Victim 4: Paula Clennell: 'It was the only way to fund her addiction'

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The Independent Online

With chilling premonition, Paula Clennell told the television interviewer that she had become a "bit wary about getting into cars".

The 24-year-old, who is now believed to be one of the latest victims of the killing spree in Ipswich which has claimed at least five lives, had been interviewed by the media after the discovery of the body of Gemma Adams on 2 December.

Ms Adams' s body was the first of the sex workers to be discovered and the two women were apparently acquaintances.

Then, shortly after speaking to ITV News last week, the prostitute ­ and mother of three ­ went missing.

Yesterday, just hours before two more bodies were found, Ms Clennell's father, Brian, appealed to his daughter to get in touch.

Mr Clennell, who lives in Berwick, said he had not spoken to her for several years since he divorced her mother and had no idea that she was working in prostitution until she was reported missing.

Describing her as a "kind-hearted and loving soul", he said: " I was shocked when I found out. I can only think she has got in with the wrong crowd."

He added: "You do not have anything to worry about. You have a good mother and a loving sister and they just want you back. I'm hoping for the best, that she is with friends. I'm just hoping for the best."

But that hope appeared to fade yesterday afternoon.

Despite acknowledging in the interview before she went missing the danger that she faced, Ms Clennell said she would have to continue with street sex work in Ipswich because she "needed the money".

Ms Clennell said the police presence had led to a reduction in clients. She said she felt "sick" after hearing about the murder of Ms Adams. "It would be safer to get a flat and work from there, but it's getting a flat that's the problem."

Despite being beaten up on one occasion and having a couple of "nasty experiences", Ms Clennell said she had carried on working.

And after the interview, she walked back towards the red light district.

She has not been seen since the early hours of Sunday when she left a house in Ipswich on a bicycle. Later that day she phoned a friend saying she was looking for somewhere to stay.

The body of Anneli Alderton was found on the same day and, on Monday, Ms Clennell's family reported her missing following publicity about the murders.

Ms Clennell moved to East Anglia a decade ago following the separation of her parents, Brian and Isabella. At 16, she was publicly commended for helping a pensioner who fell and hurt herself, and her picture appeared in the local paper.

But within a year, her mother said, she had started using heroin. Within a few years she was addicted and working in prostitution to feed her habit.

Her father said she remained in touch with her sister, Alice, who has children of her own. She told her mother just months ago that she was terrified of being on the streets but wanted money to buy a house and fight for the return of her three daughters, who had been taken into care and adopted when social workers found she was addicted to heroin. Police said Ms Clennell appeared to have no permanent home and used several addresses.

Elton Norris, the father of Ms Clennell's three children, said: "I've always hated what she does for a living but it was the only way she could fund her addiction. Some weeks she would blow thousands of pounds on drugs."

Mr Clennell appealed to sex workers to help arrest the killer. He said yesterday: "This girl was given drugs, given them freely to get them hooked on drugs, which I believe is the truth and it is sad that they got on drugs and all I can appeal for is that anyone, any lady of the night ­ that's what I call them ­ come forward and please help arrest this sicko pervert."

He said he would search the streets of Ipswich for the killer who "may see [prostitutes] as evil because of what they do, but he is the evil one. My Paula is not evil. She is a sweet girl and she would not stand a chance against this brute."