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The prisons minster has ordered an immediate review as she vowed to block “despicable” serial killer Levi Bellfield’s request for a wedding behind bars.
Bellfield, 53, who is serving two whole-life terms for murdering 13-year-old Milly Dowler, teenager Marsha McDonnell and French student Amelie Delagrange, has applied for permission to marry a woman, the Ministry of Justice confirmed.
The Sun reported he got down on one knee to propose to a female visitor in front of prison staff at HMP Frankland in County Durham.
Prisons minister Victoria Atkins, who was only informed on Wednesday night, suggested she would “absolutely” do everything within her power to stop the marriage.
She told Nick Ferrari LBC Radio said: “My heart is going out to the families who have lost loved ones because yet again this evil, evil monster has appeared on our front pages.
“I’m very conscious of the impact that could have on people affected by his terrible crimes.
“I’m very mindful victims of this despicable human being will not themselves be able to marry their loved ones.”
Ms Atkins added to ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I am absolutely dismayed that someone who has committed these crimes can make an application to get married.
“We’re looking into it very carefully, just watch this space. I can’t announce policy on the hoof.”
She claimed the news called into question the workings of the Human Rights Act, saying Bellfield currently has a right under Article 12 to have his application for a wedding considered.
Since her appointment in September, Ms Atkins said there had only been one other case.
According to reports, the woman — in her forties who is not identified — started writing to Bellfield two years ago and is now a regular visitor.
It was at one of these visits that the killer is said to have proposed out of the blue and placed a ring on her finger, in front of shocked prison staff.
The Sun said Bellfield has now consulted a solicitor to help him with his plan. The woman refused to comment when approached.
Former Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the proposed prison nuptials “beggars belief”.
He added: “Milly never got to see her wedding day. It cannot be right that he gets to have his.”
The Sun said he is engaged to a female visitor and got down on one knee to propose in front of prison staff at HMP Frankland in County Durham.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “An application has been received and is being considered in the usual way.”
Bellfield was given a whole life term for bludgeoning Ms McDonnell, 19, to death 100 yards from her home in Hampton in 2003, murdering Ms Delagrange, 22, on Twickenham Green in 2004 and attempting to murder Kate Sheedy, 18, who was run over in Isleworth in 2004.
He was already serving this sentence when he went on trial for killing schoolgirl Milly, who was snatched from the street walking from school to her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.
Bellfield was found guilty of abducting and killing the 13-year-old following a trial at the Old Bailey in 2011.