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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 18:03 GMT
Man gets life for model's murder
Mark Dixie (South London Guardian)
Mark Dixie had denied murder

A man who murdered teenage model Sally Anne Bowman outside her home has been sentenced to life in prison.

The 18-year-old's body was found next to a skip in Croydon, south London, in September 2005.

Pub chef Mark Dixie, 37, was found guilty of her murder and told he would have to serve a minimum of 34 years.

Miss Bowman's father, Paul, said: "Sally Anne, you may have been taken from us, but rest assured you will forever be missed and never forgotten."

During the three-week trial, Dixie denied the charge. He claimed he found Miss Bowman dead after he had been on a drink and drugs binge and had sex with her body.

Broken-hearted

Miss Bowman's family cheered as the verdict was delivered by the jury foreman.

Sally Anne Bowman
Sally Anne Bowman was stabbed seven times

Dixie shook his head before being taken down to the cells.

Her mother, Linda, tried to console her daughters, while Miss Bowman's boyfriend Lewis Sproston wept with friends.

Speaking after the verdict, she said: "My heart will never mend not even over time.

"I cannot understand why my baby girl was taken from me in such a brutal and depraved way.

"I cannot understand why he killed her."

Judge Gerald Gordon told Dixie his conduct was unspeakable.

'Awful and repulsive'

"What you did that night was so awful and repulsive that I do not propose to repeat it," he said.

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

Miss Bowman's family outside court following the verdict

On the day of the murder, Dixie had spent a drug and drink-filled day celebrating his 35th birthday. He went on the prowl later that night.

He attacked a woman motorist whose mobile phone was stolen before a taxi driver came to her aid.

Later, at about 0430 GMT, neighbours heard Miss Bowman's screams.

Dixie stabbed her repeatedly before having sex with her body.

Police said Dixie enjoyed hearing details of his crimes being re-told in court by his victims.

Det Supt Stuart Cundy said: "Dixie has made his victims re-live horrific ordeals. He made Sally Anne's family sit through horrific evidence."

At one point during the evidence Miss Bowman's mother fled the court in tears.

I am still convinced he has done something somewhere in Australia
Det Supt Stuart Cundy

Dixie had a string of previous convictions for sex offences.

Detectives believe he may have targeted other women while living in Australia. He lived there from 1993 to 1999 working as a cook in bars and restaurants.

He was deported to England from Western Australia after jumping out of a bush naked and making lewd suggestions to a woman jogger.

Det Supt Cundy said: "I am still convinced he has done something somewhere in Australia."

It was only after British police made inquiries following Dixie's arrest during a minor scuffle in a pub in Surrey that his DNA was matched to an unsolved attempted murder and rape of a student in Perth.

Mr Cundy said: "If there was a DNA register we would have known who killed Sally Anne that day."

Police appealed for any victims to come forward so they can receive counselling.

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