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The Suffolk murders, prostitution and more...

Eddie Mair | 09:59 UK time, Thursday, 14 December 2006

Some froggers (thank you Mary and Ron) have suggested I start a thread on the murders, and the issues that they have cast light on. Here it is.

Comments

  1. At 10:29 AM on 14 Dec 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Sorry to cast a negative note so early in this thread, but I have no sympathy whatsoever for these ladies.

    To my fellow froggers who have made their distress plain in other parts of the blog, I'm sorry if this seems insensitive. I didn't know any of them, so have no personal connection. I don't like what prostitutes do. I don't like what drugs do to people. I find nothing in what we know of their lives & lifestyles to admire at all. Whilst the killing of anyone is a terrible crime I cannot find any sympathy in my heart for these ladies, because I don't like what they were and what they did. I can't be a hypocrite and I won't lie to appear like a 'nice guy'.

    I am also surprised by those who varnish the truth with warm words from the PC dictionary. Why must they not be described as prostitutes? It's what they were. 'Sex-workers'? So are people who hold Ann SUmmers parties, from a point of view. 'Working girls'? Well in that case, so are the 'girls' in my workplace.

    They sell a fake intimacy for hard cash, often it seems to feed a hard drug habit. There is nothing to admire about any of this. Why gloss over the reality, just because it's unpleasant to give it its real name?

    And I hope that they catch the scum who did it. Fast. Murder is the most evil crime and demands the harshest punishment. I've described myself elsewhere as a hanger-and-flogger. Whoever did this should swing from a rope.

    The ones I do have massive sympathy for are their relatives, like the father interviewed on the 'Today' programme yesterday (13th) by Sarah Montague.

    His distress was evident to anyone who heard it, as commented on in other threads. It was insensitive and intrusive. He was rambling, plainly distressed and almost incoherent for parts of it. He had no useful light to shine into his daughters life, since he hadn't seen her for years. Dreadful journalism.

    Si.

  2. At 10:47 AM on 14 Dec 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Well I had to switch off the Today prog this morning, when I heard Sarah Montague interviewing yet another parent who had lost a daughter to a murderer. Sorry - couldn't bear to listen as she quizzed the mother about details of her daughter's death. I just don't want to know, & I can't bear to hear the mother go over her past trauma for no other reason than so we can hear all about it.

  3. At 10:51 AM on 14 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    We can do without all murders though - right?

  4. At 11:29 AM on 14 Dec 2006, Mike wrote:

    Dr Hackenbush is right - we can do without these murders. They crop up on a regular basis in places of prostitution though.

    But can this type of street crime be avoided? I think so.

    What these girls do, and the streets where they do it, provides the basis for what's happening. Prostitution will not go away.

    During 2003 I provided Tony Blair with a "Control of Prostitution" Bill. Last time I did something like that it became the law controlling all business debt.

    The draft provides for legal houses of prostitution with formal controls on operation and health checks. It would bring prostitution off the street, provide tax from the business, gives Police greater control with less effort. With these havens of safety and control, no matter how unpalatable the business, it becomes vastly more difficult for various crimes to take place. It also becomes easier to deal with drug problems leading to prostitution.

    I wonder if these girls would be dead if Blair had dealt with the proposal.

    Meantime, who's next?

  5. At 11:30 AM on 14 Dec 2006, nom wrote:

    Simon,

    I don't like what prostitutes do, either, but then I don't like what telesales operatives do, or tv Evangelists, or ...

    These prostitutes weren't murdered because of what they did, they were murdered because someone's lack of sympathy and lack of morality enabled him to devalue them as women.

    The reason some are choosing to call them sex-workers is evident in your comment. 'Prostitute' is a loaded word. The morality, or lack thereof, that society has loaded it with gives us an excuse for our lack of sympathy.

  6. At 11:32 AM on 14 Dec 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Doc H. (currently 2);
    Certainly. Read the 5th para 'And I hope...' My opinion of murder and murderers is there for all to see. No exceptions.

    My opinion about the subjects of these crimes doesn't change the fact that it ought never to happen. No-one 'deserves' to be murdered.

    I just find it hard/impossible to feel any kind of sympathy for these ladies, for the reasons stated. I would certainly have a degree of sympathy for them if they had been children or aged or making a positive contribution to society. I think that is probably true of most people, but that's just a guess. This current state of affairs in Suffolk has not come up once in any talk at work, over a desk, over a coffee or at lunch. If my workmates are typical then no-one seems to really care. I'm sure that it has a local impact though.

    My english sometimes isn't up to making these kinds of arguments, I trip up over my 'worms' sometimes, so I run the risk of being misunderstood in this kind of setting. But my thinking is kind of a reverse logic. It goes like this;

    These five young women were, as far as we know, all drug addicts. They worked as prostitutes partly or entirely to feed their habit. We have heard testimony from other prostitutes on our radios and TV's this week to this effect. I do not believe that anyone is 'forced' into addiction (outside of Popeye Doyle in French Connection 2). And no-one in Britain today can claim to be ignorant of the effect of hard drugs.

    If that supposition is indeed true then no prostitute working to feed a habit can legitimately claim to have been forced into that line of work. They have entered into it to feed something illegal which they willingly became addicted to. If they ahdn't taken drugs, if they hadn't become addicted, there was no reason fo them to be on the streets as prostitutes and they would not have been abducted and murdered.

    Why should I sympathise?

    Si.

  7. At 11:33 AM on 14 Dec 2006, marymary wrote:

    Simon Worrall, I understand your point of view, but most women get into prostitution at a very young age, often when they are actually children. They will have run away from home having been abused or traumatised in some way, ended up finding a "kind" man or woman who will help them get a place to live and something to eat. They will find themselves effectively enslaved and trapped. Even when they manage to break free of any controlling pimp they will have been criminalised, or ASBO'd, reviled by society, and hopelessly addicted to drugs, and possibly suffering from all sorts of illnesses. I am sort of generalising but I'm not far from the truth.

    Whilst many prostitutes are addicted to drugs the connection is not straightforward. They are given drugs as an inducement to sell themselves. They often do not directly benefit from the money they earn in the sense that someone else will receive it.

    I know a number of women who are or were prostitutes. Most of them are a mess, they look ill, they look underfed, they look scared. I may not know the women who were murdered in Ipswich but I know people for whom being murdered could so easily be a reality that it does make my blood run cold.

    As for what we call the trade that these girls ply, my only comment is that I heard one of the issing women called a "sex worker" and thought that she was some sort of outreach social worker who was trying to help prostitutes.

    By the way, thank you Eddie for noticing my comments and starting this thread.

    Mary

  8. At 11:33 AM on 14 Dec 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Si

    You surprise me. I haven't time to really get into this, but two points.

    Really agree about the Today programme and Sarah Montague - I was so appalled by yesterday’s piece that I didn't even switch on the radio this morning.

    But going back to your first point. I’ve read your posts on other subjects and while I may not agree with all your views I recognise you as a genuine and thoughtful deabater. I honestly don’t believe in this case that you mean what your words say. Sure, you may hate the idea of prostitution, drugs etc. But given what has happened to these women, you can’t mean that you "have no sympathy whatsoever for these ladies."

    Do you want to try and express it in a different way?

    RJD

  9. At 11:46 AM on 14 Dec 2006, Belinda wrote:

    To almost completely contradict what I said in the previous 'Helen' thread, why is the focus of this story on the prostitutes/women/girls and their issues, rather than "There is a (probable) serial murderer on the loose - what is causing him/her to do this? Can something like this be prevented? Why hasn't the person been caught despite today's technology? How much are the general public at risk?"?

    Taking women off the streets, legalising prostitution, putting the women into rehab or arresting their pimps or customers will not stop sick people murdering others. If the (presumably mentally-ill) murderer was not currently targeting prostitutes or did not have access to them, then it would be another group of vulnerable people and surely we are all open in some way to crimes like this.

    I just think the focus of this story in the media has skewed off the main point really.

  10. At 11:48 AM on 14 Dec 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Mike (4) : Would you consider making any of your Control of Prostitution Bill available to us to peep at, perhaps an Executive Summary, via a website?

    I for one would be very interested to see your thinking.

    Fifi

  11. At 11:51 AM on 14 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    In response to Simon, I find I always switch off when the media find a way to intrude into private grief. I agree that this is not journalism.

    In response to Mike:
    “Dr Hackenbush is right” - I might have to frame this and show it to my patients, my colleagues, the GMC, the board of ethics, etc etc....

  12. At 12:00 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Belinda ( on Helen, one of our listeners thread 59) I agree that the interview yesterday was handled incredibly badly & I think Today was actually damaging for the interviewee as the pain of a vulnerable man was plundered. I too RJD (5) didn't switch the radio on this morning because I'm not a voyeur, I am going to write to Feedback, & if they respond by giving us the public interest debate, I think I might argue that, that doesn't over-ride the cost to the individual.

  13. At 12:01 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Mad Mary,

    You're 'The MAN!

    (with apologies, if needed)
    xx
    ed

  14. At 12:04 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Simon (11:32am) -

    My (10:51) comment was not in response to your first, which was not visible at the time, it was in response to Eddie, and his decision to have a thread for the Suffolk murders. See also Belinda (11:46).

  15. At 12:20 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Andrzej wrote:

    There is a grizzly "Guinness Book of Records" feel about this story. I'm somewhere between Simon and Belinda in outlook. The Norfolk ladies put themselves in danger by their own actions. That does not lessen the evil that has been perpetuated against them. Their killer(s) must be arrested without delay.

  16. At 12:23 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Mike wrote:

    Belinda said "Taking women off the streets, legalising prostitution, putting the women into rehab or arresting their pimps or customers will not stop sick people murdering others. If the (presumably mentally-ill) murderer was not currently targeting prostitutes or did not have access to them, then it would be another group of vulnerable people and surely we are all open in some way to crimes like this."

    But Eddie Mair started the thread with "...have suggested I start a thread on the murders, and the issues that they have cast light on. Here it is."

    Posts relate to the issues.

    Police will carry out their task, as they would no matter who was murdered. Yet again a murderer has targeted street prostitutes. That gives rise to various issues. I cannot identify anything in all of this awful situation that suggests the murderer(s) in this case would have picked on someone else, whether suffering mental illness or not. Whoever the culprit it seems obvious they are targeting prostitutes, not others.

    It seems that understanding and dealing with root prostitution issues is also to deal with the potential for this class of murder. Isn't that better that dealing with it after the event?

  17. At 12:29 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Annasee (2);
    I listened from 0645 until 0750, but didn't hear that interview. I'm glad to have missed it. Yesterdays was one too many. Shame, because unlike many here I like 'Today'. Stuff like that spoils my listening.

    Mike (4);
    I find myself much in agreement with your line of thinking.

    nom (5);
    Well, by your criteria I'm halfway to being a murderer, due to the sympathy thing, or lack thereof. So only a strong sense of morality keeps me from a life sentence. And it's the same sense of morality that causes the lack of sympathy for people engaged in an illegal and immoral trade, fuelled it would seem by another illegal habit.

    Your personal standards and principles are all that you have to define yourself by. Relax your principles, lower your standards and you are less than the person you aspire to be. One may adjust ones stance on these things in the light of new ideas, where they seem to no longer be valid. I'm not the kind of hypocrite who says one rule for me and another for you.

    I dislike what these women did to earn money. I dislike the habit that may well have led them there in the first place. These are my principles. I believe that they are good ones and I stand by them.

    See marymary's comment at the bottom end of (7) about misunderstanding of words and phrases. I am a plain speaker, who doesn't like euphemisms much. Here is a definition of the word from Wikipedia;

    "The term prostitution refers to the act of voluntarily having sexual intercourse or performing other sexual acts, explicitly for material compensation -- normally money, but also other forms of property, including doses of narcotics, jewels, or real estate."

    That seems to cover what these women were engaged in. Why dress it up as something else? Why invent words or phrases when adequate ones already exist?

    Robbie (8);
    I've tried (6), although perhaps with not much success....

    Fifi (10;
    Hmm, I'd wondered about that too. Can I add my own voice to that request Mike?

    A real debate needs two more-or-less opposed sides. If I'm on the 'wrong' side of this one then I can live with that. And I look forward to being dissected here and reading other comments from those who both agree and disagree with my own viewpoint.

    Si.

  18. At 12:37 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Five young women are dead. Somewhere in the wider community somebody or some people responsible for these crimes roam free to commit further murders.

    I am, frankly, appalled that negative judgements are being passed upon the victims of these crimes. I hope that we are all sufficiently thoughtful to appreciate two things: firstly, that prostitution can only exist to satisfy a demand, and secondly, that anyone commenting on this matter here is probably considerably more fortunate - whether by birth, money, or other circumstance - than these poor women who have paid for their lifestyle with their lives. I, for one, feel considerable anger at the punters and drug dealers who prey upon these vulnerable women.

    I must make it clear that I could never support the oldest profession. I am, however, heartily grateful that I have never found myself in a position whereby I might have been tempted to take it up.

    And, even if you find my comments unpalatable, please do not forget the offence that comments about these women's lifestyle is likely to cause the relatives who are now grieving their loss.

  19. At 12:45 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Five young women are dead. Somewhere in the wider community somebody or some people responsible for these crimes roam free to commit further murders.

    I am, frankly, appalled that negative judgements are being passed upon the victims of these crimes. I hope that we are all sufficiently thoughtful to appreciate two things: fiI must make it clear that I could never support the oldest profession. I am, however, heartily grateful that I have never found myself in a position whereby I might have been tempted to take it up.

    And, even if you find my comments unpalatable, please do not forget the offence that comments about these women's lifestyle is likely to cause the relatives who are now grieving their loss, that prostitution can only exist to satisfy a demand, and secondly, that anyone commenting on this matter here is probably considerably more fortunate - whether by birth, money, or other circumstance - than these poor women who have paid for their lifestyle with their lives. I, for one, feel considerable anger at the punters and drug dealers who prey upon these vulnerable women.

    .

  20. At 12:50 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    One of my messages has not shown up. At the risk of repeating myself:

    Simon (6) · Post (3) was not in response to (1), which wasn’t visible then. It was a reply to Eddie’s thread opener. See also Belinda (9).

  21. At 12:57 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Mike,

    please add me to fifi's request list if you're able to publish your draft.
    Salaam, etc.
    ed

  22. At 12:57 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Mike wrote:

    Fifi (10), I don't mind others having a peek. How to? Putting it on a website may not be appropriate given that the chappie employed by us (Blair) has it on the table. It is a serious issue. Suggestions?

    Doc (11), go ahead and quote! Perhaps underneath a cartoon of hands appearing over wall with "{name} woz here!"

    As for BBC interviews, I agree they were handled in bad taste at a time when people are vulnerable through grief. Poor presenting, sordid ethics. Especially so when no difficulty exists getting the point across in another way.

  23. At 01:04 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    It is a shame that you can't value them Simon (1) because these women don't value themselves either. While I might prefer that they weren’t in this line of work, I suspect my I am led by how awful it must be for them; I think I would take heroin if I did their job. Some people don’t have choices, or don’t perceive they have a choice, even if you could see how they might have options. While we all are free to express opinions here, judgements like that are not for us to make; let he who is without sin etc.?

    Excuse me everyone if I used the word prostitute, it is value laden, but I am not going to unpack the semantics. I think it was the same Today programme, which conducted that very crass interview/ which had 2 people debating the linguistics. Both had interesting points & I agreed with them both on at different times. It is often down to what anyone wants to be called but I do have a colleague who would be happy to be termed a sex worker; she supports women who work in prostitution as well as those who want to get out.

    I shall second madmary (7) (& I agree with everything you’ve said of course).

    Research has given us evidence that most women who enter prostitution have been abused. Surely that must mop up some of the evil vice girl narrative given the way we consider child abuse? Eddie, can you find someone that did that research? I can’t look her up today, but just sent you an email which might help should PM be interested. They don’t let any men in the building, particularly having been taken in by one plausible but extraordinarily violent & abusive partner.

    Attitudes to domestic violence altered, & it really wouldn't be a vast leap to extend this to the prostitutes who are currently required to consider it just an aspect of the job. It really isn't that long since the police refused to get involved in domestic disputes, but this is all male violence towards women by those who find some justification somewhere in their very strange minds.

  24. At 01:05 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    It is a shame that you can't value them Simon (1) because these women don't value themselves either. While I might prefer that they weren’t in this line of work, I suspect my I am led by how awful it must be for them; I think I would take heroin if I did their job. Some people don’t have choices, or don’t perceive they have a choice, even if you could see how they might have options. While we all are free to express opinions here, judgements like that are not for us to make; let he who is without sin etc.?

    Excuse me everyone if I used the word prostitute, it is value laden, but I am not going to unpack the semantics. I think it was the same Today programme, which conducted that very crass interview/ which had 2 people debating the linguistics. Both had interesting points & I agreed with them both on at different times. It is often down to what anyone wants to be called but I do have a colleague who would be happy to be termed a sex worker; she supports women who work in prostitution as well as those who want to get out.

    I shall second madmary (7) (& I agree with everything you’ve said of course).

    Research has given us evidence that most women who enter prostitution have been abused. Surely that must mop up some of the evil vice girl narrative given the way we consider child abuse? Eddie, can you find someone that did that research? I can’t look her up today, but just sent you an email which might help should PM be interested. They don’t let any men in the building, particularly having been taken in by one plausible but extraordinarily violent & abusive partner.

    Attitudes to domestic violence altered, & it really wouldn't be a vast leap to extend this to the prostitutes who are currently required to consider it just an aspect of the job. It really isn't that long since the police refused to get involved in domestic disputes, but this is all male violence towards women by those who find some justification somewhere in their very strange minds.

  25. At 01:12 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    Simon,
    If I have understood you correctly, your lack of sympathy for the murdered women rests on their choice of prostitution and drug taking as a way of life. Something which you see them having alternatives to.

    As others have already said I think this not how it is. According to today's Independent, 42% of prostitutes have at some time been in the care system. This system which they leave at 16 has often provided little affection, security, education or preparation for an independent life. How does someone in this position find lodging, employment and a secure place in society? OK many do, but some are not so lucky.

    In the context of current Today programme journalism I did hear a better (and very sympathetic) interview with a woman who had turned to prostitution after leaving a violent husband and with three small children to support. The benefits system was slow to respond, she needed to put food on the table and the evening work allowed her to spend time looking after her children. She clearly did not enjoy prostitution or want to continue, but presumably believed she had no other marketable skills with which to support her children.

    As for the debate around the use of 'prostitute' in headlines and news pieces I think those wishing to hear them referred to as 'women' are not denying what they did, but wanting to reaffirm their right to be recognised as human beings.

    There are many people I have come across who I have found unsympathetic, but I would want to assert their right to be treated as fellow humans and their potential to change their lives given the right help at the right time.

    Sadly for these five women it is too late.

  26. At 01:13 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Karen wrote:

    I switched off Today too. I'm sick of hearing how "the people of Ipswich are coping."

    When the first prostitute went missing in October many of us commented that she looked like someone we knew. It's a small town - you may recognise people even if you don't know them because you bump into them so frequently.

    When the second lady disappeared it became a little more of a concern.

    The first bodies turned up on the west side of Ipswich close to where I used to work. That caused some chatter on the east side of the town. The last bodies turned up less than half a mile from where I live and that is cause for real concern.

    It is the main topic of conversation here. At the moment the red light district is the safest part of Ipswich - what the police don't see then ITN, BBC News or Sky will catch. I needed to drive to Bramford Road on Tuesday and it was the first time in a long while I felt apprehensive about going out after dark. Bramford Road is only half a mile from the red light district, but there is no one obviously watching over you there. The roads in the area are poorly lit and I felt genuinely frightened. I'm not usually hysterical about these things but all of us are a little jumpy at the moment.

    Today the focus shifts off us and onto Diana. At 12 noon the report into her death was issued. At 12 noon there was a rumour going around that Uncle has been detained. Another rumour that the blue BMW has been found. Another rumour that someone was spotted in the grounds of the local private hospital 6 weeks ago and tried to grab a nurse after dark.

    This goes way beyond a few drug addicted prostitutes. Everyone knows someone who knows them. One of them looks like a girl who was in a youth group I used to run. I can't be certain, but I possibly know her in that context and I feel really sad that her life may have taken that turn.

    The other sad thing is the constant suggestion that Suffolk Police are in some way incapable of managing this. There's a real sense of community here and all of us (at work this morning) were able to name our Community PC. We have total faith in their abilities.

    We've discussed this at work this morning and one of the few crumbs of comfort we have is that we genuinely believe that Det Supt Gull and his team are committed to finding this killer and giving the females of Ipswich some peace of mind. After the media have moved on to something more exciting at least we know that our local Police are still watching out for us.

  27. At 01:15 PM on 14 Dec 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Re Simon (1)

    I wonder if you'd feel differently if you were a parent of one of the girls ?

  28. At 01:18 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Sorry, reposting as it seems to have been 'lost':

    Five young women are dead. Somewhere in the wider community somebody or some people responsible for these crimes roam free to commit further murders.

    I am, frankly, appalled that negative judgements are being passed upon the victims of these crimes. I hope that we are all sufficiently thoughtful to appreciate two things: fiI must make it clear that I could never support the oldest profession. I am, however, heartily grateful that I have never found myself in a position whereby I might have been tempted to take it up.

    And, even if you find my comments unpalatable, please do not forget the offence that comments about these women's lifestyle is likely to cause the relatives who are now grieving their loss, that prostitution can only exist to satisfy a demand, and secondly, that anyone commenting on this matter here is probably considerably more fortunate - whether by birth, money, or other circumstance - than these poor women who have paid for their lifestyle with their lives. I, for one, feel considerable anger at the punters and drug dealers who prey upon these vulnerable women.

  29. At 01:21 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Rachel wrote:

    Simon,

    What seems to be missing from your arguments - and contrary to your self-deprecation, they seem well enough argued, even though I disagree profoundly with them - is any recognition of the role of men in prostitution. You condemn these poor (in every sense, I fear) women, but the men who buy their services, supply their drugs, pimp for them and ultimately abuse, rape and murder them get no mention at all.

    Rachel

  30. At 01:24 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Stewart M wrote:

    Whetever your views are on prostitution Murder is a far worse crime. These ladies may have been murdered because of what they did (i.e prostitution) or because they were vulnerable or most worringly becasue they were women. The shocking thing is the time scale. The yorkshire ripper was over years. This is only weeks. A mind so derpaved to be able to do these acts over such a short time will at some point make a mistake and hopefully already has.

  31. At 01:36 PM on 14 Dec 2006, tomi wrote:

    "Whore" is a loaded word. "Prostitute" is not.

  32. At 02:08 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Belinda wrote:

    Mike (16): That's all well and good but it needs to be remembered that the murders are the primary issue here, and the world of prostitution and associated subjects are really the secondary issues in this case.
    The entire media focus (not just this thread) appears to be on the element of prostitution, not the fact that there is a crazy person out there who is strangling a series of poor women.

    I think as much attention needs to be given to the actions of the murderer rather than just his victims. I have worked with prostitutes/sex-workers/women in a cycle of abuse first-hand, and I know all the details of how and why they end up on the streets. What I do not know is why a person suddenly wakes up and decides that today is the day when he or she will start a killing spree. So far, I have seen no discussion and no answers on this.

  33. At 02:08 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Perky wrote:

    Si (1) - whilst I respect your opinion, I'm moved to post against you.

    You don't need to admire people to feel that they've been wronged. Without any knowledge of what's pushed these ladies and others into working the streets, it's almost impossible for any of us to judge them, or those who control them. What is possible is for us to take a minute to think about why these ladies are seemingly being selected in this way - could it possibly be because they are so far off our radar that they're easy prey?

    No-one deserves to be taken from the street, murdered and dumped naked in a stream.

  34. At 02:11 PM on 14 Dec 2006, nom wrote:

    Well, by your criteria I'm halfway to being a murderer, due to the sympathy thing, or lack thereof.

    Simon (17), you may think that my way of thinking puts you half-way to being a murderer, yourself, but it doesn't. I may think it gives you something in common with an individual who also happens to be a killer, but that's all. I'm certain I have a modes of thinking and opinions in common with him or her, too.

    I dislike what these women did to earn money. I dislike the habit that may well have led them there in the first place. These are my principles. I believe that they are good ones and I stand by them.

    As I said, I dislike what these women did too and as far as that goes my principles are the same as yours, but I have other principles which to my mind go much deeper. I aspire to be a greater person than to just dismiss the possibility of sympathy with these women based solely upon what they did and what illegal habits they may have had. None of these women became prostitutes because of a simple cause and effect. There but for grace ...

    And you may not have noticed, but I don't call them sex workers. I call them prostitutes just the same as you do. I was only pointing out why some feel the need to do otherwise. I understand sympthatize with those reasons even if I do not agree with them.

  35. At 02:28 PM on 14 Dec 2006, marymary wrote:

    Surely we don't have to approve or celebrate the work of prostitutes to feel something about the death of a life cut short. Surely that is what is so appalling about murder? It's not who the victim was but the idea that someone deliberately took away the life of another with no lawful justification.

    Where someone is killing more than one person (serial killings) it is even more appalling as it is not about the victim at all, but about whoever the killer is and what is going on in his or her mind. So in a way it doesn't matter to us that these women were prostitutes at all, it only matters in the process of investigating and hopefully catching this killer and of course matters to the killer, if their work is part of the motivation for killing.

    There is so much I want to say on this subject but I just get myself tangled up in my thoughts.

    Mary

  36. At 02:31 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Chrissie the Trekkie wrote:

    Rachel, (26) good point.

    Without the demand for their services, they would have no reason to sell themselves on the street!


    And although my mind is still boggling at the idea of Ipswich having a red light district with so many 'working' women in it - they do actually put the rest of us at risk.
    If we are unaware that prostitutes are working in the area, and a lone woman (or man - if it is that sort or area) is walking at night, she/he is in danger of being taken for one of them and harassed - or worse.
    Surely the needs of the many demand the end of this trade in our 'enlightened, liberal' times?

  37. At 02:31 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    "They don’t let any men in the building, particularly having been taken in by one plausible but extraordinarily violent & abusive partner."

    I edited this until it was nonsense, they are a project who support prostitutes & women who want to leave prostitution.

  38. At 02:41 PM on 14 Dec 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Si

    A question - hypothetical but bear with me. I don't insist upon a Yes or a No answer, but I'd appreciate a fairly concise response.

    Say you personally know of someone in the situation of one of the Suffolk women. They have a drug habit. They support that drug habit by prostitution. We'll not dwell on what got them into this situation, but their life is a horrible mess,

    They hate the life that they have come to lead and really want to break out of it but can't seem to find the steps that will change things for them.

    Would you try to help them if you could? Should anybody offer them help?

    RJD

  39. At 02:41 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Anne P (24) "As for the debate around the use of 'prostitute' in headlines and news pieces I think those wishing to hear them referred to as 'women' are not denying what they did, but wanting to reaffirm their right to be recognised as human beings." I was a bit flippant about this in my post because I think I was concerned it might become a bit of a distraction, but you are absolutely right & they should be.

    "There are many people I have come across who I have found unsympathetic, but I would want to assert their right to be treated as fellow humans and their potential to change their lives given the right help at the right time." Good point, well made & everyone deserves a chance. After all, despite not liking Simon's attitude at all, I shall still listen to him next time.

    I do have a moral compass Simon, but I have had opportunities to take a route through life some people don't have. I have been able to recover from my mistakes, ask for the services I knew were there when in need of support, & not rejected by those I love. Some people aren't that lucky & I didn't really consider myself lucky until I wrote that line. I really would still not rule out resorting to prostitution if given a different set of circumstances, for some women it is their only commodity.

    Karen (25) thank you for telling us the experience is playing out for you; it is particularly interesting to read how safe the red light district is now that it is under the spotlight. I too am not a timid, but would also be nervous about going out after dark in your area. You are right, this is a man who doesn't have regard for women, whoever they are.

  40. At 02:42 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Member of the Public wrote:

    It may be the oldest profession in the world, but in Britain at least the authorities have still not worked out how to deal with the illicit trade of prostitution. It's simply beyond their wit. The profession itself is not technically illegal but soliciting on the streets, a practice the murder victims in Ipswich appear to have been engaged in, is on the wrong side of the law and puts those who ply the trade in a uniquely vulnerable situation.

    In parts of Britain the trade has gone on throughout living memory and although in recent years tactics devised by police and other public bodies have changed noticeably, they have failed to eradicate the problem. Historically prostitutes have been regarded as the principle offenders by law enforcement agencies.

    Today the opinion has changed considerably, with 'the girls' now largely regarded as a vulnerable community in need of help and assistance rather than prosecution by police.

    These days it is the men who use prostitutes who are far more likely to face prosecution or some other form of police intervention which is a start. In some parts of Britain there has been an acceptance that prosecution alone will not solve the problem and alternatives have been devised. But are they working? In some places street prostitutes face ASBOs, will this make any difference? I doubt it. After all we've already been told about the amount of ASBO's that have been broken.

    The Government, I think needs to inject some steel in its backbone and start to tackle the drug dealers and those that take them head on. Tougher prison sentences need to be given. The entire legal system and prison tariffs need to be overhauled. I think we've put up with the softly-softly namby-pamby approach for far to long. It simply hasn't worked, has it?

  41. At 02:43 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Mike (22) : we could adapt the Separate Lilypad tactic that enabled some of the regulars on this blog to debate and create the 'unofficial' PM blog website under Jonnie's auspices.

    This would limit access strictly to those authorised to view it. As author, you are surely entitled to show it to whomever you deem fit. You might feel more comfortable asking such people to agree to a confidentiality clause before letting them in -- I'll leave that to you to consider.

    How would it work? 2 ways:

    1.If you have a website, create a page for it but with no links to it from anywhere, and in such a place that nobody can just guess the code from your other pages to find the URL.

    Post a message here, but fill in the Website box at the top, to enable people to contact you via that website.

    As people contact you, assess whether you like the cut of their jib -- confidentiality agreement if necessary -- and if OK give them the URL.

    2. If you don't have a website, I could ask Jonnie to set aside a separate page for the document, no links.

    The next bit could be either me (did it for the PM lilypad debate) or you (if you don't mind making yourself publicly contactable --see above).

    I don't mind making my band's website the conduit for this. You'd then have to trust me to pass on the URL to them, or to pass on the emails from those asking, to you.

    ... sorry, I may be babbling. Trying to work, email a persistent correspondent in real time, and think this thing through all at the same time!

    Fifi ;o)

  42. At 02:55 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Doc (14 & 20);
    My misunderstanding. Sorry for jumping the gun.

    BigSis (18);
    I, for one, have never found any of your comments unpalatable. I actually agree with every thing that you say. I welcome your considered and thoughtful opinions whenever I see them on the screen. As I do with pretty much everything I read on this blog.

    That includes how appalling it is that people rush to judgement, as I have done. In defence I only plead that I am human, and in my imperfect weakness I make judgements, probably about many things, based on my own particular point of view.

    Sparkles (23);
    Again I plead a judgemental human weakness for holding the opinion that I do. As to taking drugs, etc. which comes first? Do they prostitute themselves to feed the habit, or do they take the drugs to numb themselves because of their 'work'. I have no idea, but suspect the former to apply in the majority of cases.

    I don't consider people in this position to be evil. But the people who prey on their vulnerability certainly are. Whether pushers or punters they take advantage of people who have no will to resist. I agree that pejoratives like 'evil vice girls' are at best unhelpful, at worst potentially dangerous.

    I wonder if anyone out there has double standards. How do you feel about the man who was hounded out of his home because he committed a paedophile act of manslaughter in 1989. He has served his punishment as determined by the courts. He is co-operating with the police. Would you welcome him living next door to you, provided he continued to co-operate? Or would you rush to judgement and condemn him out-of-hand, as has happened in Somerset?

    I would point out that not all domestic violence is male against female. But I agree that the evidence base would show that the majority is. Nor is it all physical. Mental abuse is far more subtle and insidious. And far harder to detect.

    Karen (26);
    Who is Uncle?

    jonnie (27);
    Quite possibly, I'll admit. I have two daughters, aged 10 and 7, living with my ex-wife. I hope that I'm never in this situation.

    Rachel (29);
    I agree. I overlooked that angle. Corrected in my comments above directed towards Sparkles.

    Si.

  43. At 02:57 PM on 14 Dec 2006, nom wrote:

    Stewart M (30)

    I personally think that people, these women included, are never murdered because of who they are or what they do. They are murdered because of who the murderer is and what the murderer thinks/feels.

    And I think this is something which would perhaps become more apparent if, as Dr Ian Stephen suggested as possible, the killer started targeting women who are not prostitutes.

  44. At 02:59 PM on 14 Dec 2006, nom wrote:

    tomi (31)

    All words are loaded. Some more negatively than others.

  45. At 03:02 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Fifi wrote:

    My best friend A is a heavy smoker. Bullies at school physically forced her to smoke a whole cigarette. She has been an unwilling addict ever since - now in her 50s, exactly 10 years older than I.

    By contrast, I tried really hard to smoke when I was 13 or 14, to gain some much needed playground cred. I was rubbish at it and eventually gave up.

    A's health is not good and the symptoms of her other problems are aggravated by the smoking. She knows that, and despite being more intelligent and strong-willed than anyone I know she can't quit.

    She used to be an enthusiastic drinker too, and managed to kick that habit -- so it's not even that she has an 'addictive personality.'

    Meanwhile I am still an enthusiastic drinker, and although don't consider myself addicted I would be very sorry to give it up!

    It's easy to judge other people, based on the things that 'we' ourselves find easy.

    An old friend B's dad, a self-made millionaire, couldn't understand why anyone needs to be on Benefit. He'd built up a successful business from nothing, so why couldn't they? They must just be lazy, obviously.

    I'm not sure how his beliefs might have altered after the firm went bust (a family member didn't have his head for business) and he was declared bankrupt, as I lost touch with B when we moved north. I do know he had a stroke shortly afterwards.

    Judge not, lest.... etc.

    Fifi

  46. At 03:24 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    tomi (31),

    Really? I have a gardening friend who is proud to be the best hoe-er in Southwest Scotland. A truly useful and highly valued skill.
    xx
    ed

  47. At 04:06 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Lucy wrote:

    Been reading all the posts with a mixture of horror (Simon) and interest (er..the rest). Simon – your views are pretty extreme and perhaps a blog isn’t the place to post your rather unsavoury and outmoded (and long-winded) views of prostitutes. I’m surprised you haven’t referred to them as ‘tarts’ – a la Simon Heffer in the Telegraph.
    It was nice to read one of the women referred to as a “lady” – they are all women, human beings, daughters, and in one case, a mother. Simon’s rather cold postings seem to have hit a nerve with a lot of people – and I think the comment about “what if it was your daughter” hit the nail on the head.
    I agree with the comments regarding the interviewing of distraught parents – is there any real need? And Sky News’ coverage is just pure journalist gratification – endlessly going over the same bits over and over. And was I the only one to hear the edge of thrill in the reporter’s voice as he breathlessly revealed one of the women had been found naked….? Let’s have some decorum, please.

  48. At 04:16 PM on 14 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Belinda, I too would like to know why someone starts this process of killing people. My guess is that this person has committed crimes of lesser gravity which are either violent or sexual (ie peeping tom) in nature, or has wanted to do something like it but something in his or her life has changed recently to make that possible.

    What is chilling is that the killings were continuing whilst the media attention was focussed on Ipswich, either that means that the killer is ignorant of the risk they take (quite possibly out of control) or is enjoying the attention - a very chilling prospect.

    I'm not forensic psychologist just some thoughts that have struck me in trying to make sense of the situation.

    Mary

  49. At 04:21 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Sparkly Sister,

    It wasn't nonsense, so far as I was concerned. I understood what you were saying perfectly. Now about getting exorcised....let's find a quiet corner of the beach and have a talk.

    And Mary, You really are right on the mark, so far as I'm concerned, blog and all.
    xx
    ed

  50. At 05:03 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Karen wrote:

    Uncle is the name that was being given locally to one of the regulars at the scene.

    The current news (from people who have driven into Ipswich from Felixstowe, Levington and Nacton) is that the BMW was nothing to do with it and that "Uncle" has given a voluntary statement.

    All of this is rumour and gossip. We appreciate that the police need to keep things close to their chest for the security of the investigation and have no hassle with that.

    Every night this week I've heard the police helicopter buzzing over. The police turned up to interview a neighbour of one of my colleagues in relation to this inquiry.

    I feel real pity for the prostitutes. Yes, it's a hassle if you're in that area because you get annoyed by the prostitutes looking for business or the kerb crawlers looking for a girl. It's supply and demand though. There is a substitute for the heroin addicts - methadone. The crack addicts haven't currently got anything to really help them manage their addiction. The whole addiction management thing is probably another contentious thread altogether.

    If that girl I think I know IS the one I know then I feel really sad. She was a quiet, sweet, withdrawn little angel at 11 with issues at school. It makes you wonder what's happened in between times to make her dependent on drugs.

  51. At 05:14 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Mark Intime wrote:

    I don't think I've ever known a prostitute. I don't find that an issue. I was a teacher and I recognise in the photos of the murdered women, children I might once have taught; that is what saddens me. Sympathy for the victims is too late, but perhaps a degree of sympathy and understanding at an earlier stage might have negated the need for the five women to pursue such a profession.
    My concern is now for any woman who is out alone at night. I believe that anyone who preys on those in a twilight profession would be just as likely to prey on others. Their vulnerability is a woeful indictment of my sex and the sooner the murderer is arrested the better.

  52. At 05:20 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Mike wrote:

    Ed (46) wrote "Really? I have a gardening friend who is proud to be the best hoe-er in Southwest Scotland."

    Given the gravity of the present subject that was truly awful. Your friend cannot possibly compete with the skills, presentation and dark humour required for a fairground sound effects artist - the whoooooer in a ghost train ride?

  53. At 05:40 PM on 14 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    RJD, I would like to think I would try to help someone in that situation. It would be difficult and I personally probably wouldn't have the resources.

    Simon W - re the do the women turn to drugs because of the prostitution or the reverse - it's a bit chicken and egg. I suspect it's a bit of both. What can happen is that a girl (and I mean girl) is befriended, provided with accommodation, made to feel "loved" by an older man (usually a man), given drugs as a "treat", becomes addicted without meaning to or even wanting to, and then told that if they want more they must work for it. Those who don't start that way may seek out means of coping with what they do. Whichever way it is it will be a vicious cycle.

    Getting off the streets is no easy matter.

    nom @ 30 - I completely agree, I think I posted something similar earlier.

    Mary

  54. At 06:35 PM on 14 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    Just thought (following on from Karen's moving contributions) that we should have a lot of sympathy for the police in this investigation.

    I know personally a lot of police officers (through my work) and I imagine that they will find this an extremely distressing and stressful investigation.

    So I just wanted to say that my thoughts are also with those officers who will be working around the clock and feel under enormous pressure.

    Mary

  55. At 06:52 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    A great deal has happened on this post since I wrote this morning. I would like in particular to thank Karen for taking the time to illuminate our discussion with her local insights and by putting 'flesh', so to speak, on our impressions of these poor women who have lost their lives in this incredibly sordid way.

    Simon: I also respect your opinions, even if I haven't always agreed with them. I understand your passion in this matter. I suspect that, if you were a woman, your views would be closer to my own in this matter. It is in many ways encouraging to know there are men with such strong moral compasses on these issues, but it is appropriate to bear in mind that it is also generally men who - one way or another - engineer the situations which lead to female prostitution.

    From your more recent postings, I gather you may have also thought about these points and that our opinions on the matter are closer now than they were this morning.

  56. At 08:39 PM on 14 Dec 2006, Lewis wrote:

    Well I hadn't expected this thread to take this tone.

    Prostitution has been more or less common in this country throughout recorded history. Whether or not that's a good thing is kind of irrelevant, it happens despite the level of legislation and the danger of the situation.

    So, how about a rather radical approach. Legalise it. Make legal brothels. You don't want to live next to a brothel... fair enough. It's a commercial transaction, so put it in a commercially zoned area. Call it the sex industry and put it on an industrial park.

    What do we gain? Well the prostitutes gain somewhere safer to work. The users of their "services" can easily gain a safer experience, both in terms of not being arrested, and in health terms. We avoid in a decade or so the next of these stories too.

    Whilst we're at it... legalise the use of drugs. Treat it as a medical condition, just like we treat addiction to alcohol and tobacco: the main difference those two are socially acceptable, the remainder (with the increasing exception of cannabis) are socially unacceptable, even demonised.

    The women who are prostituting themselves for the money for hard drugs can get some support to get off the drugs as well.

    The fact that both of these steps might earn some money in taxes and reduce the load on prisons and police time shouldn't be overlooked either, but IMO the reasoning stands before such mercenary considerations enter in.

    Someone much higher up the list pointed out that if you're a mentally ill predator you'll seek other prey. That is almost certainly true of some serial killers, although prostitutes do seem to be a perennial favourite in this country. We can't protect everyone sensibly all the time, but surely changing the conditions so the currently favoured group of victims are more protected, especially when there are other pro-change factors helps all round.

  57. At 08:49 PM on 14 Dec 2006, NeilRoss wrote:

    Many comments have been posted on this subject and some opinions (Simon's) that I have profoundly disagreed with, to the extent that my mind is still churning for apposite responses.

    However one issue still remains at the forefront, these women were most likely the victims of men. Not just in the sense that, because they were sex workers, they were more vulnerable to attack and therefore murdered, but that they are; victims also of violent men that use their services; victims, in many cases, of childhood abuse, again perpetrated by men, which caused them to end up in desperation as street walkers, and finally, as the victims of the men who 'pimp' them (as if there is any effort of work done by these men on the women's behalf short of relieving them of the greater part of their earnings, usually with violence and always with menaces), either criminal gangs (foreign and local) or 'boyfriends', and ensure their presence on the streets, to be joined daily, on a national basis, by newer victims, and the cycle goes on, and it is just so wrong! It does nearly bring me to tears when I think about all their suffering and the unfairness of it.

    This has also prompted me to think that, whilst the majority of the media has focussed on the likelihood of these women being the victim of a single and sexually motivated spree killer, it could just as likely be that these women have been the victims of the men that control their working lives. Street workers are a lucrative source of income for these men, who demand the majority of any money earned, usually leaving enough for the girl's daily fixes (again supplied by the same man but not at any discount), some money to put food on the table and a little extra, just enough to make the women feel that she has some control over what she does. These men also require that these women do not become too independently minded or start to question why they should hand over their earnings. There is a vast human trafficking network able to supply new victims to our streets and these same men may see some women as 'expendable'.

    It is a violent world that these women endure and perhaps it is time that we, as a society, should look at the men who control the industry, both the transnational gangs and the independent pimp, and demand punitive action. These men are not averse to using violence, no matter how extreme or shocking, to ensure that their writ reamins large.

  58. At 08:50 PM on 14 Dec 2006, whisht wrote:

    I'd just like to thank everyone who took the time to write here as I have been made to think and consider the situation slightly more deeply and differently. As others have said, thankyou Karen for the point of view of a local.

    Simon, everyone else has had their go and you have considered your stance. Not necessarily changing your mind or your opinions but at least feeling an extra bit of light on it. And thankyou for being honest and not a hypocrite nor afraid to say something that you knew would be controversial.

    As for drugs and choices, its actually very very easy to take drugs. I've tried a variety of types and been lucky not to get addicted to them. I'm not sure why, but I've ended up knowing that my favourite drug is alcohol. Its damaging to my health and was potentially damaging to personal relationships a few years ago, and was also the cause of me getting badly mugged some years ago, but still - its easy to get hold of, and I enjoy the effects.

    Like Fi - I'm not addicted, nor an alcoholic but I'd be loathe to give it up as its so central to my social life. And its really boring being with people who are merry/ drunk when you're not.

    I'm glad I haven't tried some drugs that would have made me addicted to them and rob me of my ability to make certain choices.

    I'm a little surprised noone picked up on the fact that you wanted the murderer "to swing".

    As you yourself said -
    "Murder is the most evil crime". Murder can be defined (and is by one source) as to:
    "kill intentionally and with premeditation; "The mafia boss ordered his enemies murdered"
    And taking someone whom you have control over (ie they are in custody during the trial) and deciding for thm to die and making provision for that (ie building a gallows) is certainly "Intentional" and "premeditated".

    Could I feel sympathy for the murderer? Probably not. Should I aspire to?
    Probably.
    Should his crime make me a murderer too?

    No.

    But this thread is about the women who were prostitutes who were murdered, the thoughts that these crimes have provoked and the effects this has had on their families and all of us.

  59. At 02:32 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    mary (54) I have been thinking exactly that myself today, & I am very fed up with hearing about past mistakes in reference to this case; are we waiting for the police to trip up? I know that would make a better story, but I am getting a little tired of those the mentions of flawed cases & I don't envy either the pressure or media scrutiny the police are under.

    I would be very grateful if *we could just wait, let them do their job, & possibly learn how it can be done better next time as we hope lessons have been learnt from the past. In the meantime, I would like people to recognise that the police force, while a huge organisation, is one comprised of admirable human endeavour.

    *When I say we, I mean all the flaming reporters who seem to be asking when something will go as wrong as it did in the Yorkshire Ripper case. Not we as in froggers of course!

  60. At 02:58 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Ed (49) methinks I am using the wrong word?! Oh I just took a shine to it, but shall attend to it forthwith!

    You know what I really like about this blog is that one can profoundly disagree with someone, but the debate continues, people shift their perspectives, & we all learns something. Most of the time, like a lot of people, I am surrounded by people who think like me. I really like to find people who think like me here, but have something to add, but the conduct of us all is to be admired!

    Well Simon that probably is for your benefit! & excuse me if I don’t post a number, I’ve got back late & am tired, but couldn’t resist a peek at what the froggers have been up to! Thank you for your graciousness.

    I should also correct myself about male violence towards women, you are absolutely right that it isn’t gender specific, & emotional abuse is just as damaging. The ex-prostitutes I have encountered have experienced both, one woman actually fetched the hammer for her partner/pimp to beat her senseless with, it takes a leap of imagination beyond mine to put myself in her shoes.

    nom (43) I haven't read the link, but agree with you, & suspect the vulnerability of prostitutes gave this person access. Our concern for the future should be any woman who is vulnerable in Ipswich, especially now the red light district is under spotlights & therefore safer?

  61. At 10:35 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Me @ (59) err I'm not an unquestioning fan of the police BTW, I am still as left wing & liberal as you have all been led to believe thus far! Just thinking about how hard the Ipswich force must be working right now & how difficult it must be for them.

  62. At 10:57 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Perky (33);
    I believe that I've agreed with your point of view in a post somewhere on this thread.

    RJD (38);
    Yes and Yes. But I wouldn't keep at it ad infinitum. There comes a point, if they don't genuinely keep up the effort and relapse, and relapse, and..... where you have to call an end and move on. Part of the problem is that if you put them through withdrawal to sort out the drugs problem, if you help them with their other issues, they are still in the same old environment and prone to go back to bad old ways. How do you fix that?

    Lucy (47);
    I would disagree, naturally, that I am extreme in my view. I do not, and would not, propose to jail prostitutes, have them pilloried, put in the stocks, named and shamed. They are unfortunates, whether coerced or voluntarily. I do not suggest cold turkey for all drug addicts as a serious solution. The reasons why these people, have become addicts and prostitutes need removing (and yes that includes the people who abuse them, forom whichever direction). With no reason to stay 'on the game', they would need to be helped to find an alternative direction in life. They will need constant support to prevent any relapse. Some simply will not make the transition, no matter the help given. Life's like that.

    You may find my views unsavoury, that's your prerogative. I find some of the other views on this blog unsavoury. But I read them with close attention and respect the right of each and every person to air their views. This is the ideal place to air ones views, precisely because most other contributors give the same respect to my views that I accord to theirs. If everyone felt the same there would be no debate, and no reason for serious threads like this. I'm not so sure that my views are outmoded. Prostitutes live a part of their lives outside the accepted bounds of society. They are beyond the pale for many people, that's exactly WHY they are so vulnerable to every pimp, pusher and punter out there. And why it's so damned hard for them to come in from the cold.

    Whisht (58);
    Thanks for that. The gallows still exists. It's down in the South Yard of Devenport Dockyard, where I believe it's now part of a museum display (?). It was an active gallows right through the 1990's, tested every Monday morning with a test weight and a noose of new hemp rope. It only became redundant when the government adopted the Human Rights Act into British Law and gave up forever the right of the British judicial system to have a death sentence in this country. Prior to that the penalty still existed for certain crimes, including Piracy on the High Seas, Arson in a Naval Dockyard, High Treason and one or two more!

    I happen to think that Murder should still be a capital crime. I think that it is such a heinous crime that in certain circumstances, such as serial killers, or killers of police officers it should still apply, i.e. the very extreme end of the spectrum of unlawful killing. But I'm sensible enough to realise that it can never happen again. So that's the end of it. Doesn't alter my opinion though.

    I knew that my view would be controversial and probably on the minority side of the argument. So it has proven. Strangely Member of the Public (40) has taken a far stronger verbal line than I have, but nobody seems to be responding to him?

    Si.

  63. At 11:19 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Whisht (58): Your personal observations touched me, and also bring me to confess that it is this need to acknowledge our own imperfections which inspires much of my thinking on this and other matters. Also, that we do need to adopt the "there but for the grace of God" approach to the considerable slice of our communities who don't fit into the 'acceptable' profiles of our own lives.

    I also agree with your comments about capital punishment. It has never seemed logical or acceptable to me for Society to punish homicide by homicide.

    While unable to empathise with acts of violence or immorality, I acknowledge that this is because I had the good fortune to be brought up in an atmosphere safe from such actions. However, I now know enough of the lives of others to realise that many many others are denied such good fortune. This makes me loathe to condemn out of hand, instead seeking to understand the life map which may have led some people to act as they do.

    I don't consider myself to be a woolly liberal in these matters, being convinced of the necessity to isolate extreme cases from society, when necessary, for the protection of others.

    Somebody on the thread has also commented on the role of the police. From what I've seen and heard, and also from comments by locals, there seems a consensus that the Suffolk Police are handling these cases with great sensitivity, and also are actively working towards providing a greater deal of protection to the women of Ipswich. I applaud them.

  64. At 11:49 AM on 15 Dec 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Si (62) : Yes, I notice that too. It could be because MOTPublic comes across in tone more like an official report than the holder of an impassioned opinion.

    Sorry if I do you an injustice, MOTP!

    I have written many such reports myself, keeping the emotion OUT. And read many many more, where a response is required but difficult to find because of the dispassionate delivery.

    The other difference is that MOTP doesn't ever post a lighthearted comment. He saves his frogging for delivering a complete opinion on a topic, then tends to stay out of the verbal ping-pong.

    You, on the other hand, Si, behave more like a flesh-and-blood person, with a sense of humour and a willingness to explore a topic even at the risk of having to moderate your initial expressions of view.

    MOTP is just as articulate, you have style.

    And just to show I'm not favouring anybody here ... did anyone see that concert where the world's greatest classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin joined jazz fiddler Stephane Grapelli on stage?

    I have the album and remember it well. Menuhin played jazz immaculately. Grapelli was the man to watch though!

    Fifi

  65. At 12:25 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    whisht (58)

    You state, “And its really boring being with people who are merry/drunk when you’re not.”

    For me, being with people who are merry/drunk makes me even less inclined to follow their lead.

  66. At 01:03 PM on 15 Dec 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Si (62)

    Oh I don't have the answer to that. It is like any other similar problem and requires willingness to change and an alteration of circumstances/surroundings and only a certain percentage will make it through.

    But I knew that you would answer Yes and Yes to the questions, proving that your opening statement “I have no sympathy whatsoever for these ladies” was too harsh a description of your attitude to the subject. I think some people read that very stark phrase and then didn’t take in the rest of your comments.

    Anyway, I appreciate the open views and the fact that you started a good discussion.

    RJD

  67. At 01:20 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Fifi,

    Grapelli was brilliant. Menuhin too. Also the guitarist who toured with Grapelli, an Ayrshire man whose name escapes my memory. Saw them live in Dumfries of all places. Nectar for the ears.

    I agree with most of the sentiments expressed on this thread and especially support the police in their efforts. Thanks Karen for your local insight. Thanks Lewis for your thoughts, which are much in tune with mine. We should legalise prostitution, or at least de-criminalise it, and we should buy the Afghani poppy crop, both for the NHS and a sensible drug programme, killing several birds with a couple of inexpensive stones.

    xx
    ed

    Houb Salaam
    ed

  68. At 02:27 PM on 15 Dec 2006, tomi wrote:

    Ed Iglehart (46)
    I would have thought that a resident of south west Scotland would refer to a "hoor" (unless they are very posh, that is).

  69. At 03:07 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Tomi,

    Some of my best friends are Posh folk. ;-)

  70. At 03:32 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Simon (42) I’d agree with Mary on the drug use, it can go either way, but either way it isn’t great for the women involved.

    The short answer to your reference to paedophiles is yes, I do believe that people should be considered rehabilitated, and there is evidence to support the effectiveness of treatment programmes (either in prison or run by the probation service). The focus on predatory paedophiles is generally erroneous; the real threat to children lies in their own households & at the hands of those they know. There are though a small number of such offenders who are pathological, as their would be in any criminal group I suspect, & they should probably be held securely. For others, the threat is lessened if offenders are not isolated, are re-integrated into society, & somehow we need to find a way for that to be possible. It is a difficult subject; one I am researching at the moment coincidentally, & I don’t have a solution (yet).

    Simon (62) you are absolutely right & returning to the same neighbourhood is a known risk for rehabilitated addict because it is then much easier to return to a former lifestyle/peer group etc. It is better for them to move away, & because it is on of the highest risk factors, there is support for this to happen.

    I would like to thank you for expressing your views, for listening to others, and engaging in the civilised debate we have here. I would agree with you & Fifi; It is very odd that MOTP just bungs in a narrative and then disengages, pray tell us why MOTP?

    NeilRoss (57) thank you for a very moving post, it is very important that we consider how much money prostitutes earn those who they work for. Organised crime is very organised, & globalisation makes borders more permeable for trade, including the illicit. Trafficked women break my heart, I thought slavery was in the past.

  71. At 05:22 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Whisht wrote:

    Dr. H (65) - yup.

    and notice i didn't say "hiccup" or anything as its an honest opinion that you've said before. fair nuff.

    "and those are my principles.... and if you don't like them.. I have others."
    (sorry couldn't resist)

  72. At 06:35 PM on 15 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    I wrote to feedback about the Today interview, am I turning into disgusted of Tunbridge Wells?!

  73. At 08:15 PM on 15 Dec 2006, whisht wrote:

    blimey - I come over a bit holier than thow and mea culper at times don't I?
    erm, I didn't mean to make more of my consumption of alcohol than it is. About... 10 pints a week?
    I only mentioned it as some of the discussion was about drugs being "bad" and our ability to look down on people who take them. I just wanted to point out and illustrate that many many people take drugs of all types, knowing full well the consequences but not thinking of them. Some drugs (and consumption) are acceptable and some ain't. and some are far far more damaging than others. But any of them is easy to take, especially the first time.

    anyway, this thread is about the women who were murdered. I've just read this on the bbc - not sure about the system in the Netherlands but the comments at the bottom make me now want to hear more stories and experiences and thoughts from people directly involved and affected (and I know a couple of froggers here work in the legal system so if you know of any good resources/ blogs, let us know)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6178793.stm

  74. At 08:20 PM on 15 Dec 2006, chLuke wrote:

    I have trailed briefly thro' all the discussion/arguments on prostitution, drug addiction, capital punishment etc., and interesting and informative as many of them are, realise that the chances of changing deeply entrenched views and opinions has about as much hope as the proverbial snowball, so I am not going to bother joining in on those particular aspects.
    Another aspect of this matter that concerns me very much is the nature of the culprit(s) and his/their offences. You will recall that the so-called Yorkshire Ripper killed 13 (perhaps more) women over a period of more than 5 years. This creature appears to have killed 5 women in the space of a fortnight or less and his blood lust is clearly very much up. He is not going to stop - not for long anyway. Prostitutes are, by their very nature easy targets and although the Yorkshire counterpart claimed that he heard a message from God instructing him to kill prostitutes, when things got too hot around the red light areas he continued to kill women who were clearly not engaged in that profession.
    One imagines that the Ipswich area is so stiff with police that it would be difficult to cough without getting arrested so our friend is likely to look elsewhere for his victims - perhaps other red light areas or ordinary citizens.
    Although I lapsed from the possible plural to the singular, it is well to keep an open mind on that aspect as this type of crime is often assumed to be the work of a lone lunatic (hope I haven't breeched somebody's human rights), remember Brady and Hinley, Fred and Rosemary West and the hillside stranglers in LA.
    With the massive resources allocated to this case, modern technology and forensic advances one hopes for an early breakthrough but my experience is that you also require that little bit of luck. Lets hope they get it.

  75. At 04:02 AM on 16 Dec 2006, LadySnorkPenMaiden wrote:

    It's late, and I've probably thought too much and read too much about all of this.

    The 'prostitutes' were people who were killed.

    What they did for a living - whatever their motivation - is immaterial.

    They were killed. Just for being where they were and doing what they thought they had to.

    I do what I think I have to do to keep myself going. I struggle to keep a roof over my head and feed and support my children.

    I don't sell my body but, if my body was a currency I thought I could trade, and if I couldn't see any other way of making a living, I might.

    That wouldn't give a potential purchaser the right to snuff me out.

    But I'd be fair game for anyone who thought differently, wouldn't I?

    xx
    LadyPen


  76. At 09:18 AM on 17 Dec 2006, Karen wrote:

    FYI the Red Cross have been called in by Suffolk Police to provide support to the community. They're in Portman Road every evening from 7pm to Midnight. Things are bad when the Red Cross are needed...

    Still a sense of apprehension here and still have rumours flying around.

    The real change that you can see from the ground is that the attitudes towards the prostitutes have changed. Our local paper is running a memorial campaign - Somebody's Daughter - which is exactly how these ladies are now seen. The fact that Anni was pregnant is trivia for the national media to get excited about - it doesn't appear to change the local perception. If you had read the Evening Star about a year ago the attitude towards the prostitutes was very different.

    On the day I posted my first entry we'd been looking at the Evening Star website. The lead story was "The Suffolk Murders," the second was about a hedge fire that took a full 10 minutes to extinguish. The paper is normally THAT dull!!

    Oh - and I still get annoyed everytime a reporter is asked "How are the people of Ipswich coping?" Think of that everytime you watch/listen to a two-way. And Suffolk Police HQ is at Martlesham, not Ipswich - minor point but that annoys some of us as well.

  77. At 11:15 AM on 17 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Karen:

    Thanks for your latest posting (today). What you say is really interesting, in particular the point about the way the victims are being viewed. This had occurred to me listening to the report of the Bishop's prayer at the football match yesterday.

    If you've read my earlier postings on this thread you'll know that I feel a great sympathy for the victims and for other women who are drawn towards prostitution for whatever reason. I have felt heartened that, not only in Suffolk, but elsewhere in the country, these horrendous murders are opening a more humane debate about the plight of prostitutes.

    We know that, these day, substance abuse is the driver which brings many women into pursuing this lifestyle. In time gone by, it was lack of opportunity and straightforward necessity which led women into prostitution. However you look at it, women don't normally do this where they have real choice available to them.

    It has also been commented somewhere that women who chose prostitution do so over other more criminal activity as a way of surviving. This is a sobering thought.

    The fact that, in the year 2006, people are finally viewing these matters with greater compassion is the one hopeful thing in the present situation.

  78. At 12:24 PM on 17 Dec 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Karen & Big Sister (Sorry I typo'd "Bog" Sister there first time!) - I haven't managed to read this whole thread here yet but was redirected by Big Sis' comment on Dec 17th.

    However, I agree that I too have noticed a difference in the way the story is being reported in the media over the last couple of days - much more sympathy and seeing the victims as people first rather than just 'Prostitutes' - thankfully.

    There have also been many more interviews with friends and families of the women, heart-rending stories in some cases of decline into drug-taking and prostitution.

    chLuke do you not think you are being a little pessimistic when you say that the chances of changing deeply entrenched views and opinions has about as much hope as the proverbial snowball? I agree that nothing will change very fast. But small steps in the right direction seem to have happened here.

  79. At 01:17 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    GM: I think we've already seen views being detrenched, rather than retrenched, don't you think?

    Strangely, and for reasons not directly related to this thread, I've been looking into 19th century prostitution recently, which was what prompted one of my reflections.

    I hope - because I'm an optimist - that, with time, the exploitation of vulnerable women will become a thing of the past. Of course, that in itself won't rid the world of other evils, some of which are the drivers of that exploitation. But just knowing that people are willing to reconsider their attitudes is a beginning.

    Am now listening to the wonderful Hugh Sykes on the WTW. The Window on MY World this Weekend ....

  80. At 01:52 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Big Sister (77) “Thanks for your latest posting (today). What you say is really interesting, in particular the point about the way the victims are being viewed. This had occurred to me listening to the report of the Bishop's prayer at the football match yesterday.”

    I thought it was really interesting that the Bishop prayed at a football match & that it was received wisdom that those attending would keep the silence & join him in his sentiments. It is a sea change.

    “It has also been commented somewhere that women who chose prostitution do so over other more criminal activity as a way of surviving. This is a sobering thought.”

    It is indeed a sobering thought, that women will damage themselves rather than anyone/thing else.

  81. At 02:23 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Sparkly Sister: Couldn't agree more!

  82. At 03:11 PM on 17 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    The comments about women choosing prostitution over theft or other crimes is interesting. I hadn't thought about that. It leads me back to the thought that we value property more highly than human life, or am I being too cyncial.

    Mary

  83. At 04:17 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Sister Mary: I'm glad you are also struck by this, too. It brought a lot of things to my mind when I heard it (and, in fact, it's pretty obviously so when you look at crime profiles).

    I think what saddens me most is that women are able to value themselves and their bodies in this way, especially when we all have a view on rape which is generally considered (rightly, in my view) to be outrageous.

    There's such a lot to explore in this, things which are usually kept hidden or ignored.

  84. At 05:16 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    While I agree that we seem to be seeing changes in attitudes, and am wholeheartedly in support of that, I think we will only know if the change has any permanence some time after the story has dropped from the headlines (hopefully after a court case and conviction).

    It will require a change in the law in relation to the way such women work, and a change in the attitudes of men towards women as well as the tackling of underlying problems of the childcare system, poverty, drugs and domestic violence. That's a lot of change.

    But not impossible.

  85. At 05:37 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    Thank you for making us think about the type of crime aspect Big Sister, like madmary, I hadn't really given that so much consideration.

    It is hard not to sound like a man hater as well, but those who profit from prostitution are usually male, as are those who use the service. I am therefore struck by how much the criminal acts are perpetuated via male action. If we then include violence & trafficking, I can't help but percieve the women as victims & I think this has been said elsewhere in a very thoughtful post.

  86. At 05:40 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Anne P: Couldn't agree more, particularly over the need to address the underlying drivers which create the climate for prostitution. But, with no will to change, none will happen. So, a quote to take us forward

    "It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow."

  87. At 06:17 PM on 17 Dec 2006, Panspodel wrote:

    LadySnorkPenMaiden (75)

    "But I'd be fair game for anyone who thought differently, wouldn't I?"

    Only in the same way that you would if you met the 'victim criteria' of someone who felt the need to kill, say, women clergy.

  88. At 10:45 AM on 18 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Sister Mary - Just popped by to post the same point! Scary!

    We are, indeed, sisters under the skin. And on the same wavelength.

  89. At 11:13 AM on 18 Dec 2006, madmary wrote:

    I'm just deeply glad that I'm not the duty solicitor for Ipswich! Or the man's normal solicitor if he has one. Not because I wouldn't do my best for my client, but because the interviews will be harrowing, and the job particularly difficult. So my thoughts today are with the solicitor who has that unenviable job, particularly before Christmas.

    Mary

  90. At 12:37 PM on 18 Dec 2006, Karen wrote:

    We're hopeful but a little annoyed that the media released so much information so quickly. There is a concern, given the interviews he gave yesterday, that he may just be a time waster seeking attention.

    It would be nice to have some resolution on this by the end of the week, but it is far more important that the right man is caught.

    In the same way that the attitudes towards prostitutes have changed since more about their tragic backgrounds has come out it is possible that whoever committed these terrible acts has an equally sorry past. Probably best to reserve judgement until the full facts are known. In any case, the important thing is to find the right person(s) and remove them to a place where they can be managed safely and the rest of us can get our lives back to normal.

    There is obvious anger towards the perpetrator(s) but also some disquiet at the behaviour of the media. The main topic of conversation at the party last night was how annoying it was that minor details are consistently reported incorrectly and that it appears that more information is being reported than the police wanted to release.

    And if there is anything from Police HQ this evening - it's in MARTLESHAM, not Ipswich. Please get that right Eddie! The Ipswich Divisional HQ is in a road adjacent to the red light district - that hasn't received much publicity. And Trimley St Martin is not the same place as Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe or Ipswich.

  91. At 02:36 PM on 19 Dec 2006, Belinda wrote:

    Regarding this BBC interview with the first arrested man: The interview which was done for 'background' purposes (whatever that is) has now been released to the public before the man has been charged with any crime. There is a lot of controversy about this for obvious reasons and, without having seen the interview, it did surprise me that so many details were released by the media.

    Out of interest, what was the standard when Ian Huntley was arrested? I remember him and his girlfriend doing TV interviews (and the woman spoke about the two girls in the past tense despite the fact that they had not been found at that point), were these interviews shown before any charges were bought? Or were the interviews shown publicly to begin with i.e. not background?

    I'm just wondering about the similarities or differences in the way that the two cases have been handled in the media.

  92. At 03:44 PM on 19 Dec 2006, Karen wrote:

    That's the obvious parallel I was seeing. At the time it all seemed a bit too good to be true. General consensus is that he is our "Wearside Jack" (or "Trimley Tom"). The difference was that Huntley's interview was filmed so implicitly he was expecting it to be shared. It seems clear that Tom Stephens didn't expect his comments to be broadcast.

    I guess the good thing to come out of this is that the media were all watching Trimley and Martlesham (At last! Thank you BBC) and didn't notice the extra activity around the red light district yesterday.

    My colleague went to the Sainsbury's near there after work and noticed an unusual amount of police around. By the time I got into work this morning the staff from that end of town knew about the arrest. This was before the police press conference.

    I'm personally pleased that less information has come out about this 2nd arrest. It would be heartbreaking if after all this effort a fair trial was impossible because of the behaviour of the media.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the 1st arrest though. Was it a breach of faith to broadcast this interview that the interviewee was giving on the understanding that it was for background only? OK, he chose to give an interview to the Sunday Mirror and he knew that his comments would be published. Sharing the radio interview with the police is one thing but the public is something else. Would you now be prepared to do a "background" interview with a BBC reporter on the understanding that it's not for broadcast?

    If he is innocent then he's got a mountain to climb rehabilitating himself. It would have been hard enough with the tabloid interview but the amount of coverage that the background interview got yesterday...

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