Victim 3: Anneli Alderton: Her life was chaotic - her death, tragic

The eyes are sunken and dark-rimmed. The face is haunted. The photograph of Anneli Alderton released by police conveys a great deal about the background of the tragic woman whose body was discovered on Sunday, the third of the five murder victims in Ipswich.

Like the other victims she frequently worked as a prostitute around Ipswich and, like the others, she appears to have led what police call a " chaotic lifestyle", with periods of drug and alcohol abuse, involvement in petty crime and without a settled home. One woman who knew her described her as "a bit of a mad one".

Ms Alderton, who was 24 and who had a five-year-old son called Freddy, appeared to live some of the time with her mother, Maire, and her mother's partner, Tim Smith, in Harwich, Essex. Her naked body was found in woodland at Nacton, on the outskirts of Ipswich.

Maire Alderton told The Guardian: "I have just come back from identifying her body and am just trying to hold things together, I am trying to grieve and look after her five-year-old son at the same time."

Some of the time Ms Alderton is believed to have stayed in Colchester, although she does not seem to have had a permanent address there. She was last seen on the evening of 3 December, at Harwich station, boarding a train for Colchester.

A neighbour in Harwich, Eileen Woodford, 63, said: "Anneli was a lovely-looking girl. She was extremely pretty and was always very neat and well-turned out. She was always very polite and would say hello." She said Ms Alderton's son was often at the house. "I can't believe he has lost his mum so close to Christmas. It is absolutely horrible."

Ms Alderton was remembered as an intelligent student at Copleston High School, gaining good grades in exams. But her behaviour became rebellious after the death of her father Roy, from lung cancer, when she was 16. Her step-sister Jane Lowe, 25, who lived with Ms Alderton for three years while they were both teenagers, said she had "got into the wrong crowd".

Ms Lowe told the Daily Mail: "When her dad died her world fell apart. She was very vulnerable. She was not a prostitute through choice. It was because she was hooked on drugs and it's an easy way to make money."

She said her step-sister was not worried about the dangers of prostitution and would have put up a fight against her killer.

In August, Ms Alderton was arrested in Colchester after a fight outside a public house, during which she attacked a police officer. She had also spent some time in drug rehabilitation.

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