Arrested man was special constable

The man arrested on suspicion of the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich once served as a special constable in Norwich.

The man arrested on suspicion of the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich once served as a special constable in Norwich.

Tom Stephens, 37, who lives in Trimley, near Felixstowe, Suffolk, was a volunteer police officer at Bethel Street station.

It has also emerged that Stephens, who denied the murders in an interview with a Sunday newspaper, attended Thorpe St Andrew High School, near Norwich.

He was arrested at his home in Trimley, near Felixstowe, Suffolk, at 7.20am today and is being held at an unnamed police station in Suffolk.

The announcement about the arrest was made in a surprise Suffolk police press conference at 9.30am. Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull said: “A 37-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering all five women, Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls.

“The man is currently in custody at a police station in Suffolk where he will be questioned about the deaths later today.”

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The bodies of Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Annette Nicholls, 29, Anneli Alderton, 24, and Paula Clennell, 24, were all found within 10 days of each other in villages close to Ipswich.

The first prostitute, Miss Nicol, went missing on October 30 and her body was found on December 8, at Copdock Mill.

The body of Gemma Adams was the first to be found on December 2 at Hintlesham. She vanished in November. The body of Miss Alderton, who was three months' pregnant, was found on December 10 at Nacton. The bodies of Miss Nicholls and Miss Clennell were found on December 12 at Levington.

The women were all naked when they were found, but the cause of death was only established in the cases of Miss Clennell and Miss Alderton, who were both strangled.

Mr Stephens said he had been interviewed four times by police. He grew up in Norwich, but was born in Ipswich. He has said he knew all five murdered girls, and started visiting street walkers in Ipswich 18 months ago after the collapse of his eight-year marriage.

The news came as police are trawling through 10,000 hours of CCTV footage and followed leads from 10,000 calls from members of the public. There are 500 officers working on the case from 36 forces across the country.