Levi Bellfield the man who was found guilty for the murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler has been paid out an award of £4,500 as damages to compensate him for his injuries following an assault by a cellmate which occurred in prison. Mr Bellfield brought an injury claim against the Ministry of Justice who were critical of the decision reached by the judge by labelling it as “hugely” disappointing.
Levi Bellfield who was at the time in Wakefield prison was attached by another man at the prison with a weapon that was made within the establishment. The injuries are believed to be minor with no serious damage being inflicted. This is to some extent confirmed by the £4,500 award of damages which in legal cases reflects only those least severe injuries. The incident took place in 2009 when at the time Mr Bellfield was awaiting trial for the murder of a schoolgirl.
Reports in the Daily Mirror disclosed information that the inmate brought legal proceedings against staff at the prison based on the fact that they should have protected him and that they were negligent in fulfilling this duty. The controversial claim was fiercely defended by the Ministry of Justice who incurred a much more substantial legal bill fighting the case than the compensation they were eventually required to pay. The defence prolonged for three years before a judge in Durham county court finally ruled that the Ministry must take responsibility and be held accountable for its negligent conduct in failing to protect the prisoner.
A statement was released by a spokesman on behalf of the Ministry of Justice in which he expressed the moral defeat which is alike felt by many across the country. “We are hugely disappointed that Levi Bellfield was awarded £4,500 by a judge following an assault by a prisoner in 2009 at HMP Wakefield.” The decision is one which puts into question the law relating to prison claims and whether it is right for a murdered to be compensated for minor injuries which he sustained during incarceration.
Many across the political spectrum shared the Ministry’s disappointment. Amount those was Ian Austin the Labour MP who is also a member of the panel of the home affairs select committee. In an interview with a national newspaper he said that the decision was “a complete and utter disgrace”. He further went on to say that every right-thinking person will see the decision that a murdered being awarded compensation is wrong and “distasteful”. Mr Bellfield is now serving two whole-life sentences for the murder of three school girls and the attempted murder of one. w