Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Thursday, 14 December 2006

Man's fears over daughter's death

Michelle Bettles
No-one has been charged with Michelle Bettles' murder

The father of a prostitute murdered four years ago said he sees "lots of similarities" between his daughter's death and the murders near Ipswich.

Michelle Bettles was found strangled in woods near Dereham, Norfolk, three days after she went missing from Norwich.

John Bettles said: "All the places where they have been found are very similar, and in each case you would need to know the area very well."

He added: "Another is that Michelle was strangled like these girls."

A Norfolk police spokesman said: "There continues to be close liaison with Suffolk around any similarities or connections with historic murders in Norfolk."

In one way I hope it is the same person, but if I am right then that is very sad because this could have been stopped years ago
John Bettles

Mr Bettles 51, from Rotherham, Yorkshire, said police had told him it was too early to say if there was a link between the murders

"I have been in contact with Norfolk Police in the last three days and I have been told it is too early in the inquiry to start putting links in."

He added: "In one way I hope it is the same person, but if I am right then that is very sad because this could have been stopped years ago."

A number of other women have vanished or been killed in similar circumstances in East Anglia over the past 13 years.

Among the unsolved cases being looked at for possible links is the murder of Natalie Pearman, 16, who was strangled in Norwich in 1992.

Mandy Duncan, 26, of Woodbridge, Suffolk, vanished in 1993 while working as a prostitute in Ipswich.

'Losing control'

Kellie Pratt, 29, disappeared from the red light area of Norwich in 2000 and Michelle Bettles was found strangled three days after disappearing from the same area of the city in 2002.

No-one has been charged over her death.

A psychologist working with Suffolk police investigating the murder of five women says the recent deaths may be part of a larger killing spree.

Forensic psychologist Dr Ian Stephen said: "I think this to me looks like the tail end of an era of killing, that he's actually losing control and there's a compulsion taking over."



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