The makers of an ITV drama depicting the investigation into Milly Dowler murderer Levi Bellfield have defended their decision to film on location near his house.
Starring Martin Clunes as a Metropolitan Police detective who pursued the killer, Manhunt focuses on the probe into the murder of 22-year-old Amelie Delagrange in 2004.
Bellfield was jailed in 2008 for Ms Delagrange’s murder and the 2003 murder of Marsha McDonnell, 19, after the two were linked.
He was later convicted of murdering 13-year-old Milly in 2002 and is serving a whole life prison sentence.
According to the Sunday Mirror, filming of scenes for Manhunt near Bellfield’s flat in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, has been criticised by locals.
An ITV spokeswoman said: “The programme makers have striven to authentically portray the police investigation. And the families of the victims were contacted before filming began.”
Filming began in March and scenes are said to have been recorded on Wednesday, which marked the 16th anniversary of Milly’s disappearance.
Bellfield’s former partner, Jo Collings, said that filming on the sad day was “harsh”.
The broadcaster said the drama refers to Milly’s case, although it does not deal with Bellfield’s prosecution for her death.
The spokeswoman said: “Manhunt depicts the police investigation into the murder of Amelie Delagrange on Twickenham Green in 2004, led by DCI Colin Sutton, which was then linked to the similar murder of Marsha McDonnell in 2003.
“The drama also refers to the murder of Milly Dowler, although it does not deal with the subsequent prosecution in that case, which took place at a later date after the successful prosecution of Levi Bellfield for the murders of Amelie and Marsha.”