A pregnant mum-of-three who police believe was attacked by Mark Dixie just 45 minutes before he murdered Sally Anne Bowman says she is convinced he was trying to knock her unconscious so he could sexually assault her.

The woman, who does not want to be identified, has spoken out following Dixie's conviction for Sally Anne's murder on Friday.

And she has also revealed she was bitten during the attack - in the same way Dixie bit Sally Anne.

Speaking exclusively to the Croydon Guardian she said: "Looking back I still can't believe I survived and that Sally Anne was killed. I do feel guilt about that. She was just 18 and had her whole life ahead of her and I was a 36-year-old woman then."

The 38-year-old, who is days away from giving birth to her fourth child, has recounted the horrifying moment she came face to face with Dixie in the early hours of September 25, 2005.

She had been driving through South Croydon around 3.30am when car trouble forced her to pull over in Sanderstead Road, opposite the recreation ground.

She tried to use her mobile but had to get out of the car to get a better reception. It was then she was approached by Dixie.

'I'm sorry' The woman said: "I don't know where he came from.

"It made me jump, but then I relaxed. He didn't look threatening, he looked normal - quite nice-looking and presentable.

"He was wearing a ribbed neck jumper and he didn't smell of alcohol. There was nothing scary about him.

"I must have unconsciously looked him up and down because it was then I saw the knife tucked into his trouser waistband.

"I gave him my handbag but he just looked at me and said, I'm sorry'.

"He then raised his hand. It was very controlled, his face was expressionless.

"He hit me four or five times with a metal object.

"As quickly as the attack began it stopped. He just picked up my bag and phone and walked away from me.

"He crossed the road then turned back and we stared at each other.

"I had no idea what he was going to do next. It was at that moment a taxi approached and he ran off."

Dixie made off down Purley Road with the woman's red Sagem mobile phone and her black shoulder bag.

Bite mark During the attack the phone's re-dial button was hit, accidentally calling the victim's friend, who heard Dixie panting and retching afterwards.

Police initially thought the woman had been the victim of a violent robbery but detectives soon linked the attack with Sally Anne Bowman's murder.

It happened just 45 minutes before Sally Anne was killed and just four streets away from the scene of the model's murder.

Like Sally Anne and the Thai woman Dixie is thought to have stabbed and sexually assaulted in Perth, the Sanderstead Road victim had her belongings stolen - items which have never been recovered.

"I asked the police if my attack could be linked with Sally Anne's murder," added the woman. "A few days later I was contacted by the murder investigation team and my suspicions were confirmed."

During the attack the woman sustained an injury to her finger which damaged a tendon which, she claims, police now think was a bite mark.

"They had specialists analyse the photographs of my finger and I was told the injury was consistent with a bite mark."

Attacks linked Police say they are convinced Dixie carried out the attack in Sanderstead Road.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Cundy said at a press conference last week: "Dixie went out that night looking for it. He had split up with his girlfriend Stacey. Dixie is a very sexually active male in lots of different ways and that night he wanted it and knew he couldn't get it in the normal way.

"He threatened a woman in Sanderstead Road but was disturbed by a taxi driver. He ran to safety and he knew Blenheim Crescent as he used to live there we believe he wanted somewhere he felt comfortable.

"And there he saw Sally Anne and Lewis in the car and Sally was in the passenger seat - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that she was going to get out. And he lay in wait for her.

"He remains on bail for the Sanderstead Road attack and he is the only suspect."

The Sanderstead Road victim did not give evidence at Dixie's trial because she is heavily pregnant and feared the trauma could harm her unborn baby.

She added: "My waters started to break at 22 weeks, I couldn't take the risk."

She added: "This whole incident has affected my children more than me.

"They knew I had been robbed but I tried to hide the link with Sally Anne from them.

"My son and daughter were old enough to know there was more to it. There were police in the house all the time and I eventually had to tell them.

"They slept in my bed with me for a year after it happened. They were terrified."

Since discovering Dixie's history as a sexual predator the woman says she now thinks he wanted to knock her out to commit a further assault.

She said: "At the time I never knew why he attacked me. But since I found out about Dixie's history I now think he was trying to knock me unconscious so he could sexually assault me.

"That's his style, isn't it? He uses violence first, makes the woman incapacitated so she can't fight back and then sexually assaults them.

"Perhaps if he had knocked me out he would have dragged me into the park and raped me, I don't know. All I know is that I was very lucky.

"I do wonder what made Dixie the way he is. What has struck me, this week in particular, is the parallels with Dixie and the Suffolk Strangler.

"Both of them were rejected by their mothers. I wonder if that contributed to their obvious hatred of women."