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Prostitutes Murdered In England

by Geraldo Rivera | Dec 13, 2006

It may be the world's oldest profession, but it's also one of the most dangerous. Even as cops in New Jersey seek the serial killer of four hookers in Atlantic City, British police are dealing with someone they fear may be a new Jack the Ripper.

"Everybody will have a view on working girls and prostitutes, but we mustn't forget these are young girls, they've got families and our thoughts go out to their families."

As Stewart Gill, the Detective Chief Superintendent of the Suffolk Police explains how five nude bodies have been discovered clustered in a small, remote area in Eastern England; the entire nation is gripped with the terrible memories of monsters present and past. Even the British Prime Minister Tony Blair felt the need to address the House of Commons about the murders.

"We support the police fully in dealing with the horror of this situation and also with the entirely understandable fear that there is in the community."

The horror of the situation, in Blair's words is the five bodies discovered over the past 11 days...the latest, two young women found naked and dumped by the side of a busy road, all prostitutes recently reported missing.

"We haven't found what appears to be murder scenes. What we're dealing with appear to be deposition sites, which is where the bodies have been dumped and left."

Brian Clennell is the father of 24-year old Paula Clennell, one of the two most recent victims. "She was a wonderful child she cared for everybody and anybody that's got any information on this..."

As thousands of tips pour in to authorities, the grisly discoveries bring to mind a similar murder spree I covered in Northern England almost thirty years ago, the hunt for the 'Yorkshire Ripper', later identified as Peter Sutcliffe, a truck driver who killed 13 women, most of them prostitutes. Sutcliff, currently serving a life sentence, has been attacked several times behind bars, including an assault with a pen in which a fellow inmate poked his left eye out.

And Sutcliff certainly wasn't the first serial killer to stalk the prostitutes of England. More than a century ago, Jack the Ripper slit the throats of five London streetwalkers; his identity remains a mystery.

But what has really shaken England in the current case, dubbed the 'Suffolk Strangler' is the speed with which the madman is piling up his victims. Alastair McWhirter is Suffolk's top cop.

"If you think back to the Yorkshire Ripper, the murders there took place over a long period of time, and when you look back at other murders over the years, none of them have been like this."

No girl wants to be a prostitute when she grows up. But in Suffolk, England as in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and everywhere else they ply their ancient trade, bad choices, bad men and bad drug abuse often conspire to funnel thousands of young, otherwise unskilled women into a profession that is as dangerous as it is demeaning.

And because they exist so low on society's food chain, and because so many don't even have anyone to report them missing, their killers often get a head start. What we need on both sides of the Atlantic is legitimate job opportunities that can pay these gals a living wage. 

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