'We never doubted Tom's innocence'

THE family of released murder suspect Tom Stephens “never doubted” his innocence of the killings of five Ipswich prostitutes, his stepmother said last night.

By Danielle Nuttall

THE family of released murder suspect Tom Stephens “never doubted” his innocence of the killings of five Ipswich prostitutes, his stepmother said last night.

Mrs Stephens, who is married to the 37-year-old's father, Douglas, said her stepson had never had a fight in his life and that his family always knew he was not involved in any way.

Mr Stephens, a supermarket worker, was arrested by police investigating the deaths of Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Annelie Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, on Monday, December 18.


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All the women worked as prostitutes in the red-light area of Ipswich and their naked bodies were found during an 11-day period in villages on the outskirts of the town.

The former special constable, of Trimley St Martin, near Felixstowe, was held in custody for three days, but was released on police bail pending further enquiries on December 21.

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Truck driver Steve Wright, 48, of London Road, Ipswich, has been charged with killing all five prostitutes.

Speaking from her cottage in Isham, near Kettering, Northamptonshire, Mrs Stephens, who did not want to be named, said it had not been a nice time for the family.

“We knew he wasn't guilty,” she said.

“We never doubted him. He's not that type. He has never had a fight in his life.”

It is not yet clear whether Mr Stephens, who collected trolleys at Tesco at Martlesham and was a former special constable with Norfolk Constabulary, has returned to his home in Trimley or has been taken to a safe house by police for his own protection. Suffolk police has refused to comment on the matter.

His family says that they too do not know his whereabouts but said former Norwich schoolboy Mr Stephens had kept in regular contact by telephone.

“We know he's keeping a low profile, as told by the police,” said Mrs Stephens, “I think he's alright.”

“We can't get in touch. We haven't heard from him for a week or so. Tom is doing what the police say.”

Mrs Stephens said her husband was looking forward to being reunited with his son.

“He has been worried. Now he has been released he is happy,” she said.

“I don't know whether he will see him in the near future.”

Earlier, Mr Stephens' father Douglas told the East Anglian Daily Times that his son had been following the advice of police, which was not to give any information about where he is.

“I said: 'I won't ask you any questions',” he said.

n Wright is currently in custody at the high-security Belmarsh prison. He is due to appear at Ipswich Crown Court on May 1.

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