BUS STOP Stalker Levi Bellfield has taken the first step towards appealing against his recent convictions for murder and attempted murder.

The 39-year-old bouncer was handed a life sentence in February after being found guilty of bludgeoning two girls with a hammer and deliberately mowing down a third in his car during 2003 and 2004.

But last Thursday his lawyers handed the Criminal Appeals Office an application from Bellfield (below) for leave to appeal against the verdict.

"We've been waiting for this news from the minute he was found guilty," said Det Ch Insp Colin Sutton, who led Operation Yeaddis - the investigation into Bellfield's violent crime spree.

"It wasn't a matter of 'if' but 'when' he'd start his appeal.

"Bellfield's facing about 40 years inside and he's not the type to roll over and confess so for him there's no reason not to try an appeal really."

Bellfield was found guilty on February 25 of murdering French student Amelie Delagrange in Twickenham and 19-year-old Marsha McDonnell in Hampton, and attempting to kill Isleworth schoolgirl Kate Sheedy.

His legal team have not yet confirmed the basis for his appeal or whether it will rely on new evidence or a point of law.

But once their application is made in full it will go before an appeal judge who will decide whether there are sufficient grounds for an appeal hearing.

Miss Sheedy's mother Eileen said she was not surprised by the news but did not want to comment further at this early stage in the process.

Meanwhile detectives with Operation Yeaddis have begun working through a list of 30 more potential Bellfield crimes which have emerged during or after the original trial.

DCI Sutton said: "Unfortunately we don't have the resources to look into all of them so we're focusing our efforts on similar hammer attacks."

Three attacks rumoured to be linked to Bellfield in the past - against Edel Harbison, in Twickenham, Jessie Wilson, in Strawberry Hill and Dawn Brunson, in Bedfont - have all been temporarily shelved due to lack of evidence.

But several other incidents where women were struck with blunt instruments are being investigated.

One case involves a young Teddington women who regained consciousness with head injuries in Hospital Bridge Road, Whitton, on the evening of April 28, 2000, and initially assumed she must have fallen.

Two similar attacks in Hastings in 2004, one in Earl's Court in 1994, one in Hinchley Wood also in 1994, and a fifth in Blackpool are also being reviewed.

DCI Sutton said: "It's far too early to conclusively link Bellfield to any of these attacks but we are being very thorough in our investigation."

To contact the Operation Yeaddis Team with any information call 020 8247 6911.