LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Police flooded the red light area of Ipswich with officers overnight in a bid to catch a feared serial killer after three prostitutes were found dead and two more reported missing.
Detectives said on Tuesday they had still not received news on Paula Clennell, 24, who has not been seen since Saturday, and 29-year-old Annette Nicholls, who has been missing for at least a week. The deaths and disappearances have spread panic in the back streets of Ipswich which were reported to have been quiet as most sex workers heeded police warnings to stay at home.
Police said they were still only linking two murders -- those of Gemma Adams, 25, and 19-year-old Tania Nicol whose naked bodies were found in the same stretch of water to the west of the city. The naked corpse of a third women, 24, was found in Nacton to the east of Ipswich on December 10.
"We are not linking it (the death) at this stage, clearly there are distinct and striking similarities -- all young, all women, all prostitutes who worked the streets of Ipswich," said Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull. "The body underwent a Home Office post mortem late last night and I anticipate having those results today," he told BBC radio. Gull said it was too early to say whether one individual or more were behind the murders. "I am convinced the working prostitutes in Ipswich probably hold the key as to who is responsible and they need to contact Suffolk Police with any suspicions they may have."
On December 2 police found Nicol in a stream and on December 8 police divers recovered the body of Adams in the same stretch of water. Detectives have said none of the dead women are thought to have been sexually assaulted.