‘Lessons must be learned’ from murders

THREE years after Steve Wright killed five sex workers in Ipswich, lessons have not been learned, according to one drug support worker involved in wiping out street prostitution in the town.

West Yorkshire police announced last night they have charged a man with murdering three sex workers who went missing in Bradford.

Stephen Griffiths, 40, will appear in court today charged with murdering Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth.

The announcement followed confirmation that body parts found in a river on Tuesday belonged to missing prostitute Ms Blamires.

Suffolk police revealed last night their senior officers have been helping senior colleagues in West Yorkshire by sharing their experiences of helping sex workers off the streets of Ipswich.

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Brian Tobin, co-founder of Iceni, the drugs support agency in Ipswich said the news of events in Bradford had deeply saddened him.

“What compounds that sadness is the fact that lessons obviously have not been learnt from what happened here in Ipswich,” he said.

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“The most disappointing thing is to see things like this continuing to happen across the country. In Ipswich we have proved wiping out street prostitution can be done.

“These women do need a high level of support, time and help. One agency cannot do it alone. We have had collaboration across the board and until this day we continue that.”

During the events in Ipswich in 2006 Mr Tobin said he and his workers made sure at the very least they asked all the women working on the streets of Ipswich for their phone numbers so they could stay in contact with them.

He issued a plea to any women working the streets in all corners of the country.

“You can exit that world, I have witnessed so many wonderful experiences, watched women change their lives around in Ipswich. It is a long, long tunnel, but it can be achieved. It is hard for the women, I take my hat off to them. These deaths can be prevented.”

Det Supt Alan Caton, of Suffolk police, said the experiences of the events of 2006 in Ipswich had taught them no one agency can tackle prostitution in its entirety.

“It is very tragic that young women are working on the streets in incredibly and inherently dangerous activities, putting themselves on offer,” he said. “Every time they walked out on the streets in Ipswich they were doing that to fund their addiction to drugs and in many cases felt they had no other options.

“When we went through the experiences of 2006 we wanted to work hard to ensure no other women went through those experiences that could have led to their deaths.

“Our experiences of what happened in Ipswich made all agencies work much more closely in unison, that is what made the difference in Suffolk.

“We all wanted the same thing to make sure women were not going to have to go through those experiences. The overall aim was to remove prostitution from the streets.”

Bradford killings – Page 7


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