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Ray Hollingsworth's book on the Suffolk Murders 2006
By Andrew Woodger
BBC Suffolk

Ray Hollingsworth
Ray Hollingsworth self-publishes his work as Sparkfilms

A client turned researcher has used his interviews with prostitutes in a new book about the Suffolk Murders.

Ray Hollingsworth paid for sex on Ipswich's streets before the deaths of five women in 2006.

The book Ipswich Zero 6 features poetry, film plot and memories of his interviews with the police and media.

"I was in Ipswich as a client initially," said Mr Hollingsworth. "There developed something that went beyond that."

Mr Hollingsworth said the book is based on his experiences in Ipswich's red light district before the murders of Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, Tania Nicol and Annette Nicholls in 2006 and the conviction of Steve Wright in 2008.

As the murder investigation became an international story, he contacted both the police and media offering to help based on the knowledge he had gained of prostitution and the drugs scene that the victims were part of.

He had already published a book of poetry called Dirty Blonde at the Cash Machine in 2006 and wanted to write a new book about the crimes.

"I wrote it because I was contacted by someone who had a different idea on the case and thought someone else did the murders," he said.

"I wanted to prove this guy wrong, because I wanted the police to be right and I'm pretty sure having looked at it that that is the case."

The first part of the new book is a journal of his time as a customer of prostitutes, researching their world and then dealing with the police and media.

The second part is transcriptions of taped interviews he made with half a dozen women who worked as prostitutes, but who were not the murder victims.

Ipswich Town's Portman Road stadium
Sex workers used to ply their trade around Sir Alf Ramsey Way

'Deep trauma'

Mr Hollingsworth said he entered the women's world after the failure of a relationship that left him with "deep trauma".

He said: "There's this twilight world in cities across the world that isn't evident to members of the public, but it's all going on there underground.

"I'd been a client to some of those girls. It wasn't really an overbearing sex-drive, it was complete fascination with their lifestyle.

"There were times I would say 'will you come back to my house in Colchester? I want to actually interview you. I'm interested in your life and I will do it with a view to trying to produce a film or documentary'.

"All you get from them is the stark truth which makes it very easy to write because you don't have to embellish it with anything else.

"I can't imagine that I would have got the information [for the books] without that [being a client]."

Mr Hollingsworth said his use of prostitutes is out there in the open and he has discussed it with his daughters.

"I wasn't a married person - I wasn't cheating on anybody.

"I don't even think about the morality of prostitution. To me it's just a big part of the swirl of life.

"There are a huge number of people in the public eye who have secret lives and if they were strong enough, as I am, to be honest about it, their lives would be finished with the positions they're in."

Dirty Blonde at the Cash Machine and Ipswich Zero 6 by Ray Hollingsworth
Dirty Blonde at the Cash Machine and Ipswich Zero 6

Friendship and trust

Mr Hollingsworth said he would drive the women to their drug dealers if they asked him to.

"You'd see a hooded figure at 3.30am by some bus stop or shadowy wall," he said.

"To me, I may have been an 'enabler' in a small way, but that was part of the research I was doing to see how these transactions were occurring."

"It didn't really occur to me that I was contributing to their downfall.

"In fact, I was trying with one or two girls to help them. I offered one of them a room with the hope of getting her into drugs rehab.

"There was certainly some sort of trust there. Even if it is a delusion of friendship, it can still act as the same thing in your mind.

"You still felt you had some use to somebody. I was also doing research for writing."

Poetry excerpt
in a Sainsbury's car park at 1.43am, I gather information, you interest me, there is daytime and there is night, but not for you
Christmas by Ray Hollingsworth

Media work

During the criminal investigation, Mr Hollingsworth went to the police with background information and appeared on Sky and the BBC.

"There was an occasion when I was asked, live, if I was putting myself into the frame as a suspect," he said.

"Not many people can admit to what I admitted to [using prostitutes], but I did at the time because there was a serial killer on the loose and if any little thing could have helped, that was much bigger than anything to do with me."

Suffolk police confirmed that Mr Hollingsworth offered his services to them.

Ch Supt Stewart Gull led the murders investigation.

"He was of no help and not a suspect," he said.

Since the murders, the police developed a strategy with other agencies to tackle drug-dependent prostitution.

"Prostitution remains a criminal offence and there is a zero-tolerance approach," said Ch Supt Gill.

"There are no longer street prostitutes in Ipswich. Most are now supported by the joint Make a Change Team."

Cashing in?

Asked if he was making money from the murders, Mr Hollingsworth said he is unlikely to turn a profit on the new self-published book.

"All the money I made from Channel 4 and Sky News amounts to about £2,500," he said.

"I put a lot of media organisations in touch with girls for nothing and I could have been quite mercenary and demanded a commission.

"I'm just about truth and honesty."

Ipswich Zero 6 by Ray Hollingsworth is due to be published on 1 February 2011.

Comment on this feature:

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The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Name: Karen Pastore
Town: USA

This is WOSE than raping girls to 'help' catch a guy who kills rape victims OR beating of women to catch a domestic abuse killer...WHY..Because johns ARE the inhumanity oh human sex trafficking...this is a sociopathic view of an obbsessed sex trafficker....AND HIS ACTIONS, BOOKS & VIEWS read like a PORN FICK ABOUT THE MURDERS. But naturally he gets all the media attention OVER the human rights reality of the girls in this most abusive & inhuman of all human rights violations. The serial killer is not by far the only monster with blood on his hands. Not by a long shot!!

Name: Paul Schofield
Town: Colchester, UK

I worked with Ray in Colchester some years back and can say he is a really genuine, likeable bloke, who has had the intuition to put the benefit of others before his own. During the time of these horrible murders, there was a feeling of helplessness amongst locals and I'm glad that Ray was able to offer his knowledge in some way. If there were more of us able to open-up, the world might be a brighter place.

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