Ute McDonnell, whose daughter Marsha was murdered by Bellfield, will ensure her TV is off when Manhunt begins. She has spent years trying to overcome the horror of her daughter’s death at the hands of Bellfield, who also killed Milly Dowler, 13, and French student Amelie Delagrange, 22. Now she fears the TV reconstruction of one of the murders could plunge her into new despair unless she avoids it.
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In the three-part drama Martin Clunes, 57, plays Chief Inspector Colin Sutton, who led the hunt for Bellfield.
Ms McDonnell said: “I was informed about the programme by ITV, but it does not bring back happy memories for me.
“I will not be watching. I don’t watch a lot of TV but I will switch it off tonight anyway.
“My family are grown up now and it is up to them what they want to do. I don’t know if they will watch.
“For me, life moves on and I lead a very busy life. My life is in the future and not in the past. It happened. I can’t change that.
“The people from ITV have been very polite. They told me what was happening.
“I always get made aware of any kind of developments or situations like this. But it is not interesting or good for me to watch something like this. It just brings back bad memories.”
Marsha, 19, was in sight of her home in Hampton, west London, in 2003 when she was battered with a lump hammer by 6ft 1in Bellfield, 50.
Tonight’s drama focuses on the murder of Ms Delagrange, who was beaten to death by Bellfield on Twickenham Green in August 2004.
During the murder hunt Inspector Sutton connected Bellfield to the killings of Marsha and Milly.
Bellfield, played on TV by Celyn Jones, owned a wheel clamping business in west London.
He was given three life sentences in 2008 for the murder of Ms Delagrange, Marsha and the 2004 attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, 18 – who gave evidence against him in court.
He was already in prison for the murders when in 2011 he received a fourth life term and second whole-life tariff for the killing of Milly, from Weybridge, Surrey, in 2002.
Clunes has stressed that the drama is not “violence porn”.
He said: “Through-out the production process, it was crucially important to me we respected the memory of Marsha McDonnell and Milly Dowler, as well as Amelie Delagrange.
“We don’t see any of the crimes take place in the drama. They are real and abhorrent crimes and to see them re-enacted would be wrong for this particular drama.
“The focus is on the police work.
We don’t glamorise anything, we don’t sensationalise anything.”
Last week it was claimed Bellfield was part of a paedophile gang which preyed on more than 17 children in care.
Scotland Yard is now studying a council report which reveals links between the triple killer and six men accused of grooming children as young as 13 to be raped.
Manhunt ITV tonight at 9pm.