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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 19:44 GMT
Fourth body is missing prostitute
Paula Clennell
Paula Clennell was found strangled in woodland

The body of a woman found near Ipswich has been identified as missing prostitute Paula Clennell.

The 24-year-old had been strangled and dumped in woodland in Levington, a post-mortem examination has revealed.

Ms Clennell's body was one of two found at the site on Tuesday by police investigating three other murders.

Police believe the body of the second woman - lying about 150 yards away - is that of missing prostitute Annette Nicholls, 29, and also from Ipswich.

Clothing worn

Police said the body of the second woman found in woodland was removed late in the afternoon to allow Home Office pathologist Dr Nat Cary to carry out a post-mortem examination at a hospital in Ipswich.

A police spokeswoman said on Thursday that Ms Clennell was last seen at about at 0020 GMT on 10 December on Handford Road near its junction with Burlington Road, Ipswich.

Ipswich red light district

She was working as a prostitute.

The clothing she was wearing is described as a navy blue anorak with a horizontal light blue band across the chest and sleeve.

She also wore a grey hoodie top, light coloured jeans with a pattern on the pockets and Reebok trainers with a navy blue and light blue/grey flash.

Det Ch Supt Stewart Gull said: "We want to hear from anyone who saw Paula after this time in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"It is quite possible that Paula picked up a client or clients after this time, who could have crucial information. I would appeal to them to come forward as a matter or urgency.

"And we also want to hear from anyone using the Old Felixstowe Road near Levington between the early hours of Sunday and Tuesday afternoon who saw anything suspicious."

Police said later on Thursday that they had found some clothes in Bond Street, in the centre of town, which were being examined.

A spokeswoman said she could not say whether the discovery was significant or whether the clothes were thought to belong to Ms Clennell.

Officers are close to discounting from the inquiry the driver of a blue BMW that Anneli Alderton, a murdered prostitute from Essex, was reported as getting into before her body was discovered.

Ms Alderton, whose body was found on Sunday, had also been strangled.

'Lovely person'

Police have now confirmed that four of the five bodies were those of women who had been murdered.

The other three women have been identified as Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol and Anneli Alderton.

A friend of Paula Clennell, who gave her name as Sherri, said: "This has made Paula look like a real down and out, you know, some people might even think that, 'oh they're a waste of space' and we're better off without them anyway, type of thing.

"But that isn't the case at all because Paula was a lovely person and she was never aggressive and she was always helpful and she had three beautiful little girls, even though she didn't have the care of them anymore.

"It still remains that she gave birth to them and she looked after them for quite a few years, you know, until things went wrong."

Speaking to BBC News, the Rev Robin Spittle, who has been with the family of Gemma Adams, said: "This person does need to be caught."

And he reminded people of the reward which now stands at 300,000 from a national newspaper and a local businessman, for information leading to a conviction.

Suffolk Police have set up a mobile unit in Ipswich town centre to provide rape alarms and leaflets advising women in the area how to stay safe.

Insp Ben Cook, in charge of operations there, said: "Due to tragic events people are very concerned in this area and we're taking the opportunity of late-night shopping, so that we can send a positive message to them and give them crime-prevention advice."

More than 250 officers from nine forces are working on the inquiry and have received more than 6,000 calls from the public.

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