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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 18:31 GMT
'Immense pain' of grieving mother
Linda Bowman
Linda Bowman told the court her "heart would never mend"
The grieving mother of a teenage model murdered outside her home described to jurors the "immense pain" she felt over her loss.

Sally Anne Bowman, 18, was found dead next to a skip in Croydon, south London, in September 2005. She had been stabbed seven times and raped.

Pub chef Mark Dixie, 37, was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of her murder.

Miss Bowman's mother, Linda, told the court: "My heart will never mend."

'Wonderful smile'

She spoke from behind a screen in the witness box, unable to look at Dixie.

The 45-year-old trembled and shook as she spoke, while family members and friends in the public gallery wept along with her.

Jurors heard her describe the last time she saw her daughter alive.

"I never knew then that this would be the last time I saw her wonderful smile, and the last time I would ever hear her wonderful voice," she said.

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

She told how three police officers came to her door to tell her the news.

"They came in and before I knew it I felt an immense pain in my heart when the liaison officer told me."

"From that moment on my life was over.

"All I wanted to do was hold her in my arms again."

'Bluest eyes'

She recalled how she next saw her daughter "lying in a body bag on a cold slab in the mortuary".

She said she could see the stab marks on her and told how her "long blonde hair" was still wet from having the blood in it washed out.

Mark Dixie (South London Guardian)
Police believe Dixie is responsible for a string of other attacks

On seeing the body she said she struggled to breathe.

"I had one more look at Sally Anne... and told her how much I loved her," she said.

"As I looked back through the glass I saw the biggest brightest bluest eyes in the world.

"I vowed to get the person who had taken her from us."

When Sally Anne and Linda Bowman lived together, they became "inseparable".

"We were like the best of friends," she said.

She said even though her daughter was 18 she would still get into bed with her.

Mrs Bowman would "tickle her until she fell asleep".

She continued: "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."

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