A review has been launched into serial killer Levi Bellfield’s request for a prison wedding, a justice minister has announced.

The Ministry of Justice on Wednesday confirmed that Bellfield is engaged and has applied for permission to marry a woman while he is serving two whole-life orders for murdering schoolgirl Milly Dowler, Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange.

Probed on the matter on Sky News the following morning, Justice Minister Victoria Atkins said the situation is "absolutely appalling", adding: "I have ordered an immediate review into this."

She told Kay Burley: "Just to reassure people, I understand an application has been made that has not been decided yet and he most certainly has not yet married."

Downing Street later added: "Like the rest of the country, the prime minister is sickened and appalled by this and his thoughts are with the families and loved ones."

The PM’s official spokesperson told reporters: "I can’t as it stands be definitive on that particular position, but certainly the sorts of abuses that we have seen of the Human Rights Act are exactly what [the Bill of Rights] is designed to address.

Meanwhile, former Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told the Sun newspaper, which first reported the news, 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."

However, it is understood that Bellfield’s application is still being processed and is not at any further advanced stage.

Snatched from the street

The 53-year-old killer would need the permission of the prison governor to marry at the category A men’s prison.

Bellfield was given a whole-life term for murdering Ms McDonnell, 19, in 2003, murdering Ms Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Kate Sheedy, 18, 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.

© Sky News 2022