The brutal murder of a young girl, an international investigation and the crucial DNA sample found at the scene that would bring a serial sex attacker to justice.

World at her feet

"A bright star in ascendance has been extinguished by one man's evil intent."
Reverend Stephen Coe
BBC News Online, November 2005

Sally Anne Bowman is born to Paul and Linda on 11 September 1987 in Carshalton. She’s the youngest of four with three older sisters Nicole, Michelle and Danielle. Living in the London suburb of Croydon, Sally Anne is a born performer. She loves nothing more than singing, dancing and entertaining. As a teenager she joins the Croydon-based Brit School for Performing Arts whose former pupils have included Amy Winehouse and Katie Melua. Only recently she recorded herself singing the Celine Dion classic ‘My Heart Will Go On’. She frequently performs karaoke at the local pub, singing away to the delight of family and friends. Sally Anne is the complete package with the looks, the voice and the acting talent which could make her a success.

Working part-time as a hairdresser and model, she’s recently won a competition as the face of Swatch watches. She’s also caught the attention of a leading model agency who wants to sign her up. Her dreams of being on the front cover of Vogue may not be as far away as she thinks.

24/25 September 2005
It’s Saturday evening and having had a busy day working at the hair salon, Sally Anne is now at her mum’s house relaxing. Having turned 18 less than two weeks ago, she’s still in the mood to celebrate and is getting ready for a girls’ night out in Croydon. At 6.05pm her sister arrives to pick her up and as she leaves her mum’s flat, she waves goodbye and thanks her for letting her stay, saying a final ‘love you Mum’.

Sally Anne’s boyfriend Lewis Sproston is also out that night partying in Kingston-upon-Thames, with his friends. They have an on/off relationship and both find it difficult to trust each other. Sally Anne is convinced that Lewis is out with other girls. And Lewis is certain Sally Anne will be out flirting with boys. Winding each other up, they spend Saturday night on their mobile phones texting, calling and bickering. It’s a typical teenage romance.

At 10pm inside Lloyds Bar Sally Anne meets her sister Nicole. They spend the rest of the night dancing. By 1am Sally Anne has returned to a friend’s home, and by 2.30am she decides to see Lewis and asks to be picked up from Croydon town centre to be taken back to her flat. Annoyed at being asked, Lewis reluctantly drives over. Angry with Sally Anne, they argue on the way home and spend almost two hours bickering in the car outside her flat in Blenheim Crescent, South Croydon. It’s during this argument that Lewis believes he sees a man looking into the car. Eventually Lewis loses his patience and leaves Sally Anne just outside her house. He sees her walking towards her home and deciding she will be safe, he drives off. What happens next will haunt Lewis for the rest of his life.

At 4.15am, barely 10 yards from her front door, Sally Anne is brutally attacked. Her assailant is armed with a knife and stabs her seven times. Her screams are heard by a couple of neighbours at 4.20am. Hesitating, the murderer waits in the bushes for any lights to come on. When they don’t, he continues. The attacker violently rapes her, savagely biting her.

As he disappears into the night, he takes with him some of her clothes, handbag and mobile phone. These will be his trophies.

At 6.30am a neighbour who heard the screams finds Sally Anne’s body in a pool of blood.