My Week: Seven days in the life of Helen, a Hull prostitute

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The Independent Culture
HELEN KNEW two of the three Hull prostitutes - Natalie Clubb and Hayley Morgan - whose recent deaths raise fears of a serial killer. In her late twenties, she is separated from her husband, with whom she has three young children. Helen has been a prostitute since she was 17, stopping for several years during her marriage. She solicits along Myton Street, just as the three dead women did.


We go to town to buy stuff for the kids' bedrooms. Their father smashed everything up when he left last year, so I've slowly been buying things. No holiday this summer, but we're hoping to go to Turkey next year. Afterwards, we sit outside the pub drinking a couple of Cokes while the kids play. Nobody is really talking about the killings. They don't know what I do. After the pub, I get the children fed, bathed and into their pyjamas and I dress for work. A friend looks after the children - she always knows where I am. I carry a phone. I usually go out about eight o'clock in long boots and a very short black dress. I always make myself up. You have to look attractive. There's a lot of competition out there. Sometimes there can be 20 or 30 girls on the street and when there are only five cars going around, it's pretty hard work.

But it's a good night for me - two regulars, for pounds 60 and pounds 50. The 60- pounder asks me to come to his hotel. I've already taken him on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. I'm home for 11.40pm, so we go out for a curry.


A lazy day, watching TV with the kids. The little one is mad about Drop Dead Fred. I can relax - this is my night off. When I'm working, I'm fine. I've learned to switch my body off. But years ago I used to get upset. I used to wonder why I do this. I'm not a drug user and I didn't have any children. I was spending the money on clubbing, buying clothes. But now, with having the kids, I feel I'm doing it for them, to give them the extras in life.

I enjoy work. That sounds daft, but before their dad left he used to say I was fat and he used to put me down. But when I go to work, clients say nice things like, "You're too pretty to be doing this," and, "You have a beautiful chest." It gives you confidence.


Have a really bad hangover, so I stay in bed till one o'clock. A neighbour takes the kids to the park. When I go to work, the street is full of reporters, the vice squad and television people. If it wasn't for my regulars, I wouldn't be able to make much. And the girls on drugs are in trouble - one of them says she has been ill for two days because she can't earn enough for a hit.

The police are asking about Natalie, Hayley and Samantha. I knew Natalie. I don't think a client has killed her. She always had her boyfriend with her. I'd be more willing to believe there was a serial killer if it was someone like me who was killed, someone who goes out on her own.

And I don't think Hayley was murdered. She was quite a pretty girl, but every time I saw her she was absolutely off her face, high as a kite. She overdosed and I think someone must have got worried about the body and left her in the alley.


The first really hot day. I get the kids up early and do all the housework. We've got the paddling pool out for the first time in ages. And then we have a tea party for them in the afternoon. But it isn't a good night. I take a regular client, booked for nine o'clock, for pounds 45 at his place. But when I'm on the street, it's deserted. The BBC are out with their cameras and floodlights set up. The girls all have their own opinions about what's happened. Some say what I say about Natalie. Others think that there is a serial killer and they're frightened to work. But it hasn't stopped them.

I've never had a problem with a client. I'm not a drug user. I've got my wits about me. I'm polite to clients and they're polite to me. As soon as I get in the car, they pay up front, get on with the business and that's that. Usually, they don't ask for anything strange. If I thought there was a serial killer out there, if I had any doubt in my mind, I wouldn't go out on the street. I'd just sit at home and take my regulars and manage somehow.


Wake up with a cold and a bad chest. I'm bunged up with sore eyes. I hate working like this. You can't be bothered. You have to be full of smiles, feel your best, look your best. But when you feel like this, it doesn't work. The ice cream van comes round as usual around four and the kids get screwballs - ice cream with chewing gum at the bottom. Then it's back to work.

I'm standing out for four hours. Not a single client. That's never happened before. Nobody is out - just me and one other girl. We call it the ghost town. The news says the police will be going around clubs and pubs and if clients don't come forward, they'll start visiting them at home. That's really killed business.


My cold's worse. Go to town shopping - some Christmas bits for the kids. Another slow night. You always think, "I'll wait another ten minutes. After a while, things should pick up." It went quiet when Hayley died and when Samantha died. But after a few weeks it always picks up again.


Normally my best night of the week. I usually take one at three in the afternoon and another regular at 11 at night. That's pounds 100. God knows what it will be like on the street. This is driving me mad. I wish they'd find out how Natalie died. I just wish all this was over and done with. Then life could get back to normal.