Who was Elizabeth Chau and what happened to her?

Police reportedly preparing to dig for body of student who went missing in 1999 following alleged confession from serial killer Levi Bellfield.

Levi Bellfield has reportedly confessed to the murder of Elizabeth Chau. (PA/Getty Images)
Levi Bellfield has reportedly confessed to the murder of Elizabeth Chau. (PA/Getty Images)

Police are reportedly preparing to start digging for the remains of Elizabeth Chau after serial killer Levi Bellfield allegedly confessed to her murder more than 20 years ago.

The Guardian reported he admitted the murder in a face-to-face police interview this week.

A source told the paper that officers were taking Bellfield’s claims “extremely seriously”.

Bellfield is serving two whole-life orders for killing 13-year-old Milly Dowler in 2002; Marsha McDonnell, 19, in 2003; Amelie Delagrange, 22, in 2004; and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy, 18, in 2004.

Last month, it was also reported Bellfield signed a fresh confession to the murders of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan in 1996.

What happened to Elizabeth Chau?

Elizabeth Chau was last seen in west London on 16 April, 1999.

A police appeal, released in 2007, said she left her home in West Ealing at noon to attend Thames Valley University, which has a campus in that area. She was on a computer studies course.

A report in the Ealing Times in 2006 said she had handed in an assignment before going to the student union bar. She was last seen by a friend on Ealing Broadway at 5.50pm that day.

Her mother, Phung, told the paper: “I'm still looking for Liz every day, it's really difficult for me, I miss her every day. I need to find out what happened to her."

Police stand outside the house where Levi Bellfield's was arrested in West Drayton, West London. Mr Bellfield was arrested in connection with the murder of french student Amilie Delagrange who was found dead on Twickenham green in August 2004. The man is also being questioned over the attempted murder and robbery of a woman near the same green in November 2002.   (Photo by Chris Young - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police outside the house in West Drayton, west London, where Levi Bellfield was first arrested in 2004. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Chau’s family believe the Metropolitan Police, the scandal-hit force responsible for her case, have not taken it seriously because of her gender and race. Her family is from Vietnam and she was born in the UK.

The family said police were told Bellfield made a verbal confession in October last year, but that they were only informed about this by a prison visitor in March, who was said to be frustrated by the inaction.

Chau’s brother, Minh-Vu, told The Guardian last month: “We remember Elizabeth every day, not a single day passes where we don’t hope she will return back home.

“Our pain does not leave us but it has been doubled by police inaction. Why are the police so indifferent to Elizabeth’s tragedy and why don’t they care about our loss?”

Read more: Levi Bellfield: Serial killer's plan to get married in prison sparks concern (from March)

What did Bellfield say?

Bellfield, who is being held at Frankland Prison in County Durham, has reportedly confessed to the murder - including details of her kidnap - in a police interview which occurred on Tuesday.

The Guardian reported he named a location in west London where he said he hid Chau’s body.

In an emailed statement to Yahoo News UK on Friday, the force said: “On Tuesday, 9 May, 2023 a 54-year-old male was interviewed under caution. Enquiries continue.

“We can confirm we remain in contact with Elisabeth Chau’s family.

“At this time we will not be providing an ongoing commentary. We have no further comment to make.”

Bellfield's solicitor Theresa Clark said: "He tells me he feels it's important that her family have some closure. He wants to see justice done because they have had to live this for so long and that's unfair. He gains nothing from it, there is no positive publicity for him."