Mother of victim did not know her daughter was a prostitute

The mother of one of the victims of the alleged serial killer Steve Wright told Ipswich Crown Court yesterday that she had "no idea" her daughter was working as a prostitute.

Kerry Nicol was giving evidence from behind a screen at the trial of the forklift truck driver accused of killing five prostitutes in Ipswich before dumping their naked bodies. All the women were discovered over a 10-day period in December 2006.

Ms Nicol, a care home assistant said her daughter Tania, who was 19 when she died, had done well at school but started taking heroin after leaving home to live in a hostel when she was 16. The drugs caused the teenager's health and appearance to deterioraterapidly after she moved out, as she lost weight and the condition of her skin worsened, she said.

In the weeks before Tania's disappearance, on 30 October 2006, Ms Nicol said she discovered syringes in her daughter's bedroom, but her daughter insisted they belonged to a female friend and she was no longer taking drugs.

Tania had asked for help to get off the drugs, Ms Nicol told the court, adding: "I sent her away for a while." In 2004 her daughter moved to a flat in Ipswich.

The mother also indicated that, after Tania returned to the family home in late December 2005, she had failed to pick up on clues that her daughter was working as a prostitute. "She said she had a job and was managing all right," Ms Nicol told the court. "She told me a few different things. She was a hairdresser at one point. Another time behind a bar in a pub."

But the court heard that on one occasion Tania's mother had answered a call from a massage parlour called Cleopatra's asking for "Chantelle".

She said she had also found a similarly addressed letter in Tania's bedroom and that on two occasions men she did not know called at the house.

Ms Nicol, who also has a 16-year-old son, last saw her daughter, who was wearing cut-off jeans and pink high heeled shoes, at 10.45pm on the night of her disappearance. She said her daughter had told her she was going into town to see friends.

The court also heard evidence from PC Janet Humphrey, who patrols Ipswich's red-light area, near the Portman Road football ground. Between 30 and 50 women worked the area "occasionally" while a core group of between 15 and 20 were regulars.

Mr Wright, 49, denies murdering Gemma Adams, 25, Tania Nicol, 19, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29. The trial continues.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam