FOR months, grieving mum Linda Bowman would return to the area where her daughter was killed and scour the scene for clues.
She and her family would dig in bushes and hunt through trees in the hope of finding the final piece of the puzzle of Sally Anne’s murder — her belongings from that fateful night.
Today, in a heartbreaking interview to mark 15 years since her daughter’s death, she pleads with killer Mark Dixie to finally reveal where the treasured items are hidden.
In a message to Dixie — serving 39 years in jail for the teen’s murder — Linda said: “I would go to prison for life for you to feel a bit of what we’ve been through.
“We relive Sally’s murder every single day. You took everything from us.
“But there is one part of Sally still out there and the least you could do is give to us the things she had on her that night.
“Where is her Prada handbag? Where is her purse, her photos, her white cardigan which she loved, her passport, which she took with her for ID?
“Please give us an indication of where they are. It’s eating us up.”
With her three other daughters — Danielle, 39, Nicole, 37, and Michelle, 35 — Linda has spent “hours upon hours” hunting for Sally Anne’s possessions. The desperate mum has even written to Dixie — with no response — asking where the items are.
Linda, 58, has also tried to help other mothers pin down their child’s killer and today calls for a new law that would force police to keep searching for the belongings of murder victims.
The brutal stabbing of aspiring model Sally Anne stunned the nation in 2005.
She was killed in a sex attack on her driveway at 4am after returning home from a night out in Croydon, South London, to celebrate her 18th birthday.
Dixie stabbed her seven times outside her flat before returning to have sex with her as she lay dead or dying. He then dumped her body next to a skip.
The pub chef was arrested a year later after his DNA, taken following a bar brawl, matched samples on Sally Anne’s body. In 2008 he was jailed for life for her murder.
In 2017 he was given two more life sentences after admitting attacks on two more women. Dixie, 50, will not be considered for parole until 2040, when he will be 69.
But for Linda, Sally Anne’s murder is an experience she relives every day.
She said: “There are three seconds every morning when I’m OK with the world then it dawns on me that Sally is not here.
“I have ways of getting through. I talk to her all the time around the house, I see signs in everything I do that could be from her.
“I sleep on her pillow, which I spray with her favourite Dolce & Gabbana Blue fragrance.
“But I know that the things Sally had with her on the night she was killed are still out there.”
Dixie, who has reportedly become pals with notorious killers Peter Sutcliffe, Levi Bellfield and Ian Huntley in HMP Frankland, confessed to the detail of Sally Anne’s death for the first time three years ago.
But he insisted to police her belongings were stashed in a black plastic bag next to her body in the skip.
Linda said: “I know it is a lie. The night Sally died every skip in the area was searched and all the bin collections were cancelled, so it doesn’t make any sense they were disposed of.
“I am certain Dixie has hidden them with the perverted intention of getting out one day and retrieving them.
“It’s like he loves the power of knowing how much we want those last bits of Sally back.
“It’s why myself and Sally’s sisters have searched all around where Sally was killed. We go through parkland, look in bushes and go through trees. We’ve covered every blade of grass.
“We’ve spent days doing it. We were so desperate that one of the girls had a dream Sally’s items were under the Croydon flyover, so we went and searched there.
“We’re at our wits’ end. I want to hold Sally’s white cardi again and reclaim what’s ours.
“I’ve written to Dixie three times now but the coward has given me no response.
“I think there should be a law that makes it mandatory for the police to keep searching.
“It could potentially lead to evidence of other murders that could have been committed by Dixie too.”
Two years ago police probed a theory that Dixie could have been involved in the brutal 1999 killing of mum-of-three Jennifer Kiely, 35, whose burned body was found in a bus stop after being stabbed 16 times and sexually abused.
It led to Linda being contacted by a member of Jennifer’s family. And she promised to do all she could to help solve the murder.
Linda said: “I used what I learned from Sally’s murder. I studied maps. I pieced timelines together and looked into where people were staying and how far it was from the murder scene. I wanted to help someone else.”
Dixie was eventually eliminated from the inquiry by cops.
Grandmother-of-ten Linda also still regrets that due to a lack of DNA tracing at the time it took nine months to catch Dixie.
She said: “I’m increasingly in favour of everyone being DNA registered from birth so that any brutal murder or death would be solved without the agonising heartache we had.
“It might sound tough but it would have prevented Dixie from committing other crimes.”
Just days ago, on September 25, Linda solemnly marked the 15-year anniversary of Sally Anne’s death with her closest family. A week before they marked what would have been her 33rd birthday by releasing balloons and a dove. Linda said: “We laughed and remembered what a funny and lovely girl she was.
“Her birthday is a great chance to be together and as close to Sally as possible.”
Linda often finds peace sitting at the back of her house looking at a mini garden Sally had made for her out of dozens of concrete frogs.
She said: “I remember Sally and I used to sit out the back and she’d say to me how one day, when she’d made her first million, she’d make me my own tropical garden.
“I still hope one day I’ll do that in her memory. It was the only dream she wasn’t able to fulfil.”
And like every other year, Linda wrote a letter with words she would want Sally to hear.
The note read: “I am strong, Sally, but I’m tired, I want the pain to go away, but I’m afraid of that too, afraid you’ll fade away and I’ll be left with nothing but a void that can never be filled. Sally, it is an honour to call you my baby girl. Love you to the stars and back again.
“And I know every day without you is another day closer to us being together again, and until that day you will be for ever in my heart.”
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