Police link murder of model to six other sex attacks

Detectives searching for the killer of Sally Anne Bowman, 18, from Croydon, South London, were investigating possible links with the other incidents after women informed police of unreported offences.

Around half a dozen women had contacted police since news of the model's death emerged a week ago, to report crimes ranging from "peeping tom" cases to indecent assault.

The possible link came as police said they could not dismiss the possibility that the killer had taken some of Miss Bowman's possessions as a "trophy", after it emerged a bolero-style cardigan was missing. A Gucci purse her white Prada handbag holding a Samsung mobile phone and her passport were is also missing.

Reports from neighbours close to where she was killed suggested that some had suspected the presence of prowlers in the area.

Miss Bowman, who had dreamt of one day becoming a Vogue covergirl, had just returned from a night out with friends when she was attacked yards from her home in Blenheim Crescent, south Croydon, at around 4am last Sunday.

After she was dropped off by her ex-boyfriend, Lewis Sproston, 20, she was repeatedly stabbed in the street. She may also have been bitten in the attack, said one report.

The killing has already been linked to a late-night sex attack on a woman in Purley in 2001 and police believe Miss Bowman's killer may have committed other, similar crimes.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Cundy, who is leading the investigation, said police were trying to develop a full profile of the killer, who may have worked or lived in the area.

"That is a gap of about four years and I believe that someone who has committed this horrific murder will have offended during the intervening time. This individual might have been in prison or abroad, I'm not going to discount that, but if he was living locally, or working locally, he may have attacked other women," he said.