Ipswich residents: 'We are horrified. This has always been a nice place'

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The Independent Online

It was an unceremonious end for a woman whose life was cut short by the serial killer who has brought fear to this quiet corner of Suffolk.

After more than 24 hours under a white forensic tent in an oak copse close to the A14 where she was dumped by her killer, his latest victim was taken away.

A second murdered woman, also dumped on scrubland outside the village of Levington near Ipswich, lay nearby in a second white tent as officers continued searching for evidence. Despite no formal identification, police said they assumed the women were the missing Ipswich prostitutes Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29.

As darkness fell, villagers contemplated their brutal introduction to the killing spree.

On Sunday, the body of Anneli Alderton, 24, was found in the neighbouring village of Nacton.

Then, two days later, the massive police hunt moved even closer with the discovery of the fourth and fifth victims within walking distance of the hamlet.

Previously, the most important event Rosanne, 68, and Derek Girling, 75, were preparing for was decorating the church's Christmas tree in preparation for this weekend's candlelit carol service.

And the only crimes to disturb the peace were the arrival of the odd joy-rider speeding down the road.

"We are shocked and horrified. I won't go out on my own after dusk now," said Mrs Girling.

"This has always been a nice place. We live a quiet sort of life. Things just pass us by," added her husband.

"Everyone is frightened and wary. I usually go down to the creek but my husband doesn't want me to walk there," said a dog walker, who is 64.

Neighbour Roy Ledgerwood, 71, agreed: "We may be three miles from the boundaries of Ipswich but you might as well be miles away here. It is a lovely spot."

He added: "It is absolutely terrible. We have stopped the girls going down to the river on their own.

"I go up and down past that road all the time and never saw anything. Now I find myself looking. Those poor women. He is an absolute monster." There was an air of sombre concentration at the site, cordoned off by police tape, as officers combed the undergrowth for evidence in the weak afternoon light.

The two women, both forced on to the streets by their heroin addictions, had been lying just 150 yards apart. A police cordon has been set up to avoid cross-contamination of the scenes.

Police do not believe that Annette and Paula, who worked the town's red light district, were killed there. They were simply carelessly dumped in the wooded area by a serial killer who apparently felt no need to cover his tracks as he taunted the county's massive police investigation.

Shortly after 3pm on Tuesday, a walker on the Old Felixstowe Road spotted the first body and alerted the police.

The crew of a reconnaisance helicopter sent up to photograph the scene saw the body of a second woman laying nearby.

Last night floodlights and a small green fire service tent serving teas were evidence that detectives and forensic experts at the scene were planning to work through the night.