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article imageOp-Ed: Levi Bellfield murder trial – prosecution closes

By Alexander Baron     Jun 14, 2011 in Crime
London - A report on the final day of the prosecution case against Levi Bellfield in his trial at the Central Criminal Court. The defence will open its case on Thursday.
The Crown has now completed its case in this difficult trial; there will be a break tomorrow, and Thursday the defence will begin. As from virtually the start its strategy was clear, and as there is little Bellfield himself can say, it is likely to be very short, indeed it may be that it will rest or even make a submission of no case to answer.
Levi Bellfield has already been convicted of the murders of two young women, and at least two police forces are continuing to investigate him for other possible crimes. If he decides to testify, there is little he can say that will convince the jury that he did not kidnap and murder Amanda Dowler in March 2002, or that he was not the man who attempted to kidnap Rachel Cowles the previous day. On the other hand, there is no shortage of other possible scenarios for what actually took place.
The kidnap attempt was confirmed at the time and before Amanda disappeared, so there is no question of the potential victim fabricating a story. But she failed to identify Bellfield, which with anyone else would be grounds for reasonable doubt.
When the body of the unfortunate Surrey schoolgirl was found, there was no sign of her clothes, which a pathologist testified on Monday was sufficient evidence to indicate murder, even with no palpable cause of death. Furthermore, Bellfield knew the woods where her skeletal remains were scattered, having been unearthed and gnawed by animals. Though again, with anyone but Bellfield in the dock, this would hardly be sufficient grounds to convict.
Yesterday, the claim was reiterated that Amanda’s father was one of the first suspects in her disappearance, one of no less than 54. The defence has made much of this, but British juries weaned from their teens on a diet of realistic TV dramas like The Bill, actual crime programmes like Police 5, and Crimewatch, and latterly CSI, are far too savvy to be deceived by this sort of rhetoric.
Another suspect, an unidentified “white van man” who was seen in the vicinity of the crime scene, is a definitely line of inquiry that failed to materialise.
Having said that, the circumstantial evidence against Bellfield remains extremely compelling, so whether or not he decides to testify or calls any evidence at all in his defence, the jury could be out for some time.
In a sense it doesn’t really matter if he is convicted or acquitted; he has already been told he will never be freed, but if nothing else, his conviction would bring closure to the parents of Amanda Jane Dowler, and allow Surrey Police to close their files on a case that has been a thorn in their sides for the past nine years. It may also lead to Kent Police looking into Bellfield’s activities in connection with an earlier crime, one for which another man is already serving a life sentence. But that’s another story.
A timeline for Bellfield can be found here.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Levi Bellfield, Amanda Jane Dowler, Rachel Cowles, Murder, Surrey Police
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