Sally Dowler and Bob Dowler
Sally Dowler and Bob Dowler were forced to remain silent until Surrey Police ruled out an accomplice in the murder of Milly Dowler Getty

Milly Dowler endured a harrowing final 14 hours alive at the hands of killer Levi Bellfield, a family statement has agonisingly revealed.

Bellfield admitted to the abduction, rape and murder of the 13-year-old in January 2016. He is serving a whole-life prison sentence after being found guilty in June 2011 of brutally murdering the schoolgirl in March 2002. The family has also revealed it knew Bellfield was close to admitting the crimes but was forced to remain silent while Surrey Police investigated a potential accomplice.

"We feel we need to say something in addition to the information that has already been made public, as we do not think what has been revealed reflects the true heinousness of this man," it said.

"In May 2015 – nearly nine months ago – we were informed that Bellfield had requested to speak to Surrey Police about Milly. Bellfield made it clear to police that he would only speak to female police officers. Bellfield provided the officers with a harrowing account of Milly's final 14 hours. Giving details of her abduction, repeated rape, torture and then finally how he murdered her.

"The reason we were told this information last May, was because previously Bellfield had shared the information with other prison inmates and one of them was due to be released. This meant there was a risk that this information could be made public without us knowing about it.

"Bellfield told the police that after abducting Milly and assaulting her at his flat a few yards from Walton Station, he then drove her to his Mother's house. He reversed down a long driveway and then raped her in broad daylight over the boot of his car. Bellfield then moved her to another location, where the rape and torture continued for a number of hours, until the next day when he finally strangled her to death.

"A few days after hearing this harrowing information from Surrey Police, they revealed to us that they were also investigating an alleged accomplice involved in the abduction and rape of Milly. Hearing Bellfield's account of how Milly spent her final hours before being murdered was shocking enough, but the news that there could have been another individual involved was devastating.

"There are no words to describe the additional torment and pain we have been going through since we were told this information. We had to remain silent for eight months whilst the police conducted their investigation. Finally, when they made the arrest of the suspected accomplice, the person was questioned and released without charge in less than 10 hours as there was no evidence found.

"The pressure this has put us under as a family has been unimaginable and has taken its toll on all of us. We have had to fight every step of the way to get this far. In desperation last November we wrote to the Home Secretary to tell her of our concerns, and she met with us immediately.

"Now we know the final hours of Milly's life, perhaps her soul, at long last, can finally rest in peace. The general public have always played a huge part in supporting us, for which we are eternally grateful and thankful. We believe that they should know what Bellfield did to our beautiful daughter and sister Milly."