Killer's defence 'driven by hatred'
The family of one of Levi Bellfield's murder victims has hit out at the way his defence was handled during his trial for the killing of Milly Dowler.
Relatives of Marsha McDonnell, who was struck on the head with a hammer a year after Milly disappeared, deplored the way Bellfield had been "allowed so obviously to manipulate his defence team into bringing added pain to another of his victim's families".
Bellfield was jailed for life on Friday for murdering 13-year-old Milly as questions were raised about the adversarial nature of the trial system, which distressed the Dowlers.
Milly's parents both broke down in court after being cross-examined about how they coped with the situation and questioned about notes written by the teenager.
Miss McDonnell's uncle, Shane McDonnell, who has already spoken out in the wake of Friday's verdict, issued a new statement on behalf of the family criticising Bellfield's lawyers.
He said: "As much as we respect the absolute need for a defence action to be as strong as possible, we would question the manner in which this particular case was handled by Jeffrey Samuels for Carter Moore Solicitors.
"Not only were they dealing with a convicted murderer but a man with a very clear proven history of manipulation, hatred, lies and deceit, a man known to have no remorse whatsoever and a man who is known to relish bringing more pain to the families of his victims wherever possible."
He branded Bellfield's defence a "charade" that was "driven by that hatred" and called on QC Mr Samuels to "speak out and explain himself as to whether his motive was genuine belief that his line of defence was correct".
But Jeremy Moore, managing partner and head of the serious and organised crime team at Carter Moore who represented Bellfield, said it was the "cornerstone of our justice system that every defendant, however unpalatable, has the right to have his defence put, and to a fair trial".
He said: "In order to ensure a fair trial, it is the duty of defence lawyers to test the prosecution case by the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses along relevant lines of questioning. In this particular case, material was disclosed to the defence which, while being of a sensitive nature, was highly relevant to some of the issues in the trial and it became necessary and appropriate to put these matters to certain prosecution witnesses."