Man held over prostitute murders

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The Independent Online

Detectives investigating the alleged murders of five prostitutes were today questioning a 37-year-old man.







Police said the man was arrested at his home near Felixstowe, Suffolk, shortly before 7.30am.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull said the man had been arrested on suspicion of the murder of five prostitutes whose bodies had been found near villages south of Ipswich, Suffolk, during the past three weeks.

Police refused to name the man.

But sources close to the investigation said he was Tom Stephens, of Trimley St Martin, near Felixstowe.







Detectives announced the news of the arrest at a media conference at Suffolk Police Headquarters, near Ipswich, this morning.

They said the arrested man was being questioned at a police station in the county but did not say where the station was.

Police launched a major inquiry after Tania Nicol, 19, disappeared on October 30.

On November 15 a second woman, Gemma Adams, 25, also disappeared.

Miss Adams' body was found in a stream at Hintlesham on December 2. Miss Nicol's body was found in the same stream at Copdock on December 8.

On December 10 the body of Anneli Alderton, 24, was found in woods at Nacton and on December 12 the bodies of Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, were found in woods at Levington.

Detectives said all the dead women worked as prostitutes in Ipswich and they were all found naked .

Police said Miss Alderton had been strangled and Miss Clennell died as a result of "compression to the neck".

They said it was not clear how Miss Adams, Miss Nicol and Miss Nicholls died.

Officers said toxicology tests will be carried out on the bodies of all five women to establish whether any unusual substances were present.







An inquest into the death of Miss Adams was opened and adjourned earlier this month.

Inquests into the deaths of the four other women were due to open this morning but the hearings were cancelled shortly before news of the arrest was announced.

More than 500 officers from more than 30 police forces are working on the investigation.

Police say they have received more than 10,000 calls from the public offering information and are analysing around 10,000 hours of CCTV footage seized in and around Ipswich during the past week.

Last week police released CCTV footage of Miss Nicol and Miss Alderton as they attempted to establish the women's movements before their disappearance.