Profile of the man leading the inquiry
STEWART Gull is the only officer in the Suffolk police force who has served in uniform and in CID in every rank.The 43-year-old Detective Chief Superintendent - the man charged with leading the inquiry into the murders of five Ipswich prostitutes - has held the top position of head of crime management for the past 18 months.
By Jonathan Barnes
STEWART Gull is the only officer in the Suffolk police force who has served in uniform and in CID in every rank.
The 43-year-old Detective Chief Superintendent - the man charged with leading the inquiry into the murders of five Ipswich prostitutes - has held the top position of head of crime management for the past 18 months. Overall, he has clocked up 25 years' service with the Suffolk force.
And yet he told yesterday how hardened, experienced police officers had been “emotionally overwhelmed” by the events of the last few weeks.
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Mr Gull said there was “stunned silence” when a meeting of police commanders in Ipswich learned that the bodies of two missing prostitutes had been found on Tuesday.
“These tragic events have clearly overwhelmed us ... emotionally. When we heard this breaking news, there was stunned silence,” he said.
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The married father-of-two has fronted a number of murder investigations, including the inquiry into the killing of Ipswich prostitute Cara Martin-Brown in Ipswich's red light district in 2003.
He helped bring to justice 22-year-old Darren Brown, who kicked the vice girl to death in an alleyway and was given a life sentence for the crime in October 2004. The killer had hated prostitutes working near his home in Alderman Road.
Lowestoft-born Mr Gull went to school in Ipswich but started his police career back in Lowestoft at the age of 18.
He went on to serve in Leiston, Beccles, Haverhill, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, where he was sector commander.
As a young constable, he helped police the miners' strikes of 1984 and later spent time with the City of London Police on a secondment.
Among the high-profile cases Gull has investigated are an horrific stranger rape in Haverhill in the late 1990s and the major inquiry into the murder of 63-year-old Ipswich librarian Ian Halls, who was dismembered and his body parts later found dumped in lakes in Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.
Mr Halls' nephew Michael Harvey, 51, from Manchester, assumed his uncle's identity after committing the grisly killing.
Speaking in 2005, Mr Gull, who is based at the force's Martlesham Heath headquarters, said: “I've really been quite fortunate - I've served in uniform and in CID in every rank. I think I'm the only officer in the force to have done that and it's been fantastic for me.
“I think I'm perceived as a career detective but you can see from my career path that that's not the case.
“Having worked in all areas at every rank, I think it has made me a better detective.”