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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 19:23 GMT
Murdered woman 'spiralled down'
CCTV footage of Anneli Alderton at Ipswich Railway Station
The court released footage of Anneli Alderton at Ipswich station

One of five women killed in Suffolk went into a "downward spiral" of hard drug addiction and prostitution after her father died, a jury heard.

Maire Alderton, the mother of Anneli Alderton, gave evidence at the trial of Steve Wright, 49, from Ipswich, who denies murdering the women.

She told Ipswich Crown Court her daughter had been an excellent student but ended up serving two jail terms.

Anneli's boyfriend, Sammy Jefford, told jurors of his final sighting of her.

'Last time'

Jefford, who is serving a jail term after being convicted of robbery and a drugs offence, said she had left their flat in Colchester, Essex, on a Sunday early in December 2006 and not returned.

"On the Sunday morning she went out and that was the last time I saw her," he said.

Steve Wright
Steve Wright denies murdering the five women

"I walked her to the bus stop, gave her a kiss. She said she would be back later."

The jury heard that Miss Alderton, 24, visited her mother at her Essex home on 3 December 2006, the last time she saw her.

Maire Alderton said she had separated from Anneli's father in 1986 and moved to Cyprus with Anneli in 1992.

Anneli had become fluent in the local language. They returned to Ipswich in 1997 but by her late teenage years Anneli became hooked on hard drugs.

Jurors were told Anneli had been deeply affected by the death of her father and eventually turned to prostitution.

'Feisty' daughter

Maire Alderton said her daughter was the type of person who would fight back if she was attacked.

"She was feisty and believed she could tackle anybody that tried to attack her," she said.

The court later heard from Stacey Nicholls, the sister of 29-year-old murder victim Annette Nicholls.

"Annette was extremely proud of her appearance and would always make sure she wore up-to-date trendy clothes," she said, in a written statement read to the court.

Tania Nicol
The witness said she recognised Tania Nicol from a photograph

She said she had known for four years that her sister was addicted to heroin and for three years that she was working as a prostitute.

She said she last saw Annette in October 2006, two months before her body was found in woodland in Levington, near Ipswich.

Each of the five Suffolk victims had been working as prostitutes at the time of their deaths.

Miss Alderton, Miss Nicholls, Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, and Paula Clennell, 24, went missing during six weeks from October to December 2006 before their bodies were found.

Earlier, driver Jane Leighton told jurors she saw murder victim Miss Nicol "having a giggle" on the night of 30 October 2006.

'Posh car'

Ms Leighton said she was driving home through the red light district of Ipswich just after 2300 GMT when she saw Miss Nicol.

She said she realised later that the woman was Miss Nicol after seeing her photograph in a newspaper.

"My first thought was, 'somebody's got some money because it looks like a posh car'," said Ms Leighton.

"It was a shiny new blue car with a high boot."

Jurors were told Ms Leighton later examined pictures of cars in a motor magazine with police and identified the vehicle as a Peugeot.

The court was adjourned for the day and the hearing continues on Thursday.

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