Killer gets payout for prison assault

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The serial killer who murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler has been awarded a £4,500 payout after being assaulted in prison.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it is “hugely disappointed” by the judge’s decision.

Levi Bellfield was attacked by a fellow prisoner with a makeshift weapon in 2009 at Wakefield Prison before he went on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Milly.

He is believed to have suffered minor injuries but launched legal action claiming that prison staff should have protected him, the Daily Mirror reported.

It was reported at the time that Bellfield was demanding £30,000 in compensation and that Carter Moore solicitors were instructed to represent him in 2010. The firm said prison authorities were “in breach of the duty of care which they owe to every prisoner”.

Lawyers on behalf of the MoJ fought against his case for three years but they were forced to admit full liability at Durham County Court on Wednesday, the newspaper added.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We are hugely disappointed that Levi Bellfield was awarded £4,500 by a judge following an assault by a prisoner in 2009 at HMP Wakefield.”

Labour MP Ian Austin, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the Daily Mirror: “This is a complete and utter disgrace. Every right-thinking person will agree this is distasteful and wrong.”

Former nightclub bouncer Bellfield is serving a double whole-life term having been convicted of the murder of Walton-on-Thames schoolgirl Milly while already serving a whole-life term for the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy. Milly was snatched from the street on her way home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.

In February 2012, Bellfield lost in his attempt to challenge his conviction for the kidnap and murder of the teenager. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Mr Justice Wyn Williams and Mr Justice Maddison, sitting at the Court of Appeal, rejected his application for permission to appeal.

The single ground of appeal to show his conviction was “arguably unsafe” was a complaint about the trial judge’s decision to allow evidence of those convictions to go before the jury.

But Lord Judge said the court had reached the “clear conclusion” there was no basis for finding the decision of the trial judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, had been wrong or was “even open to question”.