and evil. They all said the same," said Detective Sergeant Jo Brunt.
At the time of the attacks, Bellfield ran a wheel-clamping business which operated in and around West Drayton in west London where he lived. Detective Chief Inspector Sutton speculated: "[Bellfield] has a massive ego to feed, he thinks he's God's gift to everyone. He drives around in his car, feels a bit 'whatever' and sees some young blonde girl. Young blonde girl says 'go away' and he thinks 'you dare to turn down Levi Bellfield, you're worth nothing' and then she gets a whack over the head. It is shown in the case of Kate Sheedy. She was smart enough to think she didn't like the look of his car and crosses the road. He thinks 'You think you're so clever' and whoosh, he runs her over."
Bellfield was seen driving around in his van, talking to young girls at bus stops, while under police surveillance. Amelie Delagrange was seen by CCTV cameras which showed her walking towards Twickenham Green after she missed her stop on the bus home. She may have stopped and spoken to Bellfield between the last two sightings of her. She was attacked shortly afterwards.
Bellfield was arrested early on the morning of 22 November 2004 on suspicion of the murder of Amelie Delagrange. On 25 November he was charged of three counts of rape in Surrey and West London. On 9 December 2004 he was charged with assaulting a woman in Twickenham between 1995 and 1997 and remanded in custody. Bellfield was rearrested and charged with Amelie Delagrange's murder on 2 March 2006, along with the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy and the attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm to Irma Dragoshi. On 25 May 2006 Bellfield was charged with the murder of Marsha McDonnell.
Amanda Jane "Milly" Dowler was a 13-year-old girl who went missing on leaving the railway station in Walton-on-Thames on 21 March 2002 and was found dead in Yateley Heath Woods, Yateley, six months later. In August 2009, Surrey Police submitted a dossier to the CPS containing evidence supporting Bellfield's involvement in the murder of Dowler. On 30 March 2010, Bellfield was charged with the kidnap and murder of Milly, as well as the attempted kidnap of then 12-year-old Rachel Cowles on 20 March 2002. Bellfield refused to give evidence at his trial and always denied any involvement in Dowler's death. A jury convicted Bellfield of Dowler's murder on 23 June 2011.
Marsha Louise McDonnell, a 19-year-old woman, died in hospital within two days as a result of being beaten over the head with a blunt instrument near her home in Hampton, London, in February 2003. The wound was inflicted shortly after she got off the 111 bus from Kingston upon Thames at the stop on Percy Road. Bellfield sold his Vauxhall Corsa car for £1,500 six days after the murder, having bought it for £6,000 just five months earlier.
Kate Sheedy, then aged 18, was run over as she crossed the road near an entrance to an industrial estate in Isleworth on 28 May 2004. She survived, but suffered multiple injuries and spent several weeks in hospital. Nearly four years later, she went on to give evidence against Bellfield when he was tried with her attempted murder.
Amélie Delagrange was a 22-year-old French student visiting the UK. She was found at Twickenham Green on the evening of 19 August 2004 with serious head injuries, and died in hospital the same night. Within 24 hours, the police established that she might have been killed by the same person who had killed Marsha McDonnell 18 months earlier. Bellfield reportedly confessed to the murder while on remand.
Bellfield was also charged with abduction and false imprisonment of Anna-Marie Rennie (then aged 17) at Whitton on 14 October 2001, after she identified him in a video identity parade four years later. He was also charged with the attempted murder of Irma Dragoshi (then aged 39) at Longford on 16 December 2003. The jury failed to reach verdicts on either of these charges.
Bellfield was found guilty of the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange (as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy) on 25 February 2008 more than three years after the last of the three attacks. The following day, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should never be released. Bellfield was not in court to hear his sentence, as he had refused to attend court owing to "unfair press coverage" following his conviction.
On 30 March 2010, Bellfield was charged with Dowler's abduction and murder, pre-dating the earliest of the other three charges by almost a year. Milly was 13 years old when last seen alive on her way home from school in Walton-on-Thames on 21 March 2002; her body was found in woodland near Yateley, Hampshire, six months later. Bellfield was named as the prime suspect in connection with the murder in the immediate aftermath of his trial in 2008. As a result, the inquest into the death was adjourned. On 6 October 2010 he appeared in court via video link and was formally charged with one count each of attempted abduction, (actual) abduction, disposal of evidence and murder.
Bellfield's second trial began at the Old Bailey on 10 May 2011 and on 23 June 2011 the jury found Bellfield guilty. He was again sentenced to life imprisonment the following day and the trial judge recommended that his life sentence should mean life – just as the judge at his trial for the other crimes had done three years earlier. The trial of Bellfield on another charge of attempted abduction of Rachel Cowles, an 11-year-old girl offered a lift in the Walton area by a man in a red car on the day preceding this murder, was abandoned due to newspapers publishing prejudicial material, and the judge ordered that the charge should remain on file.
On 27 January 2016, Surrey Police announced that Bellfield had admitted, for the first time, abducting, raping and murdering Dowler, after being interviewed about whether he had an accomplice. Levi Bellfield later issued a denial that he made any such confession, but Surrey Police stood by their earlier statement.
After his February 2008 convictions, Bellfield was named by police as a suspect in connection with numerous unsolved murders and attacks on women dating back to 1990 – as well as the murder of his childhood girlfriend, 14-year-old Patsy Morris in 1980.
Police were informed in early 2015 that Bellfield, in his cell at HM Prison Wakefield, had admitted to unsolved rape and murder cases. The Metropolitan Police co-ordinated the subsequent investigations of 10 police forces. On 9 November 2016, they issued a statement which said: "All lines of inquiry have now been exhausted and the decision has been taken to close this investigation as there is no evidence to link the individual to any case for which he has not already been convicted". It was later revealed by police that Bellfield may have lied about other murders so he could inflict pain on their families.
Michael Stone, convicted for the 1996 murders of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan, has argued that Bellfield should be investigated for the killings. A 2017 BBC Two programme, The Chillenden Murders, in which a team of independent experts re-examined the evidence, supported this view.