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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 March, 2004, 11:32 GMT
Milly police to interview Imiela
Antoni Imiela
Imiela was given seven life sentences on Thursday
Serial rapist Antoni Imiela is to be questioned about the murder of Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler in the next few weeks, detectives have said.

Police have said Imiela, 49, who was given seven life sentences on Thursday, will be interviewed over the murder and other unsolved crimes.

Amanda Dowler, known as Milly, was found dead in October 2002, seven months after going missing.

The 13-year-old disappeared walking home from a station near her home.

Imiela, from Appledore in Kent, was convicted of seven rapes on three girls and four women, plus the attempted rape, kidnap and indecent assault of another girl.

Similarities in the offences'

A Surrey Police spokesman said detectives wanted to speak to him because of "similarities in the offences that we now know he was responsible for".

He said the fact Imiela seemed to know the Surrey area well and that a number of his victims were young girls had put him under suspicion.

We remain confident that we will find and convict the person who killed Milly
Surrey Police spokesman

He said: "That's probably as far as it goes, but those two facts alone are enough to bring him into consideration."

Police said detectives on Operation Ruby, the hunt for Milly's killer, had been aware of Imiela for some time but could not take further action while the investigation into his series of rapes was ongoing.

Imiela's tendency to take items from his victims saw him dubbed "The Trophy Rapist" by some sections of the media.

None of Milly's belongings, including clothing, a purse and her mobile phone, have ever been found.

Milly Dowler
A 50,000 reward is still on offer in the hunt for Milly's killer

Detective Chief Superintendent Craig Denholm, who is leading the investigation, said: "Finding Milly's clothes and the other items she had with her at the time of her disappearance would be one of our best opportunities for a breakthrough on this case."

Police who worked on the investigation into Imiela's rapes spoke after his conviction of the importance of DNA evidence in the case.

But Surrey Police have never had any DNA evidence to work on in the Milly Dowler case.

A 50,000 reward is still on offer for information leading to the schoolgirl's killer and a fresh appeal is planned on the second anniversary of her disappearance on 21 March.

The police spokesman said: "It is still very much a live investigation.

"There are still a number of actions that we will follow up and new information comes in all the time, such as Imiela.

"We remain confident that we will find and convict the person who killed Milly."

He said police had told Milly's parents they would be interviewing Imiela.

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