Detectives hunting a serial killer who preys on prostitutes discovered two more bodies Tuesday, bringing to five the number of women found dead this month in a small area of eastern England .
The bodies have not been identified, but the detective leading the investigation said it was likely they were those of Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell, two Ipswich prostitutes who had been missing for days.
"We can only fear the worst," said Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull of Suffolk police. "The natural assumption is that these are the two missing women."
Detectives were already probing the deaths of three women whose naked bodies were found a few miles (kilometers) apart in a rural area. One body was found in a stream, another in a pond and a third in woods close to a road.
The two bodies discovered Tuesday afternoon were lying near Levington, a village about 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Ipswich. The five corpses have all been found within a few miles (kilometers) of Ipswich, near the major A14 road.
Police said they suspected a serial killer in the Suffolk cases, but weren't ruling out multiple perpetrators. Police said there was also no indication that the killer or killers was targeting women other than prostitutes, the AP reports.
Psychologists have worked on a message calling on the killer to give himself up; even botanists have been called to examine the grass and weeds around the bodies.
The first report came Nov. 25 from the partner of a missing woman named Gemma Adams, a 25-year-old known to work as a prostitute. A week later, a passerby discovered her nude body in a stream in countryside inland from Ipswich.
Tania Nicol, 19, was reported missing by her mother. She had left home in Ipswich on Oct. 30 to go to work in the town's red-light district. Her naked body was found Friday in a nearby river. Police have yet to release the cause of the death for either women.
Sunday, the naked body of another woman, known to be a prostitute, was found in woodland in the same area. She was identified as Anneli Alderton from Colchester, a city about 20 miles south of Ipswich. She had died by strangulation, police said.
Since then, police had urged two other women reported missing to get in touch: Annette Nicholls, 29, had last been seen Dec. 5 in Ipswich, and Paula Nicholl, 24, was last seen in the early hours Sunday in Ipswich. Both were known to work as prostitutes, Latimes.com says.
Chronology of Killings
Monday Oct. 30: Sex worker Tania Nicol, 19, last seen leaving her home at Woolverstone Close, Ipswich at about 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday Nov. 15: Prostitute Gemma Adams, 25, reported missing to police after she fails to return home after spending the evening in Ipswich.
Saturday Dec. 2: Adam’s naked corpse is found in a brook at Thorpes Hill, Hintlesham, a few miles west of Ipswich.
Sunday Dec. 3: Prostitute Anneli Alderton last seen travelling on the 5:53 p.m. train from Harwich to Colchester.
Thursday Dec. 7: A motorist driving past woodland in Nacton, to the east of Ipswich at 10:30 p.m. sees what he believes is an abandoned mannequin about 30 yards from the road. He does not report what turns out to be Alderton's naked body to police.
Friday Dec. 8: The naked body of Nicol is discovered in a stream near Copdock Mill, on the western edge of Ipswich, a couple of miles from where Adams was found.
Sunday Dec. 10: Alderton's body is discovered.
Monday Dec. 11: Suffolk Police say they are worried about the disappearance of another prostitute, 24-year-old Paula Clennell, who has not been seen since Dec. 9. Detectives say that a fifth prostitute, Annette Nicholls, 29, had not been seen for at least a week.
Tuesday Dec. 12: Police announce that 24-year-old Alderton was asphyxiated. Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull tells a press conference “it appears she was strangled” Reuters reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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