Sex-obsessed attacker guilty of model's murder

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The Independent Online

Sex-obsessed Mark Dixie was jailed for life today for murdering model Sally Anne Bowman, in another case that has brought DNA matching into the spotlight.

Dixie must serve a minimum term of 34 years

The partially naked body of 18-year-old Sally Anne was left in a pool of blood in a driveway. She had been subjected to a gruesome sexual attack when she was dead or dying from seven stab wounds.

Dixie, a 37-year-old chef with an obsession with violent sex, denied killing her, claiming he found the teenager, thought she had passed out drunk and had sex with her.

He told the Old Bailey he did not realise she was dead until after he had sex with her in front of her home in Croydon, south London.

But the jury of seven women and five men found him guilty of the September 2005 murder in Blenheim Crescent.

Dixie had a string of previous convictions for sex offences. Detectives believe he may even have killed while living in Australia in the 1990s.

He was brought to justice for Sally Anne's murder by chance when he was arrested nine months later after getting into a minor scuffle over a World Cup football match at Ye Olde Six Bells pub in Horley, Surrey, where he was working.

His DNA was taken and matched to the murder when it was put on the police national computer 12 days later.

Detectives are furious Dixie made Sally Anne's mother Linda, father Paul and her three sisters Danielle, Nicole and Michelle, sit through a trial and hear the horrific details of the attack.

Members of her family shouted angrily as Dixie was taken down.

One said: "Rot in hell, pervert."

Friends in the public gallery joined in the insults, saying "I'll see you again" and Dixie called back: "Come on, both of you."

Earlier, he had nodded his head as he was sentenced to life with a minimum of 34 years.

Judge Gerald Gordon told him: "No words of mine about what you have done can remotely match the ones we have heard today from Mrs Bowman.

"I shall only say that what you did that night was so awful and repulsive that I do not propose to repeat it.

"Your consequent conduct shows you had not the slightest remorse for what you had done."

After the verdict, Detective Superintendent Cundy said: "Today Mark Dixie faces a life behind bars, a result that ensures the public are protected from a truly dangerous sexual killer.

"Sally Anne was a young woman who had her whole of her life ahead of her.

"Mark Dixie cut that life short in the most horrific way imaginable, her family and friends will always have to suffer her loss knowing the appalling acts he committed.

"This brutal murder was aggravated by the fact that Sally Anne had been left by her boyfriend in apparent safety, only yards from her front door.

"I believe Mark Dixie had concealed himself close by and was waiting for Sally Anne to be alone before attacking her.

"He preyed on a young girl and committed the most heinous crime and then expected people to believe the most contemptible account of what he said happened.

"Mark Dixie has never told anyone what truly happened that night on 25 September 2005. He has kept this and his previous attacks secret from those who knew him.

"Through his refusal to admit what he did, Mark Dixie has put those who knew Sally Anne and the jury through a tremendous amount of anguish and distress.

"I pay tribute to Sally Anne's family for their courage and strength during the course of the inquiry.

"No family should have to go through all that they have done. I hope today's conviction will in some way help them to deal with these awful events."

He added: "Mark Dixie posed a significant threat to women and I strongly believe that there may be other victims who have not come forward.

"He may have committed other sexual offences dating back many years. I therefore urge anyone who believes they are the victim of Mark Dixie and haven't already informed police to please do so on 020 8721 4005."