Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Victims 'Knew the Strangler'; Prostitutes May Have Been Lured to Their Deaths by a Man They Trusted

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Victims 'Knew the Strangler'; Prostitutes May Have Been Lured to Their Deaths by a Man They Trusted

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH DOVKANTS

SUSPICION was growing today that at least two victims of the Suffolk strangler knew their killer and trusted him.

Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls, whose bodies were found close to each other in a field on Tuesday, are believed to have made an appointment with him using their mobile phones.

Police think the killer's first three victims may have been picked up in Ipswich's red-light district, but when Ms Clennell, 24, and Ms Nicholls, 29, disappeared the area was at the centre of a huge police operation.

It is thought the killer lured these two women into a trap by arranging to meet them at a so-far undisclosed rendezvous. Drugs were almost certainly part of the dead women's relationship with the man, detectives and friends of the victims believe.

A picture was emerging of a man who knew that most of Ipswich's prostitutes were hard drug users. He may have previously taken them to a location where he gave them drugs.

That location - a secluded address or hideout - may have been the murder scene, police believe.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull, leading the investigation, said: "We know the first two victims, Gemma Adams and Tania Nicol were taken off the street and there are witness accounts suggesting the same may be true of the third victim, Anneli Alderton.

"However, we have less information about the final movements of Miss Clennell and Miss Nicholls.

We are investigating the possibility these two women may have attended private appointments rather than being picked up."

Mr Gull thinks the meetings would have been arranged by mobile phone and police experts are examining data from the networks the women were using.

Their phones have not

been found and police believe they may never be recovered.

Friends of Ms Clennell are convinced she was lured to her death by someone she believed she'd be safe with. One, also a heroin addict and prostitute, said: "Paula was the most streetwise person I know. …

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