Victims families: 'I was gobsmacked to hear my granddaughter was dead, but the Anni I knew died years before'

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The Independent Online

Fresh details emerged yesterday of the victims of the Suffolk serial killer. The grandmother of Anneli Alderton, whose body was found on Sunday, recalled how the once contented girl's life changed after the death of her father.

Joan Molloy, 81, said Anneli, then 17, ran away on the day of her father's funeral and was abused by a man who introduced her to hard drugs.

She said Anneli spent years in and out of prison and her son Freddy, five, was eventually adopted by her mother Maire, 49. But she remembered the period when Anneli, in her early teens, lived with her grandparents in Cyprus with her older brother, Tom. She said: "She was a perfectly nice little girl and had a happy upbringing. Anni spoke Greek and got good grades in English and art.

"I was gobsmacked to hear my granddaughter was dead, but the Anni I knew as a little girl had died years before. I remember her as a normal, artistic, bright little girl - happy and alive. Anni has been a girl more sinned against than sinning, but became addicted to heroin."

"She got pregnant when she was just 17 and her mother made a strong effort to get Anni clean and shopped her to the police.

"Eight officers came round to the house and she was locked up. But it did no good."

Ms Molloy, a mother of four, recalled how she had seen Anneli last Christmas but was left saddened by the change she saw in her. She added: "Anni had spent as long as two years in prison and was released shortly before Christmas. She upset everybody at Christmas, because she was a totally changed character with a terrible vocabulary. There was swearing and arguing, Anni was not the little girl I knew."

One friend of Anneli, a prostitute called Lou, said the pair struck up a friendship through drug dealers that they both used.

She also spent time with her last year in Holloway prison in London and later in Peterborough prison in Cambridgeshire.

She added: "The last time I saw her she was happy and she didn't have a care in the world. She was just a lovely girl."

A former soldier who lived with Paula Clennell, 24, said the prostitute - whose body was believed to have been dumped by the killer outside the village of Levington - told him she knew she would always die young.

Brian, 51, who refused to give his surname and who lived with Ms Clennell for five months, described her as sharp and wily, adding: "I can't believe she would be daft enough to get caught as one of those girls in the wood.

"She did say she never expected to live long, not longer than 25. She was adamant about that as if it was some kind of premonition." The pair lived together after she knocked on his door in Elliott Street, Ipswich, in the early hours one morning.

Paula, a mother-of-three, was working as a prostitute when she met Brian and he recalled her serious drug problem. He claimed that she could spend up to £500 on drugs in a day. "I would say that there are drug users and drug abusers - Paula was definitely the latter. Whatever she had, she wanted more."

A close friend of Annette Nicholls, 29 - last night feared dead as police carried out post- mortem examinations on two bodies found dumped outside Ipswich - said Ms Nicholls must have known her killer. Tracy Russell, a former prostitute, said: "I was speaking to Annette and I think this was the night she went missing and I seen her and a car stopped near her and she wouldn't get in because she didn't know him... so it has definitely got to be someone these girls know."

Tracy added that she also knew Gemma Adams, the first victim to be found. She said: "Gemma was a lovely girl, really down to earth."

She also knew Tania Nicol, whose disappearance on 7 November triggered police concerns about a serial killer.

She revealed that Tania had only been on the streets for a month, adding: "She's only 19 and her mum found out she was working. Gemma and Tania used to work in a parlour together, so when they went missing we thought it was because of that."

Other friends described how the teenager slid into drugs and prostitution after growing up in an under-priveleged but loving home. Susie Coburn said: "Tania loved music and when the Spice Girls came out she just loved everything they did. She was always very funny."

Her mother, Kerry, added: "She got in with the wrong crowd. That should be a warning to anyone. I knew nothing of her secret life until police told me."