Past murder recalled

LORNA MARSH Tom Stephens' arrest at his flat in Trimley yesterday will doubtless bring back horrific memories to people in the small village of the murder of Vicky Hall.

LORNA MARSH

Tom Stephens' arrest at his flat in Trimley yesterday will doubtless bring back horrific memories to people in the small village of the murder of Vicky Hall.

In 1999, the 17-year-old sixth-former was abducted as she walked home to Trimley St Mary. Police have refused to say if they are looking at any links between the case and the recent spate of murders in Ipswich - but comparisons are inevitable.

Neighbours said Stephens moved to his address in Trimley St Martin three months ago.

Vicky vanished on September 19 1999 and her naked and semi-submerged body was found five days later, 25 miles away in a water-filled ditch by a bridleway at Creeting St Peter, 15 miles from Stephens' mother's house in Eye. Vicky had been suffocated.

Trimley is also within a few minutes of the scrubland where the bodies of Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls were dumped.

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Suffolk businessman Adrian Bradshaw was tried at Norwich Crown Court in 2001 but acquitted of Vicky's murder after evidence from one expert that soil samples found in his Porsche were not from the ditch.

Vicky disappeared on her way home from the Bandbox nightclub in Felixstowe. The arrest has also focused attention on other unsolved killings and disappearances of women in Norfolk and Suffolk. Among them is 16-year-old prostitute Natalie Pearman who went missing in 1992 as she touted for business in Norwich's red light district. Her partially clothed body was found in a layby just outside the city.