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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 11:57 GMT
Timeline: Suffolk killings
Tania Nicol and Gemma Adams
The bodies of Tania Nicol and Gemma Adams were found in same stretch of water
Police are investigating the murder of five prostitutes sparking fears a serial killer may be prowling the red light area of Ipswich.

Gemma Adams, 25 and Tania Nicol, 19, and were found naked in the same stretch of water near the town, and a third woman, Anneli Alderton, was later found in woods.

Police have also found the bodies of two other women south of Ipswich - Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29 - who had been missing for several days.

Here are some of the key events in the police investigation.

7 NOVEMBER

Police in Suffolk say they are "extremely concerned" about the disappearance of prostitute Tania Nicol. She went missing after leaving her home in Ipswich, Suffolk, on 30 October.

Her mother Kerry appealed for information on her whereabouts and said it was unusual for her not to be in touch with her family.

15 NOVEMBER

Police launched a further appeal for information on the whereabouts of a second missing prostitute in Ipswich.

Gemma Adams, 25, from Blenheim Road in the town was reported missing by her partner after she failed to return home from work.

2 DECEMBER

A member of the public finds a naked body in a brook at Hintlesham, Suffolk.

3 DECEMBER

Detectives launch a major inquiry after the body is formally identified as missing prostitute Miss Adams.

Her death raises fears for the safety of Miss Nicol.

Both women disappeared from the same area and detectives say there are "obvious similarities" between the two cases.

4 DECEMBER

Specialist teams start searching in the area where the body was found.

8 DECEMBER

A second naked body is found by police divers searching an area near Copdock Mill, near Ipswich.

9 DECEMBER

Police confirm that the second body is that of Miss Nicol.

Her body was discovered in the same stretch of water as that of Miss Adams, say police, but around two miles away.

Det Supt Andy Henwood says there were "obvious similarities" between the two deaths.

10 DECEMBER

Police announce that the body of a third prostitute has been found raising further fears that a serial killer is targeting women in the area.

Officers are called to Nacton, near Ipswich, at 1520 GMT after a member of the public discovers the woman's body in woodland.

Police say the body is of a woman in her 20s.

Detectives say it is too early to say whether the third death is linked to the murders of Miss Adams and Miss Nicol.

11 DECEMBER

Police say they are concerned for two other missing women.

Paula Clennell, aged 24, has not been seen since late on Saturday, and Annette Nicholls, aged 29, went missing on December 4.

Assistant Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer warns prostitutes to "stay off the streets" for their own safety.

Police describe the discovery of the third body as a "deeply disturbing development" and that while they are unable to formally link the discovery of the body at Nacton with the two murders, "the facts speak for themselves".

12 DECEMBER

Police discover two more bodies near the village of Levington, five miles south of Ipswich.

Det Ch Supt Stewart Gull said: "I have to fear the worst. Sadly I fear these may be the bodies of Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls."

Police investigating the murders of the three prostitutes near Ipswich release the name of the third victim, Anneli Alderton, 24, and say she was strangled.

Tests are being carried out to see if she was sexually assaulted.

13 DECEMBER

Police remove one of the bodies found in woodland in Levington on 12 December as a detailed scientific examination begins.

Detectives say the victims did not die at the scene.

Det Ch Supt Stewart Gull reveals at a news conference that 2,199 telephone calls were received in the incident room on 12 December.

He says the inquiry is now the largest ever seen in the area, and more than thirty officers have been drafted in from other forces and more are expected to join the hunt.

It also emerges that Paula Clennell had given an interview to ITV News on 5 December, in which she said that despite the dangers, she was prepared to go back onto the streets.

14 DECEMBER

Annette Nicholls' body is moved from woodland in Levington.

Police examine items of clothing handed in by members of the public and say that the number of calls received has gone up to 5,500, with 1,000 emails received.

It emerges that they are "eager" to speak to the driver of a blue BMW.

The body of a fourth woman found at Levington is confirmed as missing prostitute Paula Clennell. She died as a result of "compression to the neck".

15 DECEMBER

Detectives confirm that the fifth body is that of Annette Nicholls.

A post-mortem examination on her body fails to find a clear cause of death.

A candlelit service is being held to comfort the friends of the murdered prostitutes in a church close to where the bodies of two of them were found.

The Rev Chris Wingfield will hold the service at St Peter's Church, Copdock.

16 DECEMBER

Police confirm in a press conference that Anneli Alderton was three months pregnant when she was killed, but that this was not relevant to the investigation.

CCTV footage of Ms Alderton on a train shortly before she disappeared is released.

A minute's silence is held at Ipswich Town's Portman Road stadium ahead of their match against Leeds United. The ground is close to Ipswich's red light district where the women worked.

17 DECEMBER

Police talk to passengers at railway stations used by Anneli Alderton a week before her body was found.

Former Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart urges ministers to carry out a plan to legalise small brothels.

18 DECEMBER

Police arrest a 37-year-old man at his home in Trimley St Martin, near Felixstowe, on suspicion of murdering all five women.

Tom Stephens is being held at an unnamed police station in Suffolk.

19 DECEMBER

A second man is arrested by Suffolk Police in connection with the killings.

Detectives say the 48-year-old man was detained in Ipswich at about 0500 GMT on suspicion of murdering all five women.

He is named locally as Stephen Wright.

20 DECEMBER

Inquests into the deaths of four women are opened and adjourned at Ipswich Coroner's Court.

Police told the hearing Anneli Alderton was asphyxiated and Paula Clennell died from compression of the neck but there was no clear cause of death for Tania Nicol and Annette Nicholls.

Officers are given another 36 hours to question the second arrested man.

Map: Ipswich murders






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