The murders of five prostitutes by the Suffolk Strangler in 2006 set off one of the largest manhunts in British history. DNA evidence led to the arrest and conviction of a man who admitted he had sex with four of the five dead women, but was he the actual serial killer?
During November and December of 2006, five prostitutes were murdered one at a time in Ipswich, England. Although each was asphyxiated and not strangled, the British media dubbed the serial killer “the Suffolk Strangler.”
Forensic evidence suggested that all five victims were attacked from behind and that the assailant put his arm across the victims’ throats to render them unconscious. The first two bodies were found fully or partially clothed in a nearby river in Ipswich. The last three victims were left naked in woodlands near the same area; no attempt had been made to hide or bury the bodies. Each victim was arranged in the form of a crucifix with her hair extended outwards in the form of a halo. Jewelry and other trinkets were taken from the victims but have never been recovered.
The victims were 19-year-old Tania Nicol, 25-year-old Gemma Adams, 24-year-old Anneli Alderton, 29-year-old Annette Nichols, and 24-year-old Paula Clennell. Clennell, the fifth and final victim, had predicted her own murder during a television interview about the serial killer. She had been friends with the other victims as they worked the same streets touting for passing trade.
At the time of the murders, Suffolk police asked the Forensic Science Service to assist in one of the largest murder manhunts in British history. From the time Tania Nicol was reported missing on November 1, 2006, the police investigation involved 600 officers from nearly every law enforcement force in Great Britain. The inquiry team received more than 12,000 calls from members of the public and almost 11,000 hours of closed-circuit TV footage were scrutinized.