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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 12:58 GMT
Murder clues found in Australia
By Rachel Grant
BBC News, London

Mark Dixie
Mark Dixie refused to speak to police investigating the murder
The investigation that finally brought killer Mark Dixie to justice took London's police to the other side of the world.

After a DNA match linked pub chef Mark Dixie to the killing of 18-year-old model Sally Anne Bowman in Croydon, south London, the Metropolitan Police's search for evidence took them to Australia, and a series of unsolved sex attacks.

The 37-year-old was already known to both British and Australian police, although he used several names.

He had been convicted of indecent assaults in the UK and had been arrested in connection with an indecent exposure incident in Western Australia on New Year's Day 1999.

A female jogger reported he had jumped out of a bush naked and shouted sexual demands at her.

The Australian government then deported Dixie, who had been in the country for six years, for visa breaches.

British police were not informed.

After Miss Bowman's murder, the Met made an international appeal to trace the killer's DNA and a finger mark found on Miss Bowman's body.

Australian police had not responded by the time Dixie was arrested nine months later, following a brawl at the pub near Croydon where he worked.

A routine swab revealed his DNA matched that of Miss Bowman's killer.

Similar attack

Dixie's DNA had also been collected by Western Australia Police in the unsolved case of a rape and attempted murder of a Thai student in 1998.

The student was stabbed several times and raped while unconscious.

This came to light only after Met officers asked their Australian counterparts to re-examine unsolved murder cases that might be linked to Dixie.

Detectives travelled from London to Western Australia to collect the woman's clothing to be forensically examined in the UK.

Det Supt Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said a unusual and "significant aspect" of the trial was that evidence from another country of Dixie's "bad character" was allowed to be used in court.

Sally Anne Bowman
Police looked into unsolved sex attacks to find evidence

Although Dixie had not been convicted of this "strikingly similar" attack, police were able to re-investigate the offence with the help of Western Australian Police and bring their evidence to the Old Bailey.

The Thai woman and a British woman, who Dixie sexually assaulted in a lift in 1989, both gave evidence at the trial.

The two police forces also investigated possible links to what became known as the Claremont murders - the unsolved murders of two young women and the disappearance of a third in a suburb of Perth by a possible serial killer in 1996 and 1997.

Dixie was ruled out of these inquiries last year, but police believe he could have committed other crimes while in other parts of Australia.

"It would have been helpful if other Australian police forces had reacted in the same way as Western Australian Police," said Det Supt Cundy.

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