Ipswich 'ripper' claims spark anger

TOURISM leaders in Suffolk last night condemned the authors of a world famous travel guide which referred to Ipswich as having its own “Jack the Ripper”.

Danielle Nuttall

TOURISM leaders in Suffolk last night condemned the authors of a world famous travel guide which referred to Ipswich as having its own “Jack the Ripper”.

The Lonely Planet's worldwide guide to Ipswich informs travellers that the town hit the headlines in 2006 after the murders of five prostitutes - and likened forklift truck driver Steve Wright to the notorious London serial killer.

The description, which appears in the Lonely Planet's online guide to the town, has been met with anger by tourism bosses who branded the reference as “unfair” and “inappropriate” last night.

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Liz Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “We are disappointed that such an inappropriate reference should be made in the first place and regret the hurt that this will undoubtedly cause.

“Furthermore, it's very unfair on a town whose community has learnt to pull together and on a town which has some excellent cultural and visitor attractions to offer people of all ages.”

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Scott Dolling, acting chief executive of the Suffolk Development Agency, added: “The Suffolk Development Agency is focused on raising the profile of the county to relocate here for businesses in addition to marketing it as tourism destination.

“We have spent much of our activity raising the awareness of the county and highlighting all the positive aspects and the high quality of the Suffolk offer.

“While the world's media was focused on Ipswich and Suffolk in December 2006 for very different reasons, our role was to press on with our activity of promoting the positive reasons for choosing Suffolk. The events are still raw to us in the county and I hope that independent web sites will look to reflect the sensitivities.”

In a summary of Ipswich's history, the online guide described Ipswich as the most “industrial” of Suffolk's towns boasting its own football team, “The Tractor Boys”, who had been “ kicking since 1878”.

The guide said Ipswich was also home to many artists, with galleries at Christchurch Mansion, the town hall, Ancient House and Electric House.

But it went on to say: “In late 2006, Ipswich made the headlines with its own Jack the Ripper; forklift truck driver Steven Wright was subsequently charged with the murders of at least five prostitutes.”

A spokeswoman for Lonely Planet said last night: “Lonely Planet prides itself on giving an unbiased overview of a place. The destination information on our website includes a look at recent history including any significant events.”

Wright, 50, of London Road, Ipswich, was jailed for the rest of his life earlier this year after a jury convicted him of the murders of Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29.

The naked bodies of the five women were found in isolated spots around Ipswich over a 10-day period in December 2006.

Wright recently lost his application to the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal against his convictions.

Since the murders, council staff, police and drugs workers have united in an effort to target street prostitution under the Ipswich Street Prostitution Strategy.

The strategy has been extremely successful, with most former street workers now in long-term drug rehabilitation programmes and prostitution virtually eradicated from the streets of the town.

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