Archive for Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Serial killings put England on edge

December 13, 2006

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— The search for a serial killer who preys on prostitutes in eastern England intensified Tuesday with the discovery of two more bodies, and detectives warned sex workers "to get off the streets as soon as possible."

The two bodies found Tuesday have not been identified, but the detective leading the investigation said it was likely they were those of Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell, two prostitutes who had been missing for days.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull of Suffolk police advised Ipswich prostitutes not to go out to work.

"We have got three prostitutes murdered, now possibly another two. I do not know what stronger warning there can be to get off the streets as soon as possible," he said.

Detectives already were investigating the deaths of three women, whose naked bodies were found a few miles apart. One body was found in a stream, another in a pond and a third in the woods, about 30 yards from a road.

The two bodies discovered Tuesday were lying near Levington, Suffolk, a village about five miles south of Ipswich. The corpses of the five dead women all have been found within a few miles of Ipswich.

The killing has stirred memories of the so-called Yorkshire Ripper, one of Britain's worst serial killers. Peter Sutcliffe admitted to killing 13 women, mostly prostitutes, in the 1970s. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison.

His reign of terror recalled Jack the Ripper, the notorious Victorian serial killer who murdered at least five East London prostitutes in 1888. He was never caught and speculation about his identity continues.

The latest deaths have drawn intense media interest, with Ipswich's afternoon newspaper labeling the prostitutes' killer "the Suffolk Strangler."

Police said they suspected a serial killer in the Suffolk cases, but were not ruling out multiple suspects. Police said there was also no indication women other than prostitutes were targeted.

The three victims who have been named were identified as Gemma Adams, 25, whose body was found Dec. 2; Tania Nicol, 19, whose body was found Friday; and 24-year-old Anneli Alderton, whose body was found Sunday.

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