A student has told a court she was left scared and crying after a man said to be convicted killer Levi Bellfield offered her a lift in his car.
Rachel Cowles was aged 11 when she was walking home from school and the red car pulled up beside her in March 2002.
The prosecution at the Old Bailey alleges that Bellfield drove off when he saw a police car and went on to murder Milly Dowler, 13, the next day. Bellfield, 42, denies abducting and murdering Miss Dowler and attempting to kidnap Miss Cowles.
Miss Cowles, now 21, recalled that she went home after the incident in Upper Halliford Road, Shepperton, Surrey, and her mother rang the police.
She said: "I felt scared as I suddenly realised the enormity of what just happened."
Miss Cowles told the court she had been walking on her own when a red car pulled up beside her with its window open.
She told the court: "He was white. My impression was that he was in his 30s to 40s. He was skin-headed or bald. His head was rather chubby. He had a gold hoop earring in his left ear.
"I remember him saying 'Hello. I have just moved in next door. Would you like a lift home?' I said 'no thank you. It's all right'." A police car was driving in the opposite direction and the car drove off.
She told the court she had felt confused and decided to go home "to see if I could see his car and if he was telling the truth". She got home and found there was no car, the court heard.
Police did not take a statement from her until three years later, when her mother wrote to the chief constable after watching a police appeal in 2005 on GMTV for a red car, and suggesting possible links with Miss Dowler's murder.