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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 18:05 GMT
Suffolk victim 'hid prostitution'
Kerry Nicol
Kerry Nicol said she did not know her daughter was a prostitute
The mother of one of five women found murdered in Suffolk told a court that she had no idea her daughter was working as a prostitute.

Kerry Nicol's 19-year-old daughter Tania Nicol was found dead in a brook in December 2006.

The jury at Ipswich Crown Court also heard from the mother of another victim, Gemma Adams, 25, who said she "barely knew her daughter".

Steve Wright, 49, of Ipswich, has denied murdering the women.

Gail Adams told the jury that contact with her daughter had mainly consisted of text messages.

Gemma's body was also discovered in a brook near Ipswich in December 2006.

Last call

Earlier the court heard Kerry Nicol thought her daughter was working in a bar or hairdressers, although men she did not know had called at the house.

Kerry Nicol told the court that her daughter had been brought up in Ipswich and left home and moved into a hostel aged 16.

She said Tania began using heroin in the hostel and had asked for help in getting off drugs.

Tania Nicol and Gemma Adams
The bodies of Tania Nicol and Gemma Adams were found in a brook

The court heard that on one occasion Kerry Nicol had answered a call from a massage parlour called Cleopatra's asking for a woman called "Chantelle".

She had also found a letter in her daughter's bedroom addressed to "Chantelle".

Jurors were told that Miss Nicol left home at 2245 GMT on 30 October 2006, and caught a bus into Ipswich.

Kerry Nicol said she called her daughter on her mobile phone 15 minutes later and confirmed she was on a bus into Ipswich, but she did not speak to her again.

She told jurors her daughter had telephoned a man called Tom Stephens before her disappearance.

She later received three phone calls from Mr Stephens, the first shortly after Miss Nicol went missing on 31 October.

She received a second call later urging her to report her daughter missing to police.

Kerry Nicol said Mr Stephens also called her after the body of Gemma Adams was found.

Steve Wright
Steve Wright denies murdering the five women

Timothy Langdale QC, defending Mr Wright, asked her about a conversation she had with Mr Stephens on 10 November 2006.

Mr Langdale said: "Did he say 'would the girls still go out and do what they do if one of them had got murdered?'"

Kerry Nicol told the court: "I did stop and think it was a strange thing to say but I didn't ask him what he meant."

The court also heard about efforts made to curb prostitution in Ipswich.

Pc Janet Humphrey, who worked as a community officer in Ipswich town centre, said 15 to 20 women worked regularly as prostitutes in the town, with up to 50 working occasionally.

Younger women tended to work in the residential Handford Road and London Road areas while the "more mature" women worked in the West End Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way areas, the court heard.

Miss Nicol, Miss Adams, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, went missing during six weeks from October to December 2006 before their bodies were found.

The trial continues.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The evidence of Tania Nicol's mother



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