In Search of the Suffolk Strangler in Search of the Suffolk Strangler

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 13, 2006 | Go to article overview

In Search of the Suffolk Strangler in Search of the Suffolk Strangler


Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

THE Suffolk Strangler has killed five women in just six weeks. But just who is he and what is motivating his killing spree?

Criminologists and forensic psychologists in the UK and abroad are offering their advice in the desperate race against time to find him.Ged Bailes, head of forensic psychology at the Norvic Clinic in Norwich, is convinced the strangler has an "intrinsic desire to kill".

He told the Evening Standard today: "It's a drive from within him and not a response to external factors, meaning that it is very likely he will not stop until he is caught. The desire doesn't go away. It may be suppressed for a while but it will return."

Mr Bailes believes the killer is "goading" police while enjoying the power and control over the women he kills.

The killer may have difficulty forming relationships with women but equally, suggests Mr Bailes, he could easily be leading a double life - an apparently devoted husband and father. Prostitutes may simply represent the easiest target but any woman could become his next victim.

Professor David Wilson, professor of criminology at the University of Central England, suggests that the Suffolk Strangler is an "organised" rather than "disorganised" killer - a classification used by the FBI when hunting down serial killers.

"Killers who are disorganised are caught quite quickly and our Suffolk killer has not struck me as being disorganised - he knows something about forensic science, which is why he removed the clothes of his victims and placed two of them in a stream," explained professor Wilson.

He cautions over placing too much emphasis on what is motivating the killing spree. The strangler could be a

"visionary" killer - who hears voices in the way the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, did. But he could be a "mission" killer setting himself up as judge and jury or a "hedonistic" killer doing it for kicks. Serial killers themselves often cannot - or subsequently refuse - to explain just why they did what they did.

Professor Wilson considers why the killing has started now. "He might have only recently been released from jail or perhaps he was in a relationship that he valued and which kept him occupied," he said.

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