Mark Dixie
Convicted murderer Mark Dixie has confessed to the rape of a woman in Spain.Channel 4

The murderer of Sally Anne Bowman has confessed to the brutal rape of another woman in Spain, for which an innocent man has spent nearly 12 years in prison.

Mark Dixie, 44, was found guilty of the murder of the 18-year-old model from Croydon in 2005.

He is now also suspected of attacking three women on the Costa del Sol where he was living before Sally Anne's murder, after he dramatically confessed to raping one of the women in Spain.

Dutchman Romano van der Dussen, 42, was jailed for the Spanish attacks and is currently in prison serving a 15 and a half year sentence, despite the fact that no forensic or physical evidence linked him to the crimes. He was arrested after one of the victims identified him from photographs in police files.

During the trial prosecutors claimed that all three attacks, occurring within close proximity of one another, must have been carried out by the same man. Dussen has always protested his innocence.

Romano van der Dussen
Dutchman Romano van der Dussen, 42, has served 11 years of a 15 and a half year sentence, after being falsely accused of raping three women in Spain.Channel 4

In a dramatic twist to the case, last week, during an interview with Romano's lawyer Rachel Imamkhan, Dixie broke down and confessed to raping one of the Spanish woman in a drink and drug-fuelled rage in the seaside resort of Fuengirola in August 2003, the Daily Mail reports.

Ms Imamkhan, legal director of PrisonLAW which specialises in miscarriages of justice, is gathering evidence for Romano's appeal against his conviction for the three sex attacks. The investigation has also revealed DNA analysis, carried out at the Dutch National Forensic Investigation Agency, confirms that Dixie carried out the attack.

In a statement, PrisonLAW 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. Dixie claims he does not remember the attacks on the other two women."

Dixie, a pub chef from Streatham, South London, was living in Fuengirola when the three Spanish women were attacked within two hours of each other in the early hours of August 10, 2003. Soon after the attacks, he returned to the UK from Spain. In September 2005, he attacked 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 after a fight in a pub and was linked to Sally Anne's murder through his DNA. In February 2008, he was jailed for life and sentenced to 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.

Last December Dixie gave a new saliva sample at HMP Frankland. As he gave the saliva sample, he reportedly told police officers he "may be involved" in the rape in Spain.

Sally Anne's mother, Linda Bowman, who is supporting Romano's appeal against his convictions, earlier expressed her dismay 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."

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