Dominic Raab has blasted serial killer Levi Bellfield’s bid to fund his court fight for a jail wedding using taxpayers’ cash. Murderer Bellfield, 54, whose victims included Milly Dowler, 13, said he would use legal aid if the Ministry of Justice barred him from marrying. But the Justice Secretary condemned the plans and vowed to change the law to prevent Britain’s worst murderers and rapists from being able to wed behind bars.
Mr Raab has pledged to prevent those serving whole-life sentences from tying the knot, but the move could create a fresh showdown with European judges.
Downing Street confirmed that details of the planned legislation would be announced in “due course”, calling it “deeply inappropriate” that such criminals can marry while incarcerated.
The Deputy Prime Minister branded Bellfield’s bid to use taxpayer money for his fight as “wrong”.
The former nightclub bouncer, 54, is serving two whole-life sentences for the murders of Marsha McDonnell, 19, Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Milly.
Mr Raab told LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: “Let me just be crystal clear – I don’t think it is appropriate and I’m going to change the law.
“There’s a question around the risk to anyone that would marry an offender as egregious as in this case Levi Bellfield. I’m committed to doing what we can to prevent that from taking place.”
Asked if he could do it soon enough to stop Bellfield’s bid, he said: “I plan to move quickly.”
Bellfield is believed to have got engaged to a woman who is a regular visitor to Frankland jail, Co Durham, where he is held.
Mr Raab wants to ban prisoners serving whole-life orders, which includes Bellfield, from marrying under his Victims Bill.
He added: “Passing law is never about any individual case. But I don’t think it is appropriate. Therefore within the realm of the existing powers I have, but also the legislative agenda on which I’ll be saying more briefly, it is wrong.”
Mr Raab has previously criticized the Human Rights Act for putting “all sorts of obstacles” in the way of being able to block Bellfield’s marriage.
Upon receiving his application for marriage in 2022, he said: “It is inconceivable that the prison or the Ministry of Justice would authorize it unless the very significant concerns about the safeguarding were addressed.”
Bellfield got a whole-life sentence for the murder of Marsha in 2003, then Amelie in 2004, and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, 18, also in 2004.
He later stood trial for killing Milly, snatched walking from school in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in March 2002.