Monday, June 22, 2015

Killer admits to brutal rape in Spain for which 'innocent' man has spent 12 years in prison

The killer of Sally Anne Bowman has sensationally admitted brutally raping a woman in Spain for which another man has spent nearly 12 years in prison.

Murderer Mark Dixie, 44, is serving life for murdering the 18-year-old model in South London in 2005.

The former pub chef is suspected of attacking three women on the Costa del Sol where he was living before Sally Anne's murder.

In a dramatic twist in the case last week, Dixie admitted raping one of the women in Spain.

MailOnline revealed last year how Dutchman Romano van der Dussen was wrongly jailed for the Spanish attacks - yet he remains behind bars to this day.

It can also be revealed that new DNA analysis, carried out this week at the Dutch National Forensic Investigation Agency, proves beyond any doubt that Dixie carried out the attack.

Last week, Sally Anne's killer broke down in prison and confessed to raping the Spanish woman in a drink and drug-fuelled rage in the seaside resort of Fuengirola in August 2003.

He made his confession to Romano’s lawyer Rachel Imamkhan when she visited him at HMP Frankland, Co. Durham.

Ms Imamkhan, legal director of PrisonLAW, interviewed Dixie while gathering evidence for Romano’s appeal against his conviction for the three sex attacks.

Dixie’s handwritten, three-page statement will be lodged with the Supreme Court in Madrid as part of Romano’s appeal.

In a statement, PrisonLAW, a law firm specialising in overturning miscarriages of justice, said: 'Mark Dixie confessed that in 2003 he was living in Fuengirola and he remembers committing a rape that Romano van der Dussen has been convicted of.

'He also stated that he is sorry that another person has been in prison for such a long period of time for that rape.

'A new analysis of DNA evidence carried out at the National Forensic Investigations Agency has also confirmed that Mark Dixie carried out that rape.

Ms Imamkhan spent two-and-a-half hours interviewing Dixie and said he was close to tears when he finally confessed to the rape.

She told MailOnline: 'Dixie told me he was high on drink and drugs when he raped the woman and has suffered from blackouts. 'He said he is very sorry that Romano has been in prison for so long for crimes he did not commit. 'He claims he does not remember the other two Spanish attacks.'

Dixie, from Streatham, South London, was living in Fuengirola when the three Spanish women were brutally attacked within two hours of each other in the early hours of August 10 2003.

One woman was punched, thrown to the floor and raped in a terrifying 15-minute ordeal. She spent four days in hospital and suffered severe psychological problems.

Minutes later a second woman was punched in the head, thrown to the floor and sexually assaulted. The attacker fled with her Nokia mobile phone and 120 euros in cash.

The third victim was attacked a few hundred yards away; punched in the head, thrown to the floor, sexually assaulted and beaten.

Romano, now 42, was arrested three weeks later after one of the victims picked him out from photographs in police files.

Detectives had found the attacker’s DNA on the first victim. But astonishingly Romano was charged and prosecuted even though his DNA did not match that found on the victim.

No forensic or physical evidence linked Romano to the crimes but he was jailed for 15-and-a-half years. He remains behind bars and continues to protest his innocence.

During the trial prosecutors argued that all three attacks must have been carried out by the same man.

Shortly after the three women were attacked, Mark Dixie returned to the UK from Spain. In September 2005, he raped and murdered Sally Anne Bowman near her home in Croydon. The teenager was stabbed seven times and raped while she lay dead or dying.

Dixie was arrested the following year by chance after having a fight in a pub – and was linked to Sally Anne’s murder through his DNA.

However, he refused to admit the crimes, forcing Sally Anne’s mother Linda, father Paul and sisters Danielle, Nicole and Michelle, to endure a trial at the Old Bailey. In February 2008, Dixie was jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 34 years.

After his arrest, Met Police detectives discovered Dixie had been living in Spain from 2002 to 2003 and sent his DNA to Madrid as a matter of routine.

Spanish police ran it through their national Veritas database and came up with a match for the Fuengirola attack.

In 2011, Romano’s lawyers appealed his convictions but the Spanish court demanded a fresh sample of Dixie’s DNA.

Last December Dixie, who has a string of convictions for sex attacks, gave a new saliva sample at HMP Frankland. Romano’s lawyers sent the results to the National Forensic Investigation Agency and this week Dutch officials confirmed it undisputedly matches that found on the first victim.

When giving the saliva sample, Dixie told police officers he 'may be involved' in the rape in Spain.

But his confession to Ms Imamkhan last week was the first time he has spoken at length about the attack in Spain.

Sally Anne's mother is supporting Romano's appeal against his convictions. Romano has sent her a message thanking her for her support.

Last year, she told MailOnline she is dismayed at the thought that if the Spanish authorities had investigated the case more thoroughly, her daughter might still be alive. 'I am absolutely appalled,' she said. 'An innocent man has spent 11 years of a 16 year sentence in prison for a crime he did not do.

'I feel very strongly that if the Spanish authorities had done their jobs properly, my Sally Anne would be alive.

'He did not assault those three women in Spain - Sally Anne's killer did. He is someone's son and he is locked up for something he didn't do.'

Original report here

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