- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2006

IPSWICH, England — Police pursuing the killer of five prostitutes arrested a second man yesterday and hauled away his car — a dark blue Ford that a neighbor in Ipswich’s red-light district said the man cleaned over and over again.

A court gave police permission to hold another man arrested Monday for an additional 36 hours while officers scoured his back yard on hands and knees for clues.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull said both men were suspects in the killings of Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, Gemma Adams and Annette Nicholls. The victims’ naked bodies were found dumped in rural areas of eastern England around Ipswich, 70 miles northeast of London, over a 10-day period beginning Dec. 2.

Police have said a 37-year-old man was arrested Monday in a village outside Ipswich and a 48-year-old man who lived in the city’s red-light district was taken into custody yesterday. Neither man had been charged or formally identified.

“He was always cleaning that Mondeo [car] both inside and out,” said David Welton, 43, who lived next door to the second suspect on London Road in Ipswich.

Joe Franey, 50, another resident, said he heard police banging on the door of a home two doors away at about 5 a.m. “We saw him being led out; he was dressed,” Mr. Franey said. “He seemed quite composed, quite normal.”

Mr. Franey said the man and his female partner moved to the area recently.

The suspect arrested Monday in Trimley St. Martin, eight miles southeast of Ipswich, was identified in news reports as Tom Stephens, 37, a supermarket clerk, part-time taxi driver and former unpaid auxiliary police constable.

He had been quoted as telling the Sunday Mirror newspaper that he was innocent, but that he knew all five of the victims and had been interviewed by police.

“I don’t have alibis for some of the times [of the killings]; actually, I’m not entirely sure I have tight alibis for any of the times. But I’m not worried about being charged. I’m innocent,” the Sunday Mirror quoted him as saying.

Police in white overalls, hoods and face masks were seen in the garden of the home in Trimley St. Martin, at times on hands and knees probing the grass with gloved fingers.

Three of the bodies were found near the main road and the rail line between Ipswich and Trimley; the two others were discovered near the same road in areas south and southwest of Ipswich.

Miss Clennell, 24, died of compression to her neck, and Miss Alderton, 24, was strangled. Autopsies on the bodies of Miss Nicol, 19; Miss Nicholls, 29; and Miss Adams, 25, reached no conclusion on the causes of their deaths.

An inquest into the death of Miss Adams was opened and adjourned last week. Coroners’ inquests into the other deaths were set to begin today.

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