Domininc Grieve Attorney General Dominic Grieve Credit: Steve Punter
The Attorney General Dominic Grieve, pictured, is assessing whether media coverage of Levi Bellfield's conviction for the murder of Milly Dowler was contempt of court.

Bellfield was convicted of Dowler's murder yesterday but a jury was today due to consider a charge against Bellfield for the attempted abduction of Rachel Cowles.

However, Mr Justice Wilkie decided to discharge the jury after defence lawyers claimed there had been an "avalanche of adverse publicity" which could prejudice the proceedings.

According to reports from court today, Mr Justice Wilkie described coverage of Bellfield's murder conviction as "in some cases deplorable", adding that the jury "cannot be expected to do the impossible".

"... The one person who is going to be affected by what has happened and affected most is Rachel Cowles and her family because she has had to live for nine years with what happened and what might have happened to her," he was quoted in the Telegraph.

"She has given evidence in court, which has no doubt been an ordeal for her and as a result of the trigger being pulled too soon, on what otherwise would have been proper and appropriate material, I have been put in a position where I am obliged to discharge the jury."

A spokesman for Attorney General's Office told "Media coverage following the conviction of Levi Bellfield for the murder of Milly Dowler has been referred to the Attorney General.

"He will consider whether there has been possible contempt of court."

In a video on Cowles said she had been robbed of justice.

"I am extremely hurt and angry that some of the media reporting has meant that this case has now robbed me of justice and the chance to justice for what happened in 2002."

Today Bellfield was given a whole-life jail term for Dowler's murder.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).