Women warned not to leave home alone

Women were last night warned they are placing themselves in danger every time they leave home alone as police investigating the murders of three Ipswich prostitutes declared another two missing.

Women were warned last night that they were placing themselves in danger every time they left home alone as police investigating the murders of three Ipswich prostitutes declared another two missing.

Suffolk police chiefs told sex workers to stay off the streets and warned all women to plan nights out carefully and never to leave friends on their own as fears heightened that there was a serial killer at large in East Anglia.

County assistant chief constable Jacqui Cheer told women: “Our message is: stay off the streets. If you're out there alone, you're putting yourself in danger. We are coming up to the party season and up to Christmas. There will be groups of women going out, and I would say you have really got to look after each other, plan how you are going to get there and come home together.

“Whatever happens on your night out, do not leave your friends alone, and make sure you get home safely.”

In the last eight days the naked bodies of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol and a third woman have been

found in the countryside surrounding Ipswich. The third woman has not been formally identified but is known to have worked in the sex trade.

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And Suffolk police are becoming increasingly worried about the whereabouts of a fourth and fifth prostitute.

Paula Clennell, 24, was last seen on Saturday at 10.40pm by a friend in London Road, in the town's red light district. However, there was a positive sign she was still alive after her parents told police they had been contacted by a friend of Paula's, who said he had refused her a bed for the night late on Sunday. She is originally from the north-east but arrived in Ipswich after a spell living in Norwich.

Annette Nicholls, 29, was last seen by her family on December 3 or 4 and was reported missing yesterday afternoon after her parents became aware of the investigation. Last night, police were still checking addresses in Ipswich that Ms Clennell is believed to have used and had also extended that search for Ms Nicholls.

Assistant Chief Constable Cheer asked any prostitute in danger or who had information that could help the police investigation to contact her directly on a special mobile number: 07764 210572.

She said: “The welfare of the prostitutes working in Ipswich is my priority at this time. We need you to talk to us.”

Detectives from Norfolk are assisting with the inquiry. One theory that has not been ruled out is that the murderer had moved to Ipswich from Norwich, where Kellie Pratt, 29, has been missing since 2000 and Michelle Bettles, 22, was found strangled in 2002.

Also unsolved is the murder of Natalie Pearman, 16, who was strangled in Norwich in 1992.

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “We are continuing to check our databases to see if there is any information

within the inquiries into

prostitute murders that have occurred in Norfolk over recent years which may assist Suffolk police.”

Det Chief Supt Stewart Gull, head of Suffolk CID, said: “We're aware of the reporting of historic cases and they remain lines of inquiry

for us.”

It is now more than a week since the body of Gemma Adams was discovered in a stream at Hintlesham. Police still cannot say what killed her or Tania Nicol, whose body was discovered two miles downstream at Copdock on Friday.

Both girls were found naked but neither had been sexually assaulted. Post-mortem examinations are being

conducted by a Home Office pathologist and further expert opinion is needed.

Mr Gull would not formally link the discovery of the third body at Nacton on Sunday to the previous deaths.