'Costa killer' linked to Millie Dowler case

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The British man accused of killing two teenagers in Spain is being investigated in connection with the disappearance of Milly Dowler.

Police said last night they were investigating if Tony Alexander King, formerly known as Tony Bromwich, was in Britain at the time of the abduction and murder of Milly, 13, last year.

King, who has been labelled the Costa Killer, was a suspect in an assault in 1997 of a Hungarian au pair, who was attacked after being followed home from Leatherhead railway station - 15 miles from where Milly was last seen in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

The head of Scotland Yard's murder squad, Commander Andy Baker, told The Mail on Sunday: "Since King's arrest we have been contacted by a number of other forces about four unsolved murders and two rapes. I can confirm that one of those murders is that of Milly Dowler."

The other attacks being investigated occurred in the Home Counties and the Manchester area over the past 20 years. After the Leatherhead assault, CCTV pictures shown on BBC's Crimewatch led to calls identifying King, but when police went to his Surrey home, they found he had moved to Spain a day earlier.

The Crown Prosecution Service found there was insufficient evidence for extradition. But King made several trips back to Britain and that is why his movements are being investigated. King, 38, was arrested in Spain nine days ago and is being held for the alleged murders of teenagers Sonia Carabantes, 17, and Rocio Wanninkhof, 19.

It was revealed last week King was formerly Bromwich, known as the "Holloway Strangler', who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1986 for sex attacks in London.

Detective Superintendent Craig Denholm, of Surrey police, played down the new investigation last night, telling The Observer there was "nothing specific" to suggest a link between King and the Dowler case but the "line of inquiry" needed to be considered.

Milly vanished in March last year and her body was found six months later near Fleet, Hampshire.